Written by Andrew Gregory
I discovered pole late,I was 44, had no movement experience and hadn’t exercised for about 15 years,I couldn’t even touch my toes.
It had been 15 years since a motorcycle accident left me with terrible damage to my lower left leg. Fourteen operations had succeeded in me keeping my leg, but it wasn’t great. Massive amounts of heavy painkillers and walking with a stick was the long term reality. I hated it.
I learnt about a new fitness class called anti gravity yoga, your supported by a fabric hammock and it had an aerial silks quality to it. I thought this would be perfect for me,I was desperate to find something I could do to get moving and get fitter. I went to my first class, amazingly 2 minutes from where I live.
It was incredible, so perfect for me. I did this for 2 years religiously.
The studio also taught pole,I was fascinated, but thought my leg would cause too much of a problem. One day a new teacher arrived, Deb Roach, she was amazing on the pole, she also had one arm. It totally inspired me to try pole.
I was addicted immediately.
I started training every day, the more difficult the tricks got, the more I loved it. My teachers were incredible and helped me so much to adjust things to accommodate my leg.
But things never stay the same.
My leg was deteriorating, the pain was increasing and I was finding day to day life harder, pole was a release but I was starting to realize my leg was really holding me back, both on the pole and in my work. Something had to change.
I met with the surgical team 2 years ago, to discuss options. They suggested a series of operations, over 3 years to reshape my leg and ankle, it would involve wearing a cage around my leg with pins to reform the bone.
There was no guarantee it would work.
My suggestion was amputation, they agreed, it was decided.
We set a date for February 27 2018.
That date arrived quickly.
The amputation went ahead,I woke after the operation so happy and relieved,I felt weirdly free.
I had planned 2 months off of training,I needed to heal but knew I could pole without a prosthetic,I am good on crutches.
To everyone’s amazement,I was back on the pole 12 days after the surgery,I felt amazing, had no pain and was taking no pain killers, it was incredible.
Poling as a new amputee was like starting all over again,I had to relearn so much, finding my balance point took a while!!!
Some moves are impossible, but with my teachers support, we have found ways around most things, it’s been an incredible journey.
So I made another decision. Compete as an amputee, show people that pole is a diverse and inclusive sport.
I just got gold competing in the parapole section of IPSF,I’ve qualified for the world championships in Canada in October.
Watch this space, my pole journey has a way to go yet!!!
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