I want to share with you my journey so far, which has been a mixed one.
Many may read this and feel sympathy and various other emotions for me,
I don't want that at all, but thank you.
What I want, is for every reader to take from this a sense of hope, that despite what life throws at you, don't give up, remain positive and fight with determination for the outcome that you want.
Age 11-17, years old bullied
Mainly at school by various girls, sadly 3 of my closest friends became the worst bullies. It resulted in my hating school, and as a young person the bullying had a huge impact on me. I started to self-harm to try and release the pain. Writing poetry, some very sinister was a great release and at age 13 I had some of my poetry published.
Age 15, I was raped
The ordeal happened on a school trip in Spain, the person was a local. I had some intense therapy after to help with coming to terms with what happened and recovery. Missed some school due to therapy and almost got expelled.
2000, Car accident
I became paralysed from the waist down for 4 months, then after on crutches, I even completed by exams on crutches. Lots of pain, and loss of certain bodily functions we all take for granted was hard to deal with. The medical professionals had no idea how I would progress and suspected permanent damage which would also be degenerative. Fight on!
1999 - 2003, Abusive relationship both physical and mentally
Various physical abuse and psychological manipulation. Even when I broke free of the relationship, stalking and harassment continued. I kept moving forward, no way was I going back, this episode of my life gave me a different kind of strength.
2005, Spinal shift and collapse crutches and spine brace
Terrifying, after having battled for months and months to a point of perceived stability and pain reduction, I seemed to be back to square one. Help was needed from medical professionals, but my emergency referral made on January didn’t come through until May. My grandad paid for a private MRI scan as a birthday present, I needed to know what had gone wrong. The outcome was another setback, condition inoperable, too high a risk of permanent paralysis, given the news I would never be able to have children. The advice, stop work, stop training, don’t take any risks and use meds prescribed. So, my life is now going to consist of doing not much, no way!
2005 - 2006, 25 meds a day
Lots of meds but not much use at all, no pain reduction and unable to sleep. What did they do for me, well I was in a bubble of unreality and chemically induced drowsiness, no control or awareness. I chose to stop them in July 2006 haven’t taken anything since, accept full control of my life.
2006, Took control and studied nutrition with aim to reduce pain
Having tried all forms of physical treatment and prescribed meds, my thoughts turned to how I fuel my body. I started looking into how Eastern medicine used food to alleviate conditions. I wanted to have tried everything I could and to take ownership, instead of being poked and prodded with unpleasant things being done to me. This was a learning curve for my later approach to Cancer.
The neuro surgeon I saw said he might be able to help me if I got down to 9 stone, ridiculous for my height but, it planted a seed. I hit my target and he still wouldn’t help so I kept going.
I associated the control of food with the control of pain by that point. I had changed my fuel, accidentally lost weight, but I had also reduced the pain. I have to admit, I quite liked the vogue model look and I still miss it from time to time.
My brother told me I had gone too far, he never comments on much so I knew that there was an issue. I started to track my behaviours, including putting something in my mouth.
Chewing to get the flavour and then spitting it into a bin! I couldn’t believe I was doing these things. It took a lot of time. I still battle now, everyday, I can easily slip into a food control state. When my best friend was dying my kcals dropped to 1200 without me realising, and most of that was vodka.
2010 - 2011, Recovery from Eating Disorder
I didn’t have any help. I was embarrassed I had let it get to that point. It was so illogical, I had to force myself bit by bit to eat more and increase my variety.
2014, Diagnosed with breast cancer
A member of my family was diagnosed with a form of cancer and this prompted me to go and get checked, after persuasion my GP referred me to genetics.
My referral appointment resulted in a mammogram due to identified risks, this took for April to Sept as I had no symptoms. A recall from the scan required a fine needle biopsy.
Due to their findings I opted for a double mastectomy due to a gene I have. I was calm, and to prepare for my op I trained hard to get super cardio fit and sorted my nutrition for re-op and post op to maximise recovery. I had the mindset that I will beat cancer come through it.
2015, Post Op, using fitness and nutrition for pain relief and recovery
All the way up to and after having a double mastectomy, I remained positive all the way through, never doubting that I would fully recover, keeping a winning mentality. I knew I would be okay!
2015, Given all clear from beating cancer
I helped others knowingly and unknowingly throughout. I was very open and honest about what was happening and what I was doing throughout the journey. I identified various areas of insufficient help which I am determined to rectify.
2016, Best friend died of secondary cancers, after initial diagnosis of breast cancer
Emma my best friend got given the all clear the same time as me. The secondaries were in her brain as her first symptom developed. She couldn’t have checked or known, by then it was everywhere.
I was devastated, I spent my time looking at Nutrition and ways we could save her. I could do nothing, the disease had gone too far, I felt I had let her down. I lost my friend, I lost my Cancer warrior, I lost my symptom sister, the only one who understood the fears, the worries, the highs, the lows and what it was like to try to rebuild yourself. I am still devastated at her loss, I have never got over it. The pain is as raw today as it was, I truly feel I have lost a part of me.
2018, First female PDRL player in UK Europe and Northern Hemisphere
I have frequently been in a room where one or two people may be inspirational and have an incredible journey to share.
With PDRL everyone is remarkable, everyone is an incredible inspiration, everyone is a hero. It’s humbling to share the pitch with them. I was nervous about taking a hit and putting myself backwards, but everyone is extremely respectful of the red short wearer as there is a real reason for them to have to wear them, they protect the player.
I have pain everyday, I had had some heightened ankle pain and hip pain in the run up to the game, but on game day I felt good.
Post- match I get interview players from all teams, gain their views and feelings on the game. I interviewed one chap who couldn’t believe I wanted to chat to him as apparently no one ever wanted to talk to him. His interview has a combined viewing of 30k, I am so proud to be a part of this sport.
2019, Launched the RCM Wellness Centre in Ossett
Ever since Emma Kirke Qualified in 2001, Emma had a dream of a centre featuring multi discipline experts, the dream has now become a reality. The wellness centre is offering a huge range of therapies and services, using only the very best therapists qualified available.