James’ News & Progress – 18th Sept 2012

Major decisions in ones life are often the most time inefficient. Knowing this all too well, I tried to enjoy my weekend without entertaining the idea of surgery, except for a few fleeting moments.

The beginning of the week proved another convenient distraction and, following another random Internet search by my ever-supportive mother, I pushed my way through an ivy laden gate down a makeshift ramp and into one of the most eclectic and quirky workshops I have visited to date. Sitting behind the desk, with surely decades of paperwork surrounding him, was Paul Galy, a Hungarian orthotic shoemaker, who insists he has made over 39,000 pairs in his lifetime. In addition, his family has been making orthotics for over 3 centuries. Every nook and cranny of this ‘Mad Professor’ like rabbit warren was stuffed with leather offcuts, rubber composite, lace options, tired-looking machinery and shoe magazines. All in all, truly a national treasure in itself. My first fitting is in 10 days or so. Surely the most anticipated event in months. These are to put you in the picture, as it were.shoemaker


With Sarah scheduled to return from the UK in the morning, a final analysis of risks, challenges, rewards and concerns was completed and the final verdict, to postpone my operation, reached. As always there were a number of factors in play. I guess the uncertainty proved to outweigh the perceived outcomes and therefore I felt I owed it, not only to myself but to the greater support network to step back and reacquaint myself with the bigger picture. By this, I have given myself the opportunity to complete a focused appraisal of medical treatments, clinical trials and developments globally in the area of spinal cord injury. Not only for peace of mind but to satisfy my conscious urge to source such information and thoroughly educate myself before revisiting surgical options in 6 months time. During the ensuing days, mixed emotions were rife as potential upsides of surgery may well have provided a catalytic step change in my immediate recovery and functionality. Either way, a relief to have made a decision.

I would just like to acknowledge and thank all the individuals who have shown such great qualities of strength, patience and support to facilitate the best conclusion. In particular, my parents, Sarah and my 2 physiotherapists Clare and Adrian.