Looking at the big picture


After not having worked for nearly 5 months due to my accident, it was with relief and trepidation that I would return to my old team and the project I was forced to leave.

Heading back in for my first day was something of a relief, but as the train neared my city station. The butterflies in my stomach began their war dance the nerves and jitters hit home.


Not that I should have had any concerns about what my role was and If I was still capable of processing all the information which would be dumped in my lap over the coming weeks. It was more if my mind would be able to cope with the social part of the job.

Friendship and caffeine got me through the day, only just. I was so exhausted on the trip home and struggled to stay awake, hoping I wouldn’t fall asleep and miss my station.

I have been back a few days now and it’s getting easier. And it will eventually be a normality for me in the coming weeks.

My life has become much busier now that I’m back at work. I still need to continue with all my rehabilitation exercises, get to hydrotherapy and see the physio a few times a week.


Busy weeks ahead, but at least I’m moving in the right direction. And that forward direction will continue. Going backwards is not an option. Not now. Not ever.

As my physio said. ‘You broke your back in a cycling accident less than 5 months ago. And you’re going back to work. Don’t be so hard on yourself.’

As much as his words made perfect sense, it’s still tough at times to see the big picture. And that’s something we all need to do.

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

During one of my rehabilitation sessions at the hydrotherapy pool, I struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman.

The conversation quickly moved onto the reason why he was at the pool and how he had sustained his injuries. 

It’s not always a bike or car accident that can leave a person struggling to be the person they once were.


Situations vary from person to person, and in his case, it was frim having a lung removed so he could continue with life.

The first thing I thought of was either cancer or a smoking related illness. But it was neither. It was all to do with taking very regular flights for business. He suffered a severe blood clot during a flight and the flight was diverted to the closest airport so he could be transferred to hospital for emergency surgery.


The surgery changed his life dramatically, but he never gave up. He would continue to push through the physical and mental pain to get his life back on track. And he did, using yoga and hydrotherapy.

He then said PMA.

The blank expression on my face told him I had no idea what the TLA (Three Letter Acronym) meant.

Positive Mental Attitude


I nodded and understood.

Physically we can get over many bodily breaks and injuries, but without the right positive mental attitude, we will never fully heal.

Mind over matter is not just a saying, it’s a fact. I know this from experience. But, you need to want to heal. Without that want, the chances of a full recovery are much lower.

Always try to keep a positive attitude, and you will see the difference. Trust me on this one.

Light at the end of the tunnel 


As the days, weeks and months all slowly slipped by, my rehabilitation continued to become more intense as did all my exercise sessions.

With each passing week, I found I was able to move a little easier and my days weren’t filled with pain and my body was recovering. Slowly, but nonetheless recovering.

So as I continued my journey to full recovery, I continued to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. But no matter how much I think I had progressed, the tiny pin prick of a light never seemed to get any bigger.


It was then I was told I should look back through the weeks and months and see how far I had really progressed.

So as I looked back over my shoulder, I could see a tiny light, way back in the distance. It was where my rehabilitation journey had begun. It was just as far as the light in front of me, where I was heading.

The hardest part of any journey is the middle part. You are far enough from your starting point, and just as far from your destination. Frustrating, but you know you are heading in the right direction.


It’s times like these where you need to be a ‘bit of a mongrel’ and attack the last part of the journey with guts and determination. It’s going to be the only way to make it through the tunnel and out to the other side.

I know the my own journey still has a long way to go, but I do know what awaits me when I eventually arrive at my destination.


We all need to set our sights on that pin prick of a light at the end of the tunnel. And we can do that with the help and support from the people around us, who want us to get out of the dark tunnel.

Missed opportunities 


Some things slip through our fingers when we least expect them. It’s after the event we realise how much of a missed opportunity it really was.


We can’t go back and relive what we missed out on, but we can make amends by having another go at the opportunity which slid past us at a rapid rate of knots.

Some of the missed opportunities we can only blame ourselves for, while others are taken away, leaving us with a longing for what we missed.


This was the case earlier this year for me, a trip to Europe, starting in France and then through to Italy to visit family. But, due to a negligent driver, my trip was cancelled due to injuries incurred, and so were my dreams of sipping coffee and eating freshly made croissants in the very heart of Paris.


Just because I missed out on this opportunity, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. All that’s needed is some spare time and holiday planning.

So when an opportunity is missed, it’s not the end of the world. Get up and have another shot at it. We only live once and deserve to be happy, and to make the most of every moment.


Don’t wait, enjoy life, it may be taken away in the blink of an eye.

When the going gets tough…

It’s all too easy to give up when the going gets tough. But as the saying goes, the tough get going.

This is always easier said than done, but it doesn’t mean its not possible. With some dedication and lots motivation, there are very few situations that can’t be overcome.

As was the point as I walked through the Alfred hospital trauma centre during my last visit. I noticed a young man walking on crutches, the bottom half of his right leg missing. A car or bike accident perhaps? I don’t know as I didn’t stop him to ask.

By the way he moved, it made me feel he had accepted his injury, and it was not going to stop him from getting on with his life.

This is also the case with many athletes who have overcome major injuries and have continued competing. Perhaps not in the same sport they were in originally, but they have moved on and continued with their lives as best as they can.


So what disappoints me is when I hear other people complain and whinge about how they are hurting from an accident, or from other injuries. These are the people who want to be wrapped in cotton wool and have everything done for them. They want the world to feel sorry for them and want nothing but sympathy.


These are the people who need to dig deep and find the motivation to move forward. It won’t be easy, and there will be hard times. But it will be better than sitting on the couch and moping about their situation.

We are all dealt a hand of cards, it’s up to us to decide how we play them.

Motivation 

Every day has been a struggle for the past 3 ½ months. Just getting out of bed Involved help from others and more effort and energy than I had. But I got up and out of bed every single day, no matter how much I wanted to lay there and feel sorry for myself. And there were a few of those days.

But I have to admit it became a little easier with every passing day, but still, there were days when I had to push myself physically and mentally just to start the day.

Even once I was out of bed, I still had to muster up enough motivation to get through the days. Sometimes just a short walk seemed out of my reach, but then I would think of the end goal, and I would get off my backside and do what I needed to do to achieve my goal.

My goal may be a long time coming, but that won’t stop me from getting there. Even though I have to dig deep at times to push past the part of me that won’t budge.

Motivation is something that drives each and every single one of us. It makes us want to better ourselves in so many ways, to forge ahead and continue with what drives us and what we want to do, or become.

Some of us have an abundance of motivation, day in and day out. And they have very few days when they don’t strive to do their very best. But what happens to those people when they succumb to the lack of drive, even for just a single day?

They ride it out, and i know that from personal experience. It may not be easy, but the other option is giving up, and that, is not an option.

It doesn’t mean we won’t fail a few times, but the desire and motivation we have been born with will get us through.

No Promises

There are some promises that are easy to keep, such as, I promise to mow the lawns this weekend, or I promise to fix blocked gutters before it rains again.

Then there are other promises that are more difficult to keep, no matter how hard you try.

One of my promises to my wife was that I would ride safe and be careful every time I went out on the road bike. Rain, blowing winds and sunny days, I would tell her the same thing as she lay in bed and I ventured off for my morning rides.


This was one promise I broke sometime in mid March 2017. My intentions were good and my years on the bike made no difference at all on this bright and sunny Saturday morning along the Melbourne peninsula. My lights were flashing and I was wearing my multicoloured cycling outfit. But still, a broken promise.

Having been on the road for close to an hour, I knew my halfway point for my outing. There was a slight headwind as I headed towards Point Nepean, and I was pushing myself harder than normal. It must have been the fantastic conditions, and I was out on my own and nothing but 80s music streaming through my headphones and a clear mind.

In a split second, my entire life was about to take a tumble for the worse. But it could have been far more serious. So I consider myself extremely lucky. And I was given a lifeline. 

A car coming in the opposite direction performed an illegal turn in front of me. Obviously not having seen me. And I’m not what one would consider a small unit.

With less than a split second to do something. I did the obvious. I hit his front side guard at over 30 kilometres per hour.

The first and only thing that went through my mind was, it’s over. Goodbye!

I flipped over his hood, landing on my arse and then ploughed into his windscreen, shattering it into thousands of pieces with my shoulder. And my journey continued I somersaulted over his car, as I watched my glasses and iPhone fly well ahead of me.

Landing on the ground more than 12 feet away from his car, I later discovered I broke my back. My L4 to be exact. And in thst split second, my life had changed. Forever!


Pain filled every fibre of my body, but for some unknown reason, I was still able to move my arms and legs. A positive sign I thought as I screamed in pain as I was surrounded by some very helpful and concerned bystanders.

The ambulance trip to the Frankston hospital was one without all that much pain, but I would have to say the morphine in my system had a lot to do with that fact.

The next few hours with my wife beside me at the Frankston hospital and then at the Alfred hospital trauma centre were good, bad, anxious, concerning, and the scariest hours of my life.

I was eventually told I had a broken back, but signs were positive because I was able to move my arms and legs. No internal or neauralogical damage, so another positive sign.

After leaving the hospital five days later, and in a very uncomfortable back brace I was to wear for the following 12 weeks. In some desperate hope my back would heal on its own and no surgery would be required.

With all the damage I had suffered, I was extremely lucky not to have injured any of my spinal nerves and no other nerves impacted. I only have God to thank for that. And not having died on the side of the road was something I still look back at and wonder why?

The following 12 weeks were filled with some of the lowest points in my life. Not just the pain, but the not knowing how and if I would fully recover. And at the lowest point, if I really wanted to continue. I knew deep down I had to abandon all fear if I was to make it through.

With the help and support of family and friends, I struggled through and continued to make progress. First getting out of bed without assistance, and eventually able to walk to my letterbox.

I have to admit ut did get a little easier the more I moved. I ended up going on 5 kilometre walks as the weeks dragged by. My only outings were visits to surgeons and physiotherapists.

The long road of rehabilitation lays ahead of me, 6-12 months I’ve been told before I’m back to the condition I was in before the accident.

In the end, what got me through was love and friendship. And lots of pain medication.

My Scott carbon fibre bike was written off, but I still have my Avanti, which is patiently waiting for me to decide on my path forward.


As for the path after rehabilitation, do I go back to the one sport I loved with a passion, or do I take up stamp collecting, as suggested by my brother.


Whatever I decide, I have honestly found that love and friendship conquers all, physical and mental pain.

No Promises – Icehouse