The Fighter

Nikki Bradley

Very mixed emotions of late have left me feeling blue

Nikki Bradley

Nikki Bradley

This week I wanted to talk about a couple things that have happened over the past number of weeks. I have had some disappointing news which has left me feeling a little blue.
On Tuesday the 22nd of September I travelled to Birmingham to meet with my consultant for what I thought was a discussion about my upcoming operation.
However when I got there I immediately felt something in the air to indicate that my meeting was not going to go according to plan.
The first thing I couldn’t help but notice was the extra bodies in the room. There were two men in suits who introduced themselves by name only.
I actually thought they were just sitting in on the meeting to learn about my case. I was wrong. It soon became clear that their purpose was a little more concerning. The first bit of bad news stirred up feelings of Groundhog day. ‘Here we go again’ type feelings.
My consultant informed me that recent scans and tests were showing signs of hip infection. When I heard the words ‘hip’ and ‘infection’ I was instantly transported back to 2010/11 and my time in Australia.
For those unaware, an infection in a hip prosthesis will almost always result in its removal. They will also remove anything attached to it. In my case that means removing the large metal plate that runs from my hip to my knee leaving me with a non working limb.
This news was, and still is, a complete disaster! Even as I write this I can feel myself getting frustrated. This was not in my plan. But then, was any of this in my plan?
Once the ‘infection’ cat was out of the bag suit man number one stepped forward and dealt the second blow by explaining what he did for a living. Amputation specialist. (he must be a delight at parties). I knew this subject would be broached eventually.
We have slowly crept towards this over the years and although I had convinced myself that I was getting used to the idea, somehow having him there in the room with me made it a little too real.
He explained that one of the options open to me was to do a partial amputation whereby they remove the lower part of the leg and replace the knee joint with the ankle joint! Basically they want to recycle my leg. This suggestion was met with a set of watery eyes as the seriousness of my situation hit me. There were other suggestions made during my meeting none of which appealed to me. Back in the good ‘ole days my appointments with specialists involved receiving bad news with a light peppering of good news. I miss the pepper!
I decided to make a video while in the airport to express my feelings as I am hoping that this journey I have found myself on will help others in a similar situation.
If you would like to watch my videos you can search ‘Nikki Bradley’ on YouTube.
Although I am not my usual fun, happy self, I am determined to keep going to achieve everything I set out to achieve.
I still want to go to the Horseshoe Canyon in Utah to attempt my first International challenge, I still want to buy a Harley some day (Sorry dad, you will freak when you read this) I still want to do lots of things and stepping outside of my comfort zone is one of those things.
Last Wednesday (September 30th) I took to the streets of Letterkenny with my coach Neil Barrett to train for my upcoming Guinness World Record attempt. (Title of record: Fastest 5K On Crutches, One Leg, Female) I was initially mortified to have my legs strapped together along with wearing my hip brace as I knew I looked mildly ridiculous but it was a necessary embarrassment in order to train properly.
One of the MANY rules for the record attempt is that my right foot cannot touch the ground for the entire 5k race. The only way to guarantee this was to strap my leg. I felt nervous on Wednesday morning and this, coupled with my general mood made me reeeeeally want to back out.
Despite my feelings I hopped in my car to meet Neil. The first couple of minutes into the walk were hard as I felt like a million eyes were on me. The road adjacent to where I was walking is busy and the constant stream of cars made me feel self conscious.
I thought those feelings would have stayed with me for the full 2k but thankfully they didn’t.
I quickly became focused on merely surviving!
I don’t know if you are aware of this but hopping on one leg for two kilometres is actually quite taxing! Passing the finish line was rewarding and although it was tough I was happy I didn’t chicken out.
The moral of the story this week is to appreciate that life can, and will, throw a spanner in the works from time to time. Our job is to find our own unique way to overcome each and every obstacle that comes our way.
If you are going through a tough time right now please know that you are not alone. There is always someone out there who will offer a helping hand. You just have to know where to look.