09TH January 2006
I was born here in Peterborough 57 yrs ago but don’t remember much about my childhood except that my mum and dad were great walkers and I remember I had a lot of pain and discomfort trying to keep up with them. I also remember crying my eyes out because I couldn’t keep up with the others at school on cross country runs.
At age 14 my mum found me in a coma on the bathroom floor. I was rushed to hospital where I nearly died, it was discovered I had diabetes, so it’s been a lifetime of insulin and needles ever since. Such joy!
I married and devoiced and had two daughters. I married again in 1989. In 1991 I went down with something called Guillain Barre syndrome. It can paralyse the legs, arms,chest and rarely the face. If it gets the chest you usually have to go on a respirator. It did get my chest and face but only mildly. It was worse with my legs and I had to learn to walk again. It can take months, even years to get over, but I was back at work 6 months later.
Most of my working life I was a Plant Fitter travelling to building sites and sometimes even small airfields, mending petrol and diesel driven machinery. I loved the job but got sick of the travelling, so I gave it up.
I then got a job as a concierge ( posh word for a caretaker ) in Peterborough looking after 3 blocks of luxury flats and the surrounding gardens. About a year or so later I noticed a further weakness in my legs and thought that Guillain Barre had struck me again or even worse- Diabetic Neuropathy. A few tests later they found abnormal enzymes in my blood. I went into Addenbrokes where they did electric reflex tests and a muscle biopsy on my legs and finally told me I have Becker Muscular Dystrophy. At that moment It was like a giant jigsaw of my life fell into place.
I had been struggling with my job for sometime ( especially with the stairs ) so gave up work in July of ’95.
I became very depressed at home on my own so my wife gave up her job as a civil servant and she became my carer.
The many years of diabetes has taken it’s toll on my body with bleeding behind the eyes where I had to have laser treatment and a heart attack about 18 months ago. I have to take 2 insulin shots a day and 18 tablets. On top of all that I have weak lungs and am easily exhausted and breathless. I also have Dyslexia. Such fun!
We sold our house and got a bungalow because I couldn’t cope with the stairs anymore.
It’s not very nice in the winter as I can’t go out in extreme cold, but in the summer we go for lots of days out to local parks, or to the coast.
I’ve enough power in my legs to walk about the house (although it’s a struggle at times) most of outdoor walking is done in a wheelchair.
My wife has been a great help to me ( she told me to say that ! ) but I don’t know how I would have coped without her at times.
Hope my story has been encouraging ( or not ! ) to others.
If I can help with any information on the above, please let me know.
Thanks a lot, and I look forward to hearing from you or others in the near future.