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MY STORY: I had everything in life, then an accident changed it all

I love swimming; it is one of the things I can count on to clear my mind and keep me fit at the same time.

I was one of the trainees for the Olympics. I was going to represent my country doing something that I really loved. That was a big deal for me. I had to train extra hard and overtime to make sure I was the best. I had sponsors from abroad who financed everything I needed from training equipment to nutritional diet.

I acquired a new found fame thanks to the recognition I got as an Olympic trainee. As a result women were all over me, they wanted to be a part of my life and I loved the attention, but I already had a girlfriend. And I knew in the long run I would marry her. Life was good.

One day as I was riding my bike home from training, the unfortunate happened. I had a nasty accident. I remember hitting the ground hard and nothing else. My right hand was smashed and bruised badly that the doctors couldn’t save it. It had to be amputated. I felt like I lost part of my life because swimming was my life and I was losing an important piece to complete it.

My sponsors got wind of what had happened and immediately arranged for me to go abroad and get a prosthetic arm for me to accommodate myself better. It was a bit small for my arm but I couldn’t complain; it was exactly what I needed at the time.

ALONE AND DEPRESSED

When I came back I found out that my then girlfriend whom I knew I would marry had left me for another guy. Just at the time I needed her most, she left. I guess she couldn’t deal with the pressure.

My friends knew I was going through a hard time and did everything they could to help me. They would take me out to have a good time in the hope that it would make things easier for me. It worked, when I was with them, I would forget all my worries but after that I would go home and be alone again, and feel really bad. I would sit there and realize that I was by myself with no one to talk to; I sunk into depression.

I decided to go back to what I loved doing most; swimming. After all it was one of the ways I would clear my mind and just be in the zone. Of course it was hard at first, I had to adapt to coping with my new arm and learning how to swim again with a disability. It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do but I did it. I didn’t want to go back to that dark place where I felt I was alone. My sponsors too kept by my side, they supported me all through, emotionally and financially.

I had always wanted to start a family and I still dream of it but women distance themselves from me once they find out about my disability. It’s like I would be a burden to them even though I can take care of myself, I’ve been doing it ever since my accident.

My ex-girlfriend even reached out to me wanting to get back together. She already has four failed marriages/relationships. I don’t want to be the fifth… but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be happy. I have learnt to deal with my situation, and I hope to find someone who can deal with it too.

Caroline Kagose writes for Content Production Media, a Nairobi based Media Company that creates content for print, online platforms, film and television.

Twitter: @CPMBelieve1

Email: [email protected]