I have always been active and strong , both in work, 20yrs underground mining,as an Engineering Contractor and play as a qualified Mountain Leader. Just over two years ago I began losing my fitness and strength I also developed abdominal pains. A visit to my GP saw me down the hospital for an Ultrasound. A tumour was discovered and successfully operated upon within a week. It was through the CT scan following this treatment that it was found that I had an Ascending Aortic Aneurysm, an undetected trauma injury from an RTA 30yrs ago, which had recently got bigger. It took almost another twelve month of tests and examinations before in June 2016 I underwent a repair to my aneurysm.
The support of family and friends and expertise of the NHS McMillan Cancer and Cardiac Rehabilitation Teams, the specialist trained Physio’s at the local leisure centre have been fundamental to my recovery, however , there is only so much which can be done within the confines of a treatment room, clinic or gymnasium. I needed to get out and regain my confidence on the hill.
Whilst renewing my First Aid Certificate with Bigfoot Services, Alan Ward became aware of my medical condition and kindly offered me his support to get me ‘back on the hills’. The film ‘Step by Step’ in Ladakh, I found most inspirational. Having taken Alan up on his kind offer, I am in the process of becoming a BHF Heartstart Trainer under his tuition. Also after some progressively longer training walks with him I last week walked up on to Pen y Fan in his company and under his watchful eye. A very gratifying time for me.
All the Cancer and Cardiac Rehabilitation services that I have undergone has been fantastic, however, although walking strongly on the flat I struggled on my attempts to get back on the hill. The additional guidance and support given by Alan has helped me to regain my confidence in my body and get out on the hill.