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Why I Continue To Challenge Myself

Staying strong, fit and focused.

I have been asked this question numerous times over the past three years, why do I continue to challenge myself, why do I push myself if it causes pain and why would I attempt things that could be seen as dangerous. My answer has always been the same. 'Why not!?' I received a letter in the post this morning from Birmingham (Royal Orthepedic Hospital) who want to see me on November 22nd. If ever there were a reason to live life to the max it's when you receive a letter from your hospital who want to discuss the next stage of your treatment. For those unfamiliar with my case, I was referred to specialists in Birmingham last year after consultants in Ireland ended their communication with me. I asked for a second opinion and was introduced to Dr. Lee Jeys. Several months ago I had CT scans carried out in Ireland which were sent to engineers in the UK who are supposed to be designing a prosthesis which will be attached to my hip. If successful, I should get a few more years use of my hip before we have to face amputation. It is all very serious and depressing however I have no choice but to go along with it. My only other option is to stay as I am and hope my hip doesn't disintegrate too rapidly. The decision whether to operate or not will be mine and that is a terrifying realisation. If I am responsible for making the decision then I am responsible for the outcome. I cannot blame anyone if it goes wrong which is terribly inconvenient! I try not to dwell on my situation on a day to day basis and I have found my challenges are great for keeping my mind preoccupied. It keeps me focused and allows me to live a normal life in between hospital appointments. As some of you know, I have been participating in an ongoing swimming challenge for the past few months. Aura Leisure Complex have provided weekly swimming lessons with their extremely creative instructor Gavin Doran. I asked Gavin to jot down a couple of lines describing my progress to date which he did. I am having a great time with Gavin who likes to keep things interesting by making me do very strange things! From duct-taped fingers to diving for lead weights, Gavin makes sure each lesson is more fun than the last!
Anyway enough ramblings from me, over to Gavin;

"The lessons have been going exceptionally well so far. Nikki has a real natural feel for the water and how to manipulate her body to get the most out of it. She has been making terrific progress and been building everything up a lot faster than I had anticipated. She takes on everything without fail and usually without question regardless of how silly it might seem or make her look! We have covered an awful lot in a very short period of time including quite complex concepts and she has been able to understand and adapt really well to each of them in a single lesson. We have also been able to go through most of my seemingly ridiculous and absurd drills which is a credit to her sense of humour as not a lot of people would go through those, especially on video! Being the inspirational and motivational figure that she is it’s heartening for the rest of us to see that she still has some built in quirks when it comes to her swimming like everyone else. She is the most well manicured swimmer I’ve ever met (glamorous in all settings!) and you could probably make a sitcom out of the antics her left hand gets up to every time it gets out of the water. The fingers either spread out like she’s thinking about drying nail polish or it looks like she’s cursing at me in a made up sign language. She swears it unintentional but I’m beginning to have my doubts as it seems to happen more when she has to do something tough. I think she will continue to do brilliantly and if we can cut down on the time spent discussing which is right and which is left who knows what she could do!"