By Lucy Wilson
Former civil engineer and construction worker Mark remembers the moment he met his newly amputated arm.
“I remember waking up on the ward feeling good,” he says. “I looked down and saw my bandaged stump and seeing all the intravenous tubes going in my body – realising that there was no more pain.”
Over 19 years ago, Mark Whitehead broke his collarbone and over time – without knowing – his bone had crushed an artery, causing an aortic aneurysm. In January, after three months’ preparation, Mark had his right arm amputated due to the severe blood clotting.
“Life does go on.”
“I had to tell myself that life does go on – I like to say that I was given a second chance.”
Mark, who’s from Mosborough, will undergo dangerous surgery to remove and rebuild his artery. “I am nervous,” he says, “but I am hopeful that everything will go well.”
Since having his arm amputated, Mark has adapted well to daily life, “I’m starting to overcome daily tasks better,” he says. “It’s easier than I thought that it would be.” But it’s not only the physical side of things that Mark has to get used to. “It’s affected my life self-consciously. In crowded places, it does really affect me,” he says. “I get a little anxious, knowing that I have to deal with people’s stares and pointing.”
Mark has been a dedicated fundraiser before and after his amputation, raising funds for Children with Cancer UK, Cancer Research, and HARC. “A lot of my spare time is spent doing charity work. I recently did a 75-mile walk around Sheffield with my dog, Bear.” Mark says. “I thrive on it, I really do.”
In the future, Mark hopes to receive a bionic ‘i-limb‘ arm, which will allow him to do things he has been restricted to do.
“I’m looking forward to playing my guitar again,” he says. “I’m excited about giving someone a proper cuddle again or to simply clap.”
Well, Mark may have lost his right arm but he hasn’t lost his sense of humour, “You can get away with telling children to eat their greens otherwise their arm will fall off!”
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