I feel that gold medal belongs to the surgical team

For some conditions, will we ever know why they affect certain people and not others. Why me, as a healthy 50-year-old did I develop arthritis in my hips such that I needed replacements. Arthritis is degenerative and so I had my first hip replaced at 55 and the second at 60.

I’d always kept myself fairly healthy and was a runner which I was advised was not a good exercise post hip replacement. Moreover, given the aging process starts to deplete bone density, I knew it was important to undertake weight bearing exercises as I aged. So my running days became as distant memory and squats and dumbbell exercises became the ‘go to’ exercise.

A chance meeting with a Powerlifting coach 3 months after my second replacement, took this idea to a new level. I loved his view that rehab to elite training is nothing but a long continuum along which we move, always trying to move to the right but knowing that we sometimes slip to the left during spells of illness. But we never stop this journey and merely adapt to the limits of our capabilities. And the time comes when we may never reach where we were before, but we still wake up every day trying to move to the right on that continuum! He offered me a session based on helping my rehab and I could try something new. And I so loved his view that rehab isn’t something you do and complete, it’s a continuous journey.

I’m so glad he didn’t believe me when I told him in no uncertain terms that I will never be able to a squat with thighs parallel to the ground as my hip replacements don’t work like that (little did I know!). But he encouraged me, gave me a few ‘tricks’ as he called them and developed a training programme. So I worked on mastering technique, spent time in very uncomfortable positions, and reached a point some 27 months later when I won the England Championships. Three months after that, I took the call asking me to be part of the GB team, travelled to Sweden and won the Worlds Powerlifting Championships for my age and body weight category (60-70 years, 47-52 kg).

I feel that gold medal belongs to the surgical team and all the support staff Euxton Hall Hospital. Without them and my brilliant coaches (plus some blood, sweat and tears), I would never have been able to do it. And I wouldn’t even have been in this position had I not had arthritis requiring double hip replacement. The sport I now do ticks all the boxes for arthritis and osteoporosis and I’ve never felt and been fitter in my life despite being a former marathon runner.

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