As Lee puts it, dental operations are no ones idea of fun, but his trip to a military dentist is where his story starts. A temporary filling had been accidently left in a tooth and forgotten about for years. It began to decay and one day, after giving a career brief in a school to young adults, Lee collapsed. The tooth had come so badly infected he was left with a bacterial infection which affected an area dangerously close to his brain.
That’s where Lee’s life changed
Before this moment Lee had served for 15 years in the RAF, and in thie time posted to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Belgium, Afghanistan, Falkland Islands and various other locations. He had reached the rank of Sergeant, before being medically discharged and “stopped in my tracks doing a job I loved. My world fell apart, my future was uncertain and I had a huge battle in front of me, unbeknown at the time”.
During the extraction of the tooth in question, Lee was left with a dislocated jaw, ripped jaw muscles and a condition called Temporomadibular Joint Disorder (TMD). 5 years on, he’s still struggling. We asked Lee a few quick-fire questions, as we like to do with our tribe, so he can share his story to inspire others.
As we’re at the London Bike Show again this year, it seemed fitting to wedge in a few bike-related questions too…
In 5 words, describe yourself
Caring, friendly, outgoing, sensitive, loyal
What sports/fitness keep you going?
I struggle to do a lot of things with my condition so I tend to stick to mountain biking and hillwalking
Best MTB trail?
(This question is partly for my own benefit, but I hope will inspire the rest of our biker tribe!)
Chutney, Balfour Forest on the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains. It has everything you could ever ask for in 3-4 minutes of madness. Away from home probably the 601 Trail from the top of Mt Altissimo to Torbole in Lake Garda. No words for the length of this bad boy. It literally can take all afternoon and finishes by the sea in a beach bar. It a 50km descent which starts on a boulder field and hours later is going through narrow passages and alleys. Pure adrenaline and somewhere I would love to go back to.
You’re booked onto a tandem tour around Europe, who’d be your tandem partner?
Steph Thomson. She is super security conscious so I reckon our tandem and cash would be safe for the duration
Describe a day in the life of Lee before the operation?
I was approaching 15 years in the RAF and was working as a motivational speaker on an outreach team based in Liverpool, but servicing the whole of North West England. We helped youngsters with teamwork, confidence, communication & trust in over 170 schools and colleges. I was in a school in Chorley doing a presentation the day everything went downhill
And a day in the life of Lee 1 year ago?
Probably walking my two cockapoos and praying for a reduction in pain
And this very moment?
I have recently had an operation on my jaw and am armed with my CBD from the Tonic Tribe so I am in the best place I have been in the last 7 years.
It you weren’t in the RAF, what job would you see yourself doing?
Working with bikes for sure, or helping disengaged youngsters to reach their true potential.
Becoming a qualified pilot with Help for Heroes
Losing my Job in the RAF due to my condition.
Who/What turned you on to the Tonic?
Andy Mckenna. He’s just ace isn’t he. (You can read our blog on inspirational and impressive Andy McKenna here)
What’s your Tonic of choice and why?
3%. It’s got some crazy shiz going on and is a 20ml bottle so I feel like I am getting more
How has CBD affected your life/health/wellbeing?
It has a very good way of keeping your outlook positive, even though it might be looking quite bad. A great leveller I would say. It also helps a lot with pain.
What are your other go-to health and wellbeing products?
What are your top tips for other men and women looking to try CBD?
Pick up the phone, speak to the Kate or Michelle and experience customer service that is literally unrivalled. I have told so many of my friends about it and so many are benefitting where pharmaceutical drugs were failing them.
What’s your best bit of advice to anyone dealing with chronic pain?
I would like to say ‘don’t give up’ or use a cliche, but it’s no walk in the park and you will know that already. What I would say is talk and that includes me. If anyone out there is on the edge talk to someone, even if it’s not about pain but just chatting about random stuff. It’s what has kept me going. Also, try and get some CBD and give it a try, you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years time?
Hopefully riding a bike somewhere warm, with a pain reduction and not far away from a gelato, beer or pizza.
Lee with his most recent surgeon in Mexico. Getting there slowly, but surely