The Fighter

Nikki Bradley

The Fighter: ‘When life gives you lemons, is it mandatory to make lemonade?’

Nikki and car

SOMETIMES putting on a brave face just doesn’t cut it. There are times when the only thing that will make you feel better is a good big moan about your life. Part of this column will be following that pattern so be warned!

The past couple of weeks have been filled with highs and lows. I finally bought a car after five YEARS of not driving and it was the best day I have had in a long time. I was delighted and if I’m honest quite proud of myself. Getting back on the road was a personal goal of mine and I felt elated as I sat in my shiny new car. My new found elation was somewhat tarnished when I awoke the following morning in pain. At first I thought it was just a knee strain from training and didn’t think much of it however as the day wore on my concern grew. I was travelling to Galway that evening for an action packed JCI (Junior Chamber International) weekend and I did not want to spend the weekend in pain and discomfort. Unfortunately that is exactly what happened. I still had a lovely weekend and met some truly inspirational people at the national TOYP awards including disability campaigner Joanne O’ Riordan. We had a great time but the pain dampened my spirits a little.

By Sunday my leg was swollen and my nerve pain was in full swing. The journey home was extremely uncomfortable and I found myself limping even though I was using my crutch. By Sunday afternoon I knew the pain would worsen so I made the decision to work from home on Monday. At this point I was angry. I had worked hard to pass my driving test first time and it meant a lot to pass it in a normal car. Pulling in to my driveway was a milestone for me as I was gaining more than just a car, I was gaining my independence back. The week that followed was a painful one and my frustration levels elevated. Pain caused me to slow down. Each small daily task became an inconvenience.

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When I dropped something it was a struggle to retrieve it and when I made it to the bottom of the stairs and suddenly remembered I had left my phone on the bed I wanted to scream rather than trudge back upstairs. My mood was low and funnily enough people around me were giving me a wide birth! I detest nerve pain because of what it does to me emotionally.

Nikki Muscles

My mind is still racing along trying to get things done but my body won’t cooperate. Unless you have experienced it you might struggle to understand why I would feel so annoyed but look at it this way. In the space of 24 hours I gained a machine (my car) that gave me independence and I lost the use of a machine (my body) which took that freedom back off me. I felt as if I was a contestant on ‘Bullseye’; “Here’s what you could have won!”

By Saturday morning I was done feeling sorry for myself, I was still in pain but it had eased enough to allow me to move around more. I got back in the car and just sat there for a while. I moved around in my seat numerous times and probably looked like a crazy person to anyone who happened to be passing by. I was trying to find a position that was both comfortable and safe to drive in. Once I was satisfied I started up the car and went for a short drive. I put on the radio and just relaxed a little.

When Monday arrived I was almost back to normal again and feeling good. It was a new week and I was ready to get back into my usual routines. I decided to go training and felt amazing afterwards. As you can see from the photos my back and arm muscles are beginning to show definition. After a disappointing few days it felt rewarding to see progress.

If you are feeling annoyed or frustrated with something in your life I hope my column has helped you realise that there are lots of us out there in the same boat. It is ok to have an off day, we are human after all!

Nikki Bradley is the founder of Fighting Fit For Ewing’s, a campaign to promote awareness of Ewing’s Sarcoma. Nikki is sponsored by All Sports in Donegal Town. Support her campaign by giving ‘Fighting Fit For Ewing’s’ a LIKE on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @nikkibradley59

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