Cycling helps Royal Wootton Bassett woman deal with agonising condition
WHEN Amanda Nelson developed pain in her foot in 2010, she could never have imagined the effect it was going to have on her life.
The 43-year-old, of Royal Wootton Bassett, who was training for a half-marathon, needed surgery after discovering she had a congenital foot deformity and spent months in agony after the operation.
She was in so much pain and despair about her long recovery that it drove her to a near suicide attempt.
But last year when she discovered Charlotte’s Tandems, a charity which lends bikes to people with disabilities, life started looking up again and she is now set to take on a challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats in May.
“In April last year, my husband and I, with my crutches strapped to the bike, ventured out for the first time,” she said. “I was like the Cheshire Cat. It had been 18 months since I had felt such a sense of freedom and I felt fantastic.
“Despite having been a mountain biker previously, mastering cycling again was not as easy as I had thought it would be. Every few hundred yards my left foot would fly out of the clip and I would struggle to get it back in.
“Even though I was frustrated and in immense pain, I knew I had found something I could focus on and enjoy. I had found a new challenge and I had managed three miles to boot.”
Amanda said she spent a long, sleepless night thinking about the tandem and decided to take on the 876 mile challenge.
Amanda has discovered that her long recovery process is due to a neurological condition called complex regional pain syndrome, an incurable neurological disorder where a person develops a chronic burning pain in one of their limbs.
“Having the diagnosis and a focus has given me a newfound determination to accept my disability and make the most of the things I am able to do and not worry about the things I cannot,” she added.
“I no longer live in the past and dream about all the things I used to do. Instead, I focus on the now, the things I can do and the things I aim to do in the future. I do not take any medication these days despite the increase in my pain levels and my walking is still as poor as it was.
“The cycling, despite increasing my pain, gives me a great feeling of achievement and emotional wellbeing. My philosophy is I am better off being out on the bike in pain and benefitting physically and emotionally, than lying on the couch in pain and gaining nothing.”
She has already cycled from Royal Wootton Bassett to Bournemouth in one day.
To sponsor Amanda, visit www.lejog-crps.co.uk