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I was born with a rare condition called Beals Syndrome, but it wasn’t actually diagnosed until 13 years ago. It’s a connective tissue disease, which means that all my muscles and my tendons are too short for my body and they snap very easily and are very difficult to repair.
I’ve had issues with my shoulders for years and multiple operations, but the muscles always snapped again right away. Because of that, I had to have a procedure called a reverse shoulder replacement, as the rotator cuff muscles were too badly damaged for the standard operation.
So far the operation seems to have gone well. I’m now in the process of building up the muscles around the shoulder to get some movement back, but it has to be taken very slowly. It could be up to 18 months before I know if it’s been successful or not.
I’m a great believer in doing what I can to pass it forward. I used to go to medical schools to help with exams because my condition is so rare and I knew it would help the medical students to learn.
When I read about the Surgery Hero programme, I thought the concept of it was brilliant. And I thought if I participated it would help the programme progress to help the next set of people coming through.
I can recall one specific moment. It was after the operation, my appetite was completely gone and I had lost some weight.
I was giving myself a hard time and I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. But my coach just stopped me and said, “what would you advise a friend in your position?”. Being asked that question was like a lightbulb moment and my entire perspective changed.
That was the point that I changed my view on how to handle my health issues both then and moving forward. I realised I was in control — it was just amazing.
If it wasn’t for my coach I don’t know where I would have been at that stage. In my opinion, working with her made my recovery so much smoother and so much more manageable.
I looked at the programme as my security blanket.
Although my coach wasn’t with me at all times, she was always there at the touch of a button on my phone. I could message her at any time knowing she would get back to me.
Using the app also kept me on track. For example, tracking my sleep made me realise how bad my sleep was and therefore I had to change that. So, I spoke to my coach about improving my sleep and she was able to help with that too.
Do it! I would recommend it 100%.
This was my 20th surgery, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so relaxed before and after. And that’s down to the support I received from my coach.