Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Posted by Oli on Sunday 15th June, 2008

What an awesome day today has been – one of the best since my transplant.

Today I achieved something I’d never have thought I could achieve and done something I never thought I’d see myself doing even before my transplant.

We had my Godson up for the day with his mum and dad at my ‘rents and another family of really close friends with two kids as well and we all traipsed across Willen lake to the high-rope course on the far side of the sports lake.

This thing is pretty epic – a collection of fairly challenging obstacles suspended around 20 feet above the ground on the first level, with an upper level twice that height.  All harnessed and hard-hatted up, we set off around the first level.

The interesting thing about the course is that it’s not really possible to get down once you’ve started, so by way of a tester they put the most intimidating obstacles first, so if you really, really don’t like it, you can turn back.  I must confess, halfway through traversing the 10′ wide section of climbing wall with the world’s tiniest footholds, I seriously considered it.

I’m glad I didn’t though, as the rest of the course was pure joy.  I only struggled at one point, which was a section which required excellent balance (not something I’m renowned for) and good upper-body strength (something which has yet to grace my new body).  With that out of the way, the rest of the course was *relatively* easy.

I was disappointed that the lower level required so much physical exertion that I didn’t have anything left in the tank to attempt the higher, more challenging level this time around, but it gives me a great incentive to build my strength and stamina back up and conquer it next time.

The final step of the course is a 50’ rope drop from a tower in the centre of the courses.  Hooked onto a decelerating wire, you step off a platform for a few moments of free-fall before the rope goes taught and the drum begins to slow you down, depositing you on your feet/butt at the bottom a couple of seconds later at a manageable speed.

Before my op, healthy or not, I wouldn’t not have dreamed of doing something like that in a million years.  To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what possessed me to to it today, but I did.  I stood at the top, harnessed up and clipped on and wondered out loud what I was doing there before serenely stepping off the platform and dropping to the floor in a matter of seconds.  On the way down it was the most horrible thing I’ve ever done, but as soon as I hit the floor I wanted to go again.

Doing a course like that really rammed home once again the astonishing difference these new lungs have made to my life.  Even after completing it, I still had enough energy to go back to Mum and Dad’s and play in the garden with everyone, as we got through games of Butthead, Scatch and footie.  It’s an amazing feeling to finally be able to run around and play in the garden with people again.

I always said before my op that Transplant is a bit of a gamble – there’s no way of knowing how long it’s going to last for and what your quality of life is going to be like, but I said I’d be happy if all I got was an extra six months and the opportunity to play football with my Godsons again.  This weekend, as I ran and missed yet another perfectly weighted cross just wide of the far post, it occurred to me that I’ve now hit both of those milestones.  Everything I wanted before my transplant, I’ve got – I couldn’t be more blessed and feel more happy and content with my life than I do right now.

Transplant is amazing. Full stop.


6 Responses to “Monkey”

  1. Hayley said

    We know that course well Oli, Robert has been on it several times and thinks it is awsome. Well done you how good it must have felt to be able to do that. We will have you climbing everest yet. Hee Hee.
    So proud of you but I am not going to go all gushy on you just to say well done , we love you lots, sendig you lots of hugs, and kisses. Oh B….. there I go. xx

    Love Hayley David and Robert xxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. ben said

    That sounds great! Great stuff.


  3. Lorraine and Steven said

    Samuel got me to do the course – both levels – its great to say you’ve done it (I can’t say I’ll do it again!) but Samuel and Grace have so, having experienced it, we can all say bloomin well done!! You never cease to amaze us. Lots of love Lorraine, Steven, Grace and Samuel. xx

  4. suzie said

    What a fab post Oli, I felt like I was on that course with you. Keep setting them goals chuck.

    Love from all in Chester.

  5. Audrey said


  6. Linda-Jane said

    So amazing that a life can change so much. My son never got his call but lived fully and always with hope. Your very eloquent pre transplant posts reminded me so much of him and his attitude. So happy for you. Live it. Linda-Jane

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