Its been an unusual recovery period after the 3 Peaks cyclocross race. The Tuesday following it, I had surgery on my nose and thus spent the last 10 days on strong pain relief, antibiotics and done little. This is the third round of plastic surgery after I face-planted at Dalby Forest in 2009 – 32 stitches – my nose was virtually peeled sideways to the right and I de-gloved my lower jaw. The healing didn’t go so well and part of my nose necrosed (the skin just died away), and replaced itself with scar tissue.
Apart from being bloody painful – like I’d imagine it feels when you’re whacked in the face with a cricket bat, it was an injury that didn’t pose many problems with riding or training, I actually didn’t have that much concern returning to the mountain bike, in terms of fear etc. What was a problem was my self-esteem, it looked horrible in the first few weeks, people wouldn’t look at me, they responded very differently to what I was used to. I was helpless as I watched the necrosis develop, turn black and eventually to pink scar tissue, thick and tight, pulling my nose down. For about 3 weeks I cried every day when I got up and looked in the mirror. The first day back to work (as a physiotherapist) I cried and couldn’t face (pun) my patients for the day – I never cry at work.
Over the years, I have come to terms with it, I know it really wasn’t that bad in the end, and plastic surgery has certainly helped immensely to reduce the scarring. So, the third lot of surgery I have just had, has attempted to reconstruct my left nostril to help with breathing through it. As I write this I have a tube (its relatively discreet) stitched into it to support a cartilage graft, taken from my ear, as it heals. It has been more painful than I anticipated, and to top it off I’ve had a cold!
Getting over injury and illness does make you tougher and resilient – as long as you manage to get over it. It is good to face adversity and plan your come back, to be fitter, stronger etc. It is also difficult sitting back and watching your fitness melt away, my quadriceps have shrunk already. I’ve tried to use the time to plan and think what my next focus will be. Next weekend is the Rapha Supercross in Halifax, I’m excited to have been invited to ride for the Rapha team, I just hope my fitness isn’t too far gone.
In the meantime, I must return to work, still with tube in-situ, ah well, many of my patients have been through far worse.
No pictures in this blog as they’re not nice if you’re a bit squeamish. So here’s one of Jemima instead, after she had a nasty cut on her neck from another dog, she chose the neon green, its en vogue apparently.