Each morning there is a moment, a moment like no other I have for the rest of the day.

Just as I open my eyes, I feel like I am not paralysed.

In many ways it’s my favourite part of the day.

Like how some people open their eyes to the sound of an alarm clock before jumping out of bed, it’s in that jumping moment that reality hits me.

Because it doesn’t even happen, there is no jump.

Instead, I have had to adapt a technique to get me out of bed and onto my feet.

That’s the moment, the reminder of that 2016 surgery that paralysed me.

I then go straight to my gratitude practice to counter the emotions of the reminder of paralysis.

When I stand in the bathroom looking at the mirror, I edge slightly to the side so I don’t see my left side.

I can’t handle seeing it, somehow it makes it more real.

This day I was flying back to Majorca for another block of training. I hadn’t even unpacked my bike so everything was ready to go, just the wait for my taxi.

Managing the chatter inside my mind around those “what ifs”, I sat drinking a coffee. I love coffee, but on travel days I try to avoid it in case I need the bathroom and there is no bathroom.

But it wasn’t long until I pile my body into the back of a cab and get on my way.

Just over an hour to Gatwick then the safety of plenty of toilets. Till then, I just have to hope nothing down there moves.

Traffic was bad – we weren’t really moving – then I thought it. The dreaded “I do need the toilet”. Can I make it to Gatwick? A quick look at Google Maps and a predicted 55 minutes left. There was no way.

Thankfully, I know there is a petrol station just before the A3. Roehampton Vale Co-op. If I can just make it there.

Pulling into the station I had this relief, but I must get into the bathroom before I am safe.

What I was about to experience was a hard reminder of that moment

I found out I was paralysed

for life.

“Can I use the bathroom please?” “Sorry it’s blocked”. “Okay, can I use the privacy of the bathroom to use my bottle then?” “No.”

“Sorry I reply, I have a tumour in my spinal cord and I am disabled – please can I just use the privacy?”

“No, you can not p*** in here, now leave.”

Staying calm, I ask to see the manager.

“I am the manager and you’re not using these facilities so goodbye.”

As I pleaded with this

man and explained that if I can’t then I will wet myself, with no compassion he just blanked me.

Standing there bent over as the pain had kicked in, it’s like being punched in the stomach. I could hardly move now. Holding back tears, I got myself out the shop and I am embarrassed to say had to just go at the side of the building with a bunch of people looking at me.

A long way from standing on top of the podium in London or speaking to a room full of people around compassion and empathy.

Here I am, the reality of life with a spinal-cord injury.

As I get into the taxi I can feel the tears about to start.

My driver – who resembled an Olympic weightlifter – was ready to go into the shop and rip the manager apart.

He was angry, I have no doubt he would caused havoc in there.

I sit in the car thinking I just want to quit, move to the mountains of Jamaica and never come back.

I am done fighting society to just get by daily.

But I know I won’t, I have too much to do in life still to let these people win. However, days like this are definitely a harsh reminder that paralysis is for life.