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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't think I've talked much about myself here other than my introduction.

Here's a bit about what's going on in my life.

I've been fighting Melanoma since March 2011. It started as a little black spot on the bottom of my left foot. due to not getting it checked sooner what could have been a simple surgery turned into a major operation on my left foot. I also had an allergic reaction to heparin that led to clotting and complications after the surgery. My left foot hasn't been right since. No fault of anyone. You can't know you're allergic to something until you're exposed to it. It's been a roller coaster. Thanks to an excellent Dr (he's kept me alive for nearly 5 years now, I'm pretty sure I would have died without him) and a clinical trial I was started on a couple years ago my condition is stable and slowly improving. Cancer being cancer I doubt I'll ever be fully cured but things are good right now.

As a result of my fight with cancer my left leg was amputated just above the knee in April of 2015. It's not as bad as it sounds. My leg was in really bad shape and wasn't going to heal. I started feeling better very soon after it was removed. It should have been done sooner but I wasn't ready to let go yet. I just got my new prosthetic leg almost two weeks ago and am slowly relearning to walk. I'm still using crutches but the end is in sight. Once I'm walking again I should be able to do a bunch of things I've had to put on hold.

I'm pretty excited about it. That's why I'm posting this.

I think my impaired mobility is what prompted me to become interested in walking sticks. It may be that I won't need a cane at all once I've learned to walk on my prosthetic. I'll probably carry one anyway. I have no interest in using an aluminum cane ( I detest my aluminum crutches) and really don't have a lot of money to spend on a nice pre-made stick. That's why I decided I should learn to make my own. Since then I've discovered walking sticks can be interesting in their own right. I especially like the antique weapon and gadget canes. I love things that do more than one job, are overly complex, or both. I also like to see all the ways people have come up with better mousetraps over the years. As my skills improve I'd like to try my hand at my own gadget canes.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling,

Rodney
 

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Glad you are on the mend Rodney. A positive outlook goes a long way in getting well and from the sound of your post you've got that one covered.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and your possible need for a walking aid has brought you to a great site and what may turn out to be a life long hobby.

My passion for walking sticks also started as a need. My wife had degenerative arthritis in her knees that necessitated having both removed and replaced. She did not want to let the knee replacements slow her down from one of our favorite pastimes hiking the forests. She purchased a walking stick at Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota and after seeing how much more confident in her ability to maintain her balance it made her, I started making sticks. She doesn't use a stick or a cane in town.but that extra balance point has made all the difference for her walking the woods and hills.

Welcome aboard and here's wishing you a speedy recovery.

Mark
 

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Good to know that things are picking up for you Rodney, went through cancer with my wife Ann who had breast cancer 7years since and is also doing well, it's a very stressful time especially for partners and family. As the saying goes onwards and upwards and looking forward to seeing many of your sticks in the future.
 

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Thank-you for sharing your story Rodney, your positive outlook is a lesson to us all. Cancer touches just about everyone's lives and is a horrible illness!

I understand completely about a walking stick being a necessity, I am only 45 and was disabled due to a back injury. I needed a stick to walk (when I can) and didn't want an "old fogey" aluminium crutch.

At first I just used a piece of privet that I saw laying about at the side of the road which in turn snowballed to where I am now.

I have come to terms with my situation.....just about. Being 6'4" and 21 stones (294lbs) I always had a physical job (steelworks) relying on my strength to lift and carry, I was always called when strength and brute force was needed, I also lifted weights. Going from that type of fella to having to rely on my wife to carry a shopping bag, and needing help to use the toilet screwed with my head! I needed to see a counselor for a long while before I came to terms with things, Men my age are still working, playing football and generally being physical. I miss my co-workers and the camaraderie at work more than anything else.

I am not bad, I have a great wife and two sons who are doing well at university and an Engineering Apprenticeship. My stepdaughter has just finished University and is working, until her dream job in Music Journalism comes up! In all, as my Dad always said "There's always some poor sod in a lot worse state than you, so stop feeling sorry for yourself" It always stopped me moping when said in a thick Yorkshire accent!!! N.
 

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I appreciate your story Rodney and thank you for sharing with us. As the others have noted better than I can,you certainly have the right atitude.
 

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I am really glad to hear you made it thru. My FIL had two skin cancers. Both showed up on his face, and so were nothing anyone could ignore. They are supposedly one of the most aggressive cancers. Not long after they start till it is serious. When my wife had a spot on her back, I freaked.

Prosthetics have become much better over the years. I'm finding w. age that my original joints have become tottery. Having a good stick at hand can make a huge difference going up and down stairs.

Bit of humor, if you will. Carry a cane w. the line "you should see the other guy."
 

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Being 6'4" and 21 stones (294lbs) I always had a physical job (steelworks) relying on my strength to lift and carry, I was always called when strength and brute force was needed, I also lifted weights. ...
You have me beat some on height. I used to be 6'2", an inch less now at least. Used to be 180 -190 lbs, now trying hard to stay under 260. I used to be able to lift around 300lbs. Worked in an auto body factory; did demolition and salvage; spent most of my life handling very heavy and large crated artworks, sculptures, display furniture. I both admire and hate big chunks of sculpted marble.

But, must go shovel some snow, then hopefully spend an hour or two scraping at a stick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the kind words everyone. Whiteroselad I understand at least some of what you're going through. I think the biggest part for me was the loss of income and pride because I was no longer able to work and support my family. That one hurt. My mind also keeps telling me I can do things that I'm just not physically able to anymore. I'm not 25 anymore either. That doesn't help. What was once quick and simple now takes time, effort, and thought to accomplish. I also really had to scale down the size of my projects.

One of my hobbies is restoring old woodworking machinery. It's the way I was able to put together a pretty good shop full of equipment that I would never have been able to afford new plus the quality of the old machines is better than most new stuff. My tablesaw is an early 1940s Walker-Turner. After I rebuilt it I was hooked. Even if I had the money I don't think I would buy new again. Cast iron is heavy though. I can no longer manhandle the pieces and machines like I could before. I'm glad I got most of my machines rebuilt before I became disabled.

Now old sewing machines fill my need to tinker. The scale is much more manageable. I got started with them because my daughter wanted to learn to sew and I needed to learn so I could teach her. It turns out I probably like sewing more than she does and the machines are fascinating. Sewing machines are also a cheap hobby. There's not a huge demand for old sewing machines at the moment.

I've scaled back the size of my woodworking projects too. Now I build stuff I can carry instead of things like cabinetry and furniture. Walking sticks are good because they're manageable. The sticks are also free and fun to collect. That doesn't hurt either.

I guess my point is that even though I can't do some of the things I used to do, there are other things I found that I can do. I think it's important to stay busy. After I learn to walk I may start looking for work again. This time though it's going to be something I want to do, I'm not going to settle for a job I hate just because it pays the bills.

Rodney
 

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Thanks for sharing Rodney, I'll be praying for your continued health. I started carving and sticks were always available. As of the last few years, they started becoming more necessary due to degenerating discs. Had to have something cool to use when putting a plate in the dishwasher put me in the floor. :)
 

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Rodney,

Thanks for sharing your life with us. As interesting as sticks are, it is the people behind them that are important. Best wishes for the journey that lies ahead.

Gordon
 

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Great thread, great stories thanks for sharing it.
 

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Thanks Rod. your message is a timely reminder for me. Melanoma is a major problem with us sun loving Aussies.

I'm at the beach most days in summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My wife has one lady she talks with in Australia that has it. My case is sort of unusual I think. I've worked outdoors my whole life but have never been a sun lover. I prefer the shade mostly. We do get some sun here but our reputation for rain is pretty well deserved. We certainly don't get as much sun as most places.

I'm actually starting to use just a cane around the house. I still use crutches if I'm going any distance but I'm slowly getting better at getting around. I'm thinking a 90 year old would get impatient following me though.

Rodney
 
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