One Year On.

Owen Zupp
One Year On.

It’s both difficult to believe and somewhat unpleasant to recall that one year ago I was on the operating table undergoing major surgery. Now I am back training to fly once again.

As I reflect upon the past 12 months, I prefer not to revisit the memory of waking up in ICU or the post-surgery infirmity. The helplessness of needing aid for the most fundamental tasks of life and the challenge of those first steps. Far more pleasant is the recollection of conquering the numerous goals that were set for me. They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. For me, the jury is out on that one but it sure alters one’s perspective on life.

A year ago, so many questions surrounded me. Would I be able to recover fully? Would I still be able to be the active dad that I always strived to be? Would I be able to run?  Would I ever fly again? So much uncertainty and so few answers. As my body began to heal, it became increasingly apparent that my mind was where the greatest challenge existed.

I had a measurable schedule of rehabilitation to aid my body in its recovery which balanced activity and rest. But the mind never has downtime. It is prone to suffer from impatience, incessant questioning and self doubt. However, I was extremely fortunate. I had been raised to never take a backward step and confront challenges head on. Now, I had the support of an amazing wife, family and friends to execute my recovery. I had no excuses.

Owen and Kirrily Zupp.

That is not to say that it was easy. As I pushed my physical limits, there were steep hills and milestones that almost beat me – almost. At times life isn’t pretty and we just have to grit our teeth and “win ugly”. In doing so, the good times will return.

As I strapped into the Boeing 787 flight simulator for the first time last week, I felt that I had gone full circle – even better. I am probably fitter and stronger than I have been for some time. Each time that I exercise I am thankful for the ability to do so and cherish the fact that my active life has returned.

It’s been a year and what a year. Perhaps they are right – What doesn’t kill you does make you stronger.

Qantas Boeing 787 Simulator Owen Zupp