“After discussions with a dedicated peer support volunteer from Limbs 4 Life and care from doctors, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists coupled with seeing how other amputees were coping and managing, I could see that it was not all doom and gloom”
At 87 and despite having lost one of his legs to cancer, Mark is showing no sign of slowing down.
For most of his life, Mark has been a very active and passionate sportsman. His love of sport has seen him involved in golf, Aussie Rules Football, tennis, as well as umpiring with the VFL and suburban football leagues in Victoria.
When he was 55, doctors discovered a melanoma under his left heeI and recommended surgery to remove the lymph glands in his left groin and radiation to minimise the risk of cancer coming back in the future.
Unfortunately for Mark, the radiation treatment didn’t achieve the desired outcome, resulting in limited blood supply to his leg and foot. So, in 2013, Mark underwent a second operation to implant a bypass from the iliac to the femur, in an attempt to help increase the blood supply to the leg. But two years later, he was back in the operating theatre - this time for an above the knee amputation as the bypass had blocked up, stopping any blood flow to the leg.
According to Mark, losing his leg shook him up a bit mentally but he gained the upper hand after receiving positive attention from healthcare professionals and a visit from a Limbs 4 Life Peer Support Volunteer.
“After discussions with a dedicated peer support volunteer from Limbs 4 Life and care from the team of physiotherapists at Caulfield Rehabilitation hospital, coupled with seeing how other amputees were coping and managing, I could see that it was not all doom and gloom,” he said.
With the help of his physiotherapist, Mark started regular exercise and a balanced diet. “I have a daily exercise regime designed to maintain muscle strength for both the affected leg and the good leg and a set of exercises, using weights for upper body and arms. I have reduced my food intake with smaller meal sizes – although a bit hard with cake sometimes,” he said.
When Mark is not driving his wife to the local shops, getting himself to the doctors or enjoying the sunshine driving his electric scooter, he would be at the home of sport – the mighty Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG).
Two to three days per week, Mark volunteers as a guide and welcomes local, national and international visitors to the stadium and the MCG Cricket Museum.