The Hobby That Saved My Life

This is a long story but your cause is close to my heart so I would like to share it: Back in October 2014 I had a trail bike accident and broke my back leaving a shard of vertebrae lodged inside my spinal cord cavity.

For the two days leading up to my operation, the chances of never walking again and more associated problems where looking quite high; I was a plasterer by trade and high demanding physical activities seemed to be the only hobbies I had: surfing, scuba diving, bike riding , golf and so on. It was starting to dawn on me that everything I loved had been taken from me.

The first operation seemed like a success and every month I was getting better. I was getting more active and was even able to consider being able to go back to work soon, was a possibility. All seemed to be looking up.

That was until over the next six months with a lot of physio, rehab and work conditioning, I tried going back to work as a plasterer but every time I tried, it seemed to get worse. After more investigation, it turned out the first operation was not such a success and my spine was starting to fail. I was put on a waiting list for follow up surgery, with the anxiety and depression of feeling useless and not knowing if I would ever be myself again.

Over the coming months I started to drink excessively and things went down hill for me; My pain got higher and my motivation got lower. Then, 3 months before my surgery I saw the light and stopped drinking completely and went on a health kick to try and make the next surgery a success. I stuck to this until the day of my surgery, still in hope of returning to plastering one day. The surgery was an extremely risky and invasive one, they removed numerous vertebrae and disks and broke ribs and ruptured my lung just to make room to do the procedure around my spinal cord without nerve damage. Anyhow this was on the 1st of April 2016 and by June, it was apparent that things were worse than before and I could kiss my trade goodbye.

What now? I kept asking myself, but I couldn’t find an answer. I was still off the drink and feeling motivated, and that’s when my boss rang and offered to sell me his old wood lathe for $100. I thought, ‘Why not? I’ve got no income in the foreseeable future and am the type that can’t sit on the couch.’ I’d never done any kind of woodwork in my life but was keen to try somthing new.

Long story short, I got the lathe home and literally spent all day every day on it for 3 months straight, I just couldnt stop! By the end of those 3 months, I was getting compliments from seasoned turners thinking I’d been doing it for years. Woodturning was my saviour, and I started investing all my money into it, and in no time, had an substantial workshop and a brand new lathe.

5 months into my turning journey and I’ve got a contract with a local timber craft shop and and enjoying the market and craft fair scene.

Honestly, turning has saved my life , I would be in a very dark place without it.



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