Harry’s Journey with Bridgeham
My name is Harry and I wasn’t well for a while because I had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. I had it the first time and had 6 months treatment and it had gone. It ended up coming back for a second time but it was a very different to the first time.
I went back to East Surrey the next day and I then ended up getting sent to St. George’s hospital in tooting. I had more tests done there and they put me on warfarin because they took x-rays of my brain and thought I had a blood clot in my brain. A few days later I saw a neurologist who said I would need to have neuro surgery to get rid of the blood clot which really scared me. I had new x-rays done to see if anything had changed and they had found out something different this time. It turned out that the cancer cells had come back around my brain in my head. I had a very deep cannula put in my arm and had chemotherapy straight away. The next day I was sent back to the Marsden to start my stages of chemotherapy again. I had started the next stage but this time I had to have a lumbar puncture which is where I had to have anaesthetic to put the chemotherapy in to my spinal cord with the needle going in to my back. I would have this every day for 2 weeks and could not eat throughout the day because of the anaesthetic. Some of the days it would get to late for me to have it done so I would miss a day of it. After the first stage of this I was sent home for a week.
When I was home for the week I had to go to East Surrey for checks every day. Every time I went there and walked up the stairs to the ward, I found it more difficult every time to get up them. One day I walked in to the ward and just fell over and couldn’t get back up. I was sent back to St. George’s hospital for checks. I had x-rays to check my brain was ok and it turned out where I was having the chemotherapy through my spinal cord in to my brain was so intense that the medicine had destroyed the part of my brain that helped me to move. I was sent back to the Marsden straight away and had another hickman line put in. I started my chemotherapy again but through the line this time. I could not move in my hospital bed. I couldn’t talk, move my legs, move my feet, and move my arms, hands or anything. I could barely breathe. After a week of not knowing why this happened, a neurologist came and saw me. They said that I was in a critical condition and that whatever progress I made in the next 6 months would be the only progress I would make. A few months later I got moved back to East Surrey so I could be near to home and I was in a better condition. One morning I woke up and my legs started twitching. This was such a good sign because it meant my nerves could still be able to work. In a few weeks I went to another hospital and the tested my nerves there. They tested my body, legs and tongue. They put little suckers on my chest and they could test if my nerves where working like that. They did the same on my arms and they stuck a needle in my tongue to test the nerves there. I got the results back and it turned out that they were still alive and able to work which meant I had more of a chance to walk again in the future. I went back to East Surrey hospital after.
In the next couple of weeks I was able to have physio at the hospital for 30 mins and then at the weekends I could go home. I had to have a hospital bed at home which took up a lot of space. It was one that had a remote that could move it up and down however I wanted. When I was back in hospital one week, I had 2 people come and meet me in hospital who came from somewhere called Chailey Heritage. It is a place where you can do physio, speech therapy and memory and other things but I just did those 3. Where I couldn’t move, it meant that I had to learn to talk again. When I first started there I had to stay there all day and get there in the morning and leave in the evening. I had lots of physio sessions, speech sessions and memory sessions. After a while I didn’t have to have speech therapy anymore and only went in for a couple of hours for physio and a bit of memory sessions. They would come around to my house a couple of times a week for 30 mins as well. After 3 months I had to be reviewed to see if it was still worth me going which they agreed on that for the next year. During that year I was able to learn to swim again and could walk a lot better. I also had a home tutor for a couple of months which helped me a lot.
After that year I was allowed to come home every other day to go back to school for 1 hour every other day. Every 6 months I would go back to Chailey for check-ups like seeing my old physio and to talk to someone about how everything was going. I ended up coming back full time for last part of year 9. I came back in a wheelchair and struggled with the work but the main problem was remembering everything. I did my GCSE’s in year 10 and 11. I ended up getting a C in English and I had to re-take my Maths and got a C which was a real achievement for me. Before I became ill I always used to play football so my new goal is to play football again. Recently I have been going to more of my hospital appointments and they are getting better every time I go. I also recently went to St. Thomas hospital in London to see another neurologist. He done some tests on me with my strength and coordination which was all to do with my brain and said everything was 5 out of 5. This means my brain has fixed itself to how it used to be which was something I never thought would happen. He told me that everything I have been doing with going to the gym, swimming and practicing playing football is the right thing to do. He said I just need to build up the strength in my legs and I should be able to do everything I used to be able to do.
I have been going to the Bridgeham clinic for 3 years now since I was 15 and the work that they have done for me has really benefited me and has changed my life massively. I first started working with Jo and Aleisha and they helped me to keep myself inline by using imaginary stripes. At the start it was very difficult for me but as I kept going every week I soon was able to keep myself straight. One of the first machines I used was the reformer table. When I first used this I could not keep myself straight and my legs went flying out everywhere to the side. After lots of practice on the reformer table I was able to keep my legs inside and could do many exercises on their which helped me to become more mobile. Eventually I only worked with Aleisha and have been working with her for the full 3 years I have been there. The Bridgeham clinic has helped me go from a wheelchair to a crutch to a walking stick and eventually nothing to support me while walking. The journey hasn’t been easy I have had a few barriers to do with the coordination in my knees and ankle but I have managed to overcome this and get where I am today. At the moment I am doing specific exercises like squats, kicking against a resistance spring and lots of other exercises with Aleisha to do with football on a garuda machine. Also when the weather is nice near summer time I have been going to a local park nearby to practice my passing, running, dribbling and catching. Without the help from the Bridgeham clinic and especially Aleisha and the Pilates I would be nowhere near where I am today progress wise and I am so thankful to have found them and to be able to work with them.
Harry is taking part in the Pillars to Plough charity walk on 28th May 2017, so if you would like to sponsor him please use the link below to direct you to Harry’s just giving web page.