The other day i was walking around Brussel’s and thinking about what an incredible life I have. I think I have to pinch myself every day to believe that I am actually doing what I am doing. You may have read other blogs of mine so you will know my story but for those who don’t here is a small bit of my story.
On the 23rd of April 1998 a very uncaring neurologist, after diagnosing me with MS told me that my life as I knew it was over….boy was he right! But he was thinking in a bad way and I like to think of it in a good way. He told me I would never do “this silly sport stuff again” and “to go home and put my affairs in order before I became incapacitated”. Needless to say after getting past his prognosis I was like a bull to a red flag and decided that MS nor he would dictate what I could or couldn’t do. It has been a long road those 21 years and if I had the chance to go back and change things I wouldn’t.
Lets be honest, MS is a shitty disease, an incurable disease and for most people a hidden disease. I have been at the depths of despair at times, learning how to walk again, use my hands again and yes the unspeakable things, like learning how to pee again, but for the most part the last 21 years have been pretty damn good! I am one of the lucky ones…yes I deal with symptoms every hour, every day, but I have relapsing and remitting MS and not progressive. So yes I am lucky, but there are so many people living with MS not so lucky so I do not want to diminish the seriousness of MS.
MS has given me so many opportunities that I never would have ever had, like the last 7 weeks here in Europe. It has been an incredible time, racing and training that I just wouldn’t get in Australia. Starting with being with the Australian Para Cycling team for the first 2 World Cups, then travelling on my own to meet up with my good friends Hans-Peter and Ulrik Durst, who kindly put me up for 4 weeks in between racing around Europe. I was able to race in Austria, Germany and Switzerland to get valuable experience in the lead up to the World Championships in September. Just being able to race other trikes is a novelty in itself and to be able to race against Hans-Peter gives me even more, he kicks my butt, but makes me work even harder.
This journey certainly isn’t an individual one as it definitely takes a team to get me here. Without the support of my husband Russ who sends me on my way with a hug, kiss and a wave to follow this crazy dream, I wouldn’t be here. He looks after the house, Jack the wonder dog, waits for my return and greets me with the best hugs ever!
The rest of my team consists of all my coaches; my personal coach Rebecca, the coaches from CA Para Cycling – Dave, Cam, Nick and Wazza, my coaches at the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS)- Nick (sports science) and Ben (strength and conditioning). Then there are other support staff our CA sports scientist Louise, jack of all trades Berthy, and Physio Eliza, and from the VIS my nutritionist Kylie and Dr. Greg. Then there are the people that I train with on a weekly basis, my good friend and riding buddy Clare, the She Rides ladies and the SKCC groups that usually drop me on rides but certainly keep me working hard! Then without my sponsors Ben and Paul at Johnson Cycles, and now Peter and Jo at Wheelscience, I wouldn’t have the world class equipment I use and Stella at Clifton Hill Chiropractic and Russ at More than Physio who both keep my body going. So although I may get the kudos, all those team members are the ones that keep me going..it really is a team effort.
As I said in my last blog I came away with “no expectations” and had the best results and racing ever. Now I head back home for 5 weeks of training to get ready for the 3rd and last World Cup in Canada and then World Championships in the Netherlands.
I know…what a life! MS has certainly made me who I am!