I have met a lot of people over the years, Some have been motivational and inspirational, others have just worked hard to get where they are. recently i met an amazing women called Esther.
Esther is motivational with out a doubt. Her story is inspirational to anyone who has had to fight addiction. And it is safe to say she has had to work very hard to get where she is now.
Alcohol, Drugs and addiction.
Esther, A 20 year alcoholic with drug addictions and a life of hiding from her troubles. Her mother would describe her life as interesting. Others would call her a failed mother and a drunk.
From a professional I.T and web designer to a drinker who has lost control over life. Esther’s journey is full pressures and worked related stress as well as a difficult home life. Esther found a way out! It was not the recommended way out but it was the route she took. A long path that would mould her life in a very negative and distructive way.
20 years of alcohol and drug abuse followed. Taking apart Esther’s career, confidence, respect and self esteem. All these factors then put esther into a whirl wind of self abuse.
Her career was infact in a strong place there was no reason why she could not have made it very lucrative. However Esther broke down and walked away from the things she seemed to no longer be able to control.
So what is the defined difference of an alcoholic and a drinker. As Esther told me it is a problem when it becomes a problem. it is a point where moderation become an issue. does the alcohol intake interfere with the ability to manage your life? For Esther alcohol became her priority over everything else.
After trying the Sober October challenge,and failing miserably, Esther had still at this point not realised that she had a real issue with Alcohol.
Esther eventually turned to Yoga where she started to find a very deep inner peace. As well as being skilled in I.T Esther was also a qualified teacher. Putting the two together who knew at this time that her life would take a very different turn.
Controlled by drink for 20 years Esther only really started to make the consequential decision to stop drinking in January 2014 when she signed to train as a yoga teacher. Not straight away but this was the start, even thought at the time Esther was not fully aware.
Self studying as part of the course Esther would write down her issues and her life connections started to really make sense. Her issues where starting to stand out to her. Clarity became a thing.
oOthe 12th of October of that year Esther had woken with one of the worst hangovers she had ever experienced, her body was starting to build an intolerance to alcohol. After so many years of being depended on alcohol, her body was infact not used to large quantities of alcohol in its system.
The realisation of not only had Esther wasted years of her life, she had also realised she was destroying her body. That was the point!, Right there! she decided to put alcohol to bed.
Once the alcohol control had been released the new challenge began. Esther took to drink to run away from the reality. she had not been a good mother at this point even though she was there to teach them and keep them safe. Here was the point where she had to now deal with all the things she had hid away in the closet.
Esther needed to deal with so much and even now 4 years later she is still facing and having to deal with those issues. She told me that it is still an issue and it still take alot of work. Loving yourself is the hardest thing to do and takes a lot of work.
Esther had to deal with guilt, and shame. She had to cope with the effect her life choices had made on those around her. Alcohol was just a tool to hide from the issues that up to this point she had not wanted to face.
Esther still has good days and bad days. With the help of Meditation, Yoga and breathing she has learned to control her emotions. Noticing direct behaviour changes in her children. Her business has started to take her to new places and she has even written a book.
Esther’s story is honest and raw. The time I spent with her was so inspirational and humbling at the same time. The interview was easy flowing and Esther gave us a real insight into her life.
I cant thank Esther enough for the time we spent together and I hope you enjoy the show as much as I have enjoyed making it. And I hope you get as much out of it as I have. Thank you Esther and good luck for your ongoing journey. you are a strong women with a challenge ahead. You will reach your Summit.
Jamie Gane and I met around a year ago through a mutual friend and since then I have followed him as he progressed further on in his journey.
I find his story incredible. When i first thought about the “Guest Spot” project i knew i needed to get Jamie involved. He has shown me so much about adaption and over coming. Adding this to my already adaptive way of thinking has made me very much a “go getter”
I recently got together with Jamie who agreed to have a chat with me and tell abit more about his condition and his Journey!
Jamie, your a lower limb amputatee that never seems to get held back. And its fair to say you dont let it slow down either.
For so many this is a massive inspiration, if you dont mind telling us, What actually happened?
I developed a condition at the age of 9 which initially affected both feet. After multiple operations, the pain condition became worse and developed into a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
Due to this condition, I was unable to use my right foot at all – I wasn’t able to place any pressure on my foot or wear shoes or socks.
If I was to go out in the rain or wind, I would need to quickly get back inside as it was too much for my foot. This ultimately lead me to becoming a full-time wheelchair user.
And how old was you when your life changed?
At about the age of 16, a doctor spoke briefly about amputation as a passing comment. Despite his swift talk, I was adamant to investigate the potential of amputation.
As a young person, I had already undergone 25+ surgeries and was ready to remove the pain. Despite this, it took me 6 years to find a surgeon that was willing to amputate my foot.
Eventually it was done in 2016 and in June 2017, I received my first prosthetic leg and started walking for the first time in 14 years.
For many people reading this, having your leg amputated would seem a negative life changing event. But in some cases taking the plunge to have a limb amputated could infact be a positive move forward! would you agree with this?
Absolutely! Amputation, for me, gave me the chance to be free, a chance to live without pain.
Even waking up post-surgery, I immediately felt so much better and my concentration levels started to increase.
I found myself coming off of medication and life started to have a purpose.
Tell us a bit about your initial build up to having surgery, I mean it must have been a terrifying time for you but at the same time there must have been an element of excitement?
All the way up to the day of surgery, I was very excited about the procedure (as excited as anyone can be about an operation anyway).
I was nervous that it would not remove the pain however I was ready to start the next journey of my life.
So Jamie I want to take you back to those first moments! you have had surgery and you have now woken up with a below-knee amputation!how did you first feel about your new situation?
I started to feel completely different even in the first few days – my pain was gone and I started to think about how I was going to live my life.
I had fought so hard to have my amputation that I didn’t realise how much energy I used thinking about the operation itself.
Once it was gone, I had a new space in my head to start thinking about new possibilities.
I see that you are an international competitor in judo. And I believe you have managed to bag a few silver medals aswell. Well done! what got you into judo in the first place?
Started Judo at quite a young age however when my disability started to escalate, I had to stop.
I think with any sport, if you have the passion there, you will return. Once I had my amputation and that had healed, I was ready to go again and start Judo.
Now I currently play Squash, like you in my chosen sport I am the only squash player in the world with a lower limb disability of my kind.
My goal when I first started was to compete against able bodied players. since then I have played in local competitions.
Moved on and started playing in club leagues and in April I will be playing in the European masters. do you think you would ever be in a position where you could compete in an able bodied category?
Don’t worry, you aren’t the only squash player in the world with a lower limb disability – I know plenty of lower limb amputees who play.
Thats awesome maybe we need to get together and arrange our own League.
All of my international competitions are against those without any physical disabilities.
I am not allowed to compete in Judo with a prosthetic leg so I simply have to hop around the mat and try to trip people up.
Would love to get into more disability-focused sports such as sprinting.
I would love to see Judo to be made into a Paralympic sport. It currently has a visually-impaired classification however I would love to see this expanded into Physical disabilities.
I think it is so important to be able to inspire others with disabilities and open their eyes into what is achievable.
Certainly think there is a need for it.
Lets move on to Tough Mudder! you are an Ambassador for the competition, and a little birdie told me that you have infact completed more courses than any other adaptive athlete! Am I right?
Um….sort of… That is certainly true in the UK. Worldwide, there is another amputee who has completed over 100 Tough Mudder courses however I have completed more courses than him as an adaptive athlete (he was able-bodied before his amputation).
How many courses have you completed?
52 to this date. I have 3 more to complete by the end of this year.
How did you get into tough mudder?
Initially, I completed my first Tough Mudder with a friend of mine while I was a wheelchair user.
I loved the atmosphere, the teamwork and the challenge and I was certainly keen to come back for more.
How does your amputation effect you in this gruelling sport?
You’re dealing with very uneven terrain, which is very difficult to run on often for an able-bodied runner.
Without an ankle to support me, it places a lot of pressure on my knee and hip so completing multiple courses can be very difficult and recovering between runs is very essential.
I’m always having to make alterations to my prosthetic and having to wait for different sockets or liners to be made for me to continue.
My prosthetic certainly takes a bashing so it’s important for me to have a great team behind me to support my sport.
Jamie you are clearly very active! do you think this helped you in your journey from amputation to now?
I think it has – it’s given me something to strive for and a reason to continue
Lets talk abit about 2020! Tokyo! is this still your long standing dream?
Actually not so much anymore.
Unfortunately, I had lots of issues with my recovery when I had my amputation.
The initial planned amputation was cancelled just 10 minutes before the procedure and subsequently my recovery was put back about a year, meaning that 2020 was/is just not simply achievable.
Having said that, I think that it’s now far more important for me to enjoy my sport and at the moment, I couldn’t wish for anything more.
Thats a massive shame! what sport was you looking to compete in?
I was looking to compete in discus, javelin and shotput.
Well never say never! i think we will be seeing you in the Olympics one day for sure!
how is funding coming along?
Just this year, I very kindly recieved the support of a sponsor, Essity, who have been fantastic at helping me achieve my goals.
That awesome! If people want to support and get involved how can they do this?