My journey as the UK's first deafblind Medical Student / Lifestyle Medicine / Creating a brighter future for others
Hello! I am Alexandra Elaine and welcome to my blog site ‘Setting Sights’. It has taken me a very long while to finally establish a base to share all these stories and updates, but with the loving encouragement of many friends and family (who often refer to me as the real-life Bridget Jones) I have plucked up the motivation to finally get it on here and progress with a few exciting things. I admit the rather bland setup of this site doesn’t truly reflect the ride of blog content yet to come, but I promise that everything I write here has a meaning, motivation and reason behind it.
We all have reasons and motivations for following certain blogs and bloggers, so perhaps it’s best I first share a bit more about me! I am a young, adventurously ambitious female, mid-20’s, with many hopes and dreams. I am a medical student, studying to become one of next generation’s empathetic, whole-heartedly serving doctors. Often pondering over career prospects, love, life, the next food craze, and good people, I am no more ordinary than anyone else. I am an avid solo traveller, public speaker, writer, published poet, artist, ex-GB swimmer and skier. I am also disabled. I am deaf-blind and have a long-term physical disability of the muscles, affecting a multiple-organ system, often leading me to face the hills and troughs of life and death simultaneously each year. One day, I will gradually lose my sight, so I yearn to see and experience the world before it all goes blind. Through all this, I somehow still face the secret discrimination still overwhelming our modern day society, every single day, so I feel it is my job to fight this and make the world a better place for others!
Each morning, I remind myself how lucky we all are, not in the most obvious terms, but to have the capacity to appreciate the emotive, fulfilling, sometimes fragmented, opportunities, disappointments and devastations alike, that one day in a life continuously feeds us. As a teenager, I spent life as a full-time athlete, training for Parlaympic participation in London 2012. This is all fell apart after a year of many stomach surgeries, bedbound in hospital for more than a year, and having to restart education altogether. That era was over, and onto another.
My next challenge was to build my strength back up and chase my dream of becoming a doctor and practicing medicine, hence application to medical school was the next phase to begin. Fact is, I love people. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons why I am studying the field of healthcare – the science of people and the people of science. Behind every crease of a smile, every smile of a crease, there is an untold story of joy and suffering in every single one of us, and that is what makes the clockworks of humanity so complexly fascinating.
After numerous counts of facing discrimination and exclusion due to my disabilities alone, a spontaneous gap year of traveling the world blind and solo, to gather headspace and a top-up of determination fuel, I finally managed to get into medical school, where I am now a 3rd year, and halfway to becoming a doctor!
But the drama hasn’t stopped there. Discrimination is still very much rife within medical school, particularly now that I am on the wards and clinics of the local hospitals. My strength and stamina through being a ski-racer has recently dwindled, following a diagnosis of a progressive muscle disorder. 10 admissions to ITU and a few too many near-death admissions I am now having to re-evaluate life and reconsider my priorities and my own well-being. I still have an avid and desperate taste for the world beyond, but am taking things a little more slowly now than usual, that’s all. And I hope that by following and adopting good wellbeing and lots of positivity I can do this!
Through these blogs, I hence aim to inspire, guide and comfort my readers through all these stories – through health and wellbeing, justice, positivity and old medicinal motivation. Feel free to laugh, (at or with), cry, fear, rage, smile, or both. If you want to find out more, need advice or words of wisdom, or would like a public speaker at one of your events, please feel free to get in touch. In the meantime, thanks for reading my bio and hope you enjoy following my story. Have a nice day!