GSMA Grand Tour – A Journey of a Lifetime
In just over a week from now I will take part in this amazing event that has been over 3 years in the making, amazing to think it is almost here and to reflect on what its taken to get to this point !
When looking on Twitter at the official hashtag – #mhealthgt there are several inspiring stories about why people are doing it, mainly around diabetes which is understandable given that this is the main focus of the event, rightly so given the size of the problem this disease creates, but the purpose of this post is to explain my reasons for taking part, there are two main ones.
The simpler one is that I have been working as technical liaison between Orange and the other partners involved in this amazing project in order to get the infrastructure in place to securely transmit data from devices on the riders and bikes to an Orange platform in a Continua compliant format, some of it brand new and game changing such as the Dexcom G5.
On a personal level I am doing this to prove that I can, let me explain, the more i learn about diabetes, the happier I am that I do not suffer from this disease, my lifestyle (sedentary/travel/hotels/poor diet) puts me at risk but so far I have managed to avoid it. What I have suffered from is chronic pain from multiple joint related issues, since the age of 21 i have had 15 operations on knee, spine and shoulder. I’ve been put on neuropathic pain killers, hot wax, acupuncture, you name it but in the end the bone, cartilage and tendons just don’t cut it anymore.
It’s quite a shock to find out in your early 20s that you broke your back some time before then, get it fused (agony beyond belief, the morphine drop was interesting, the rubbing skin off elbows not so much) and take 6 months to recover, then screw knee up (tear meniscus in two directions almost all the way through) and start a series of operations every 2-3 years to clean out cartilage and junk from the joint.
Then one day figure out that the back is hurting again so go see a new guy, discs have died from previous operation, spine is collapsing, so have another operation, this one puts metal in the back to hold everything in place, not as bad this one since i had an epidural, although waking up post op and not being able to feel, or move my legs was pretty scary, they kept spraying cold air on my legs which i couldn’t feel at all, then another nurse realised they had left the epidural on ….. thanks for the sheer panic ! – anyway operation kind of worked and on i went with several more knee operations, squeezed in an op on left shoulder when i popped it in gym and had to have a decompression.
So to cut it short(ish) then I have been having operations every 2-3 years since my 20s, I’m now 46 and have a knee that needs replacing and a spine that refuses to stay fixed since the fusion never took and a bolt has come loose and is poking in to my disc so will get it removed after the tour.
Oh forgot to mention that i managed to give myself an inguinal hernia while doing rehabilitation for the last knee operation in April this year where i had some Microfracture done to help me do the tour so will need to get that repaired at some point after the tour also.
I haven’t kept up any exercise in between all the rehabilitation, to be fair i haven’t been very good at following the exercises set, but with the Tour in mind I have had a goal, I have found some motivation, I have managed to do a 100km+ ride even, I am amazed when i do this stuff, I can’t believe i can do it, then I am so amazingly pleased when I do, the feeling is way more effective than sucking down 3200mg Ibuprofen a day !
I am really looking forward to taking part in the tour with cyclists of all levels, from Orange and all the other partners, both from the professional aspect of driving mhealth, or personal connected health, using global standards, through to just the plain feeling of achievement to have taken part – see you on the road or at the end in sunny (hopefully) Barcelona – follow us online through the tour website. Good luck to all the riders !!