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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Well over-due update !

I have been home from America for almost 2 weeks now after spending the past 7 months with some awesome people and have had a ball. Racing the top races throughout America with the top team, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies. The amount I have learnt and experienced, the friends I have made and the people I have met has been incredible.

I am now home and getting fixed. The past year I have been having major issues with my left leg. It started off with the occasional leg pain and power loss when doing some efforts, and then it seemed to get worse to the point of having to pull out of races because I had absolutely no power coming from my left leg. Pulling out of races is not something I enjoy doing, especially when you have team mates to look after. After seeing a handful of chiropractors, physios and neurologists I finally got tested for iliac endofribosis. I was told about this at the start of the year, but typical me disagreed and tried to find any other possible cause. By the end of the season I was at the point where I needed to know what it was, and fast, because I couldn’t handle not being able to ride to my potential. So I changed my flights and came home via Christchurch to get a Doppler, ultrasound and MRI from Prof Justin Roake, a well-know surgeon who has fixed this issue with a couple other cyclists from NZ. The results came out that my ABPI had dropped 0.6 on my left leg with no significant abnormality on the right side. This basically means when I do hard efforts my left external iliac artery narrows and I do not get enough blood flow to the leg, which causes the pain and power loss.. pretty annoying when my job is to ride my bike as fast as I can!

Anyway, fast forward 11 days and I am counting down from 30 in St Georges hospital in Chrsitchurch, next minute… asleep! I had decided to get a vein patch repair of the left external iliac artery. Which is where they take the vein from my ankle on my left leg and put it in the artery on my hip.. easy right!? It was a big call to make. I basically had two choices, one was to not get the surgery, carry on living life but I wouldn’t be able to race my bike.. YEA RIGHT. Next option was to get the surgery, live with the risks but be able to race my bike and reach my goals. So I took that one.

So here I am, lying in the hospital the day after the surgery, feeling back to life and rearing to go. The surgery was a success (phew) and was over in a couple of hours. It is all a bit of a blur thanks to the much needed drugs. I had a couple of goes of getting up this morning but only made the sitting up bit before quickly lying back down. But as the day has gone on I’ve got my colour back and mum has been taking me for walks around the ward. I am now only on panadol and can get up pretty much by myself. Tomorrow will be even better!

Just received some goodies from a good friend and team-mate Emma Grant (from England).. made my day!

It is now rest and recover time, which is perfect timing as it is now my off-season so I should be having a month off anyhow. After 4-5 weeks I can get back on my bike and start getting ready for next season. I have never been this motivated to get going again. This whole thing has been a pain in the arse, but at the end of the day it only makes me stronger.

Thanks so much for everyones support. Cath, Josh, Mike and Hayden, thanks for re-assuring me about the whole thing and teaching me everything I need to know about what lies ahead, Andy for your incredible patience throughout the year, Haley for the accommodation and running around after me and my team Optum P/B KBS for being so supportive. Last but not least my family for understanding my reasons for going ahead and supporting me the whole way. Thanks again and will keep you updated on the recovery process!