My name is Peter Stannard and I was born in 1960 with a heart defect. At five years old, that was corrected by surgery.I have always walked with a slight waddle and suffered with cramp. I was never any good at sports either, everytime I did something active I got severe cramp in both calf muscles. If I kept walking the pain would just get worse.Mum took me to our GP and she told me that I was just unfit. These cramps stayed with me and I suppose I just used to take things easy.
I trained as an electrician but it became harder and harder to climb ladders and I kept loosing my balance. I had to stop climbing ladders and was made up to chargehand. But two years later the factory closed, so I was made redundant. After a spell unemployed I got a job as a pat tested/driver for a charity. Which included picking up and delivering donated furniture.
The cramp was at its peak again and my arms and legs were starting to weaken, I started dropping things.I made an appointment with my GP and he reffered me to the local hospital to see a neurologist. He sent me for a muscle biopsy and other tests at the royal free. The tests showed that my muscles were abnormal. I then had a genetic blood test, which showed that I had becker muscular dystrophy, which came from nowhere. By this time it was 1998.I now have to pace myself. I use a rollator, so I can sit down when I need to. I also use a wheelchair as I can’t walk very far without getting tired.I take zanaflex to control my cramp pain, but I have tried lot’s of other drugs and methods.Several muscles in my legs have waisted and my calfs are enlarged most of the time.
I had to give up my job as it was getting to much for me. I go to a daycentre two days a week, where I produce their newsletter for them. I am involved with an organisation which encourages people with a disability to get involved in sports. We organise taster sessions. Recently I went on a boccia trainers course. I also produce their newsletter. Also I write poetry and have had several published.
I have been married for 22 years and have four children 14, 16, 19 and 20 years old. I have a golden retriever called Huxley and I take him for long walks in my f55 powerchair.
Both my daughters have had genetic tests and they are both carriers of the becker gene. So is my sister and one of her daughters. But my sons are alright.
I still drive a car but need lightened power steering, a steering knob, automatic gearbox and a wheelchair hoist. The car is on the motability scheme.