It seems like a different David writing to you this week.

It took me writing last week’s column to see how low I had fallen.

I was definitely not in a great place and close to giving up on life and feeling trapped in a body I don’t want.

It was that feeling of giving up that moved me to drive to Alpe d’Huez. And so what if I’m chasing adrenaline. It worked. 

The power of nature is incredible and no amount of therapy in London would give me the feelings that I have had this week.

I just need a strategy to experience these feelings more than the ones I feel when I’m in London waiting, watching the clock tick until I am sitting opposite another doctor or dragging my paralysed body onto another MRI scanning machine.

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Each morning I have woken at 6am to watch the mountains come alive. As I sip my morning coffee I notice that I am not feeling any pain, just anticipation of what is to come.

Sure, it’s a challenge getting onto the snow with a spinal-cord injury. First it takes about 30 minutes for my body to calm down the spasms.

Then there is the challenge of getting my ski boots on. The right side is easy but as my left foot is pretty much completely paralysed, it can be a pretty big mission getting that foot into ski boots.

Thankfully, I have built a small group of friends around me here in the French Alps who are all keen to help me on a routine that used to take one hour. 

It’s getting closer to 45 minutes before I am stadning at the bottom of the chairlift now. 

Recently I started to consider the formula that I’ve called “effort-equals-reward”.

It’s not rocket science but as most things in life are challenging with a spinal-cord injury, what it means is I have tried to manage my energy so I can enjoy those things that give me moments of joy.

Skiing is definitely worth the effort, the reward is like no other and I feel that instant positive shift in my mental health.

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It occurs when I pursue the four things that mean the most to me in life: nature, sport, people and showing people so much is possible when we put our minds to it. 

It’s fair to say I’ve not been the most adventurous this week. I have stayed on a run called Marcel Farm all week. It’s a green run mostly for kids and beginners. But as I’ve been catching the first lift and skiing to lunchtime I’ve been on my skis three to four hours each day non-stop and most days it is my body that gives up well before my mind.

As the snow melts it is difficult to turn my paralysed leg, so to avoid any injury I have a sensible conversation with myself: “David, that is enough for today.”

It takes me back to a tennis session I had in Jamaica.

I had already done one hour on the driving range hitting golf balls followed by two hours’ tennis against the wall when a tennis coach came up to me. He asked if I had played tennis before my injury, and we got speaking.

I explained to him I find it hard to hit that final ball or to take that last turn on the mountain or the last revolution on my bike because I fear it could be the last time I ever do any of these.

He told me to re-frame it and not to think it’s my last time ever – but to think “I will be back”.

I understood exactly what he meant: that inner narrative is so powerful and no one is promised tomorrow. 

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Sometimes I wish I could just go back to pre-cancer, pre-paralysis and just ski for the pure love of it fully expecting to be here next season.

I guess the gift is that every single turn means the world to me. I probably have the biggest smile in the French Alps right now. 

The fun thing on Marcel’s Farm is it’s dotted with animals. It is so nice to not just see the kids but the adults taking photos alongside the animals. 

It’s as if we are all a bunch of kids having a great time.

My time in Alpe d’Huez is coming to an end, so before I jump on a flight to Nike HQ in Holland I know I will be taking that last run of this trip, and as the little voice pesters me inside my mind, I am learning to notice it and replace it with, “David it’s the last run of the season, we will be back next season.”

There is still so much life left in me – even though my body is getting worse and I can feel the numbness taking over more than my left side. I now have to sleep with a weightlifting belt as the numb feeling drives me mad. 

How ironic that I spent my whole life lifting weights advocating that you have to use core strength and not rely on a belt and here’s me now, needing a weightlifting belt to sleep.

As I sign off this week sitting at the highest peak in Alp D’Huez I feel completely at ease with both my life and my death.