So many things have happened during my few weeks away. Originally there was meant to be a post between this and the last one, but life happened.

I had a bad mini race, but I shouldn’t have gone as I’d had no sleep due to trying to do the impossible within the NHS and get something from Out Of Hours when you have complex medical needs.

The most major things that have happened are to do with the raising awareness of a charity called PINNT who help support people on artificial nutrition. Being on artificial nutrition especially parenteral is fairly rare, and is a life changing and intrusive procedure that can leave you quite isolated, with most never knowing anyone else in a similar position. The charity therefore aims to bring together people across the U.K on artificial nutrition and encourage people to share knowledge and experience as well as practical problems so that people are more confident in dealing with their situation. They also try and bring people together in real life with regional groups that are generally mostly a chance to catch up with old friends, and for many a chance to do something sociable as so many social events revolve around food, and many don’t feel comfortable attending these events when they’re not eating, or worse still have had problems with restaurants refusing to allow them to sit and not eat.

They have done a number of things for me including coming to see me in hospital, answering all sorts of questions when I was undergoing transition and generally showing me positive role models when I first ventured down this path.

As a result I wanted to try and repay them someway, and so after some late night bored googling it appeared that I might have a niche story as I couldn’t find anything about others on parenteral nutrition, who were also elite athletes. Unbeknown to me PINNT had just employed a communication & PR specialist, so things worked out well in terms of timings.

I don’t think I realised my story was going to get that much attention, but after signing off on the press release, I found myself agreeing to do a radio interview. The next phone call was from someone from the radio just to get more information from me. It didn’t get off to the most auspicious as I was asked when I’d had my legs removed… which point I had to interject and say that I was pretty certain I still had both of my legs, although I did find myself looking down to check!! That not withstanding the interview seemed to have been well received by those who heard it, but it was weird when someone was asking me about my rowing, and I couldn’t work out how they knew about it until they explained they’d heard the interview, which was surreal as I had never quite made the mental link that people in the local community would be listening, and I’d never really done a mass announcement like that about my own private life, so it was odd, but I got good feedback so that was helpful.

I didn’t think much else would come of it, but then a few days later the PR lady phoned again and asked whether I’d consider being on a regional news programme, thankfully not in the studio, but at home looking at what TPN involves and then I did some promoting of PINNT with one of the coordinators from the East Anglia regional group. I rather left her in the lurch to deal with promoting PINNT whilst I nipped off for an unrelated appointment, then we had a mad dash across to Oundle for a quick rowing demonstration, thankfully the conditions had improved for me to go out briefly.

I was really pleased with how it turned out. There was also an online piece, which can be seen here

I was really surprised how far the news spread, when I woke up the next morning, I had people in America asking to use my image and story for a few things. It’s been a bit mad, trying to keep up with it all. I honestly never thought that so many people would be interested my story.

I’m a bit behind with everything as I had to go back into hospital, so that I could have my thumb MCP repaired, which has taken a battering over the years, with gymnastic, diving and snowboarding injuries combined with the inherent collagen problems, and I reached the end of conservative treatment, but it got to the point that I really needed it repairing. I was due to have it done in March, but a bed shortage meant it was cancelled, I then had to postpone due to nutritional problems, but it was done a week and a half ago. I’m to have internal wires for 9 weeks, but am allowed to row with light grip on an ergo after 3, not that I’m counting down the days!!

This does mean I’ll still be in wires for trials, but I’m hoping, I’ll have perfected the slightly wonky technique by then…