What we do / Our Stories / Lisa Johnston

Lisa Johnston

Categories: Invictus Games 2020 Athletes

After a routine PT session in 2014 resulted in injury and consequently the development and diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, former Army Corporal Lisa, 39 from Doncaster, was living in constant pain.

Life was difficult and Lisa describes how for two years she was an “irritable zombie".

“The meds made my mind fuzzy. I couldn’t sleep due to the pain and I was horrible to be around. I wasn’t living, I was existing.”

Lisa struggled to do basic things like hugging her children due to the fear of being hurt by them. Months of treatment and living in hope went by but nothing seemed to make a difference. The next step was amputation. Whilst the operation gave Lisa the opportunity to hug her kids again, life was difficult, and her confidence was affected.

“My fitness dropped. I stopped going out as people stared at me, I felt I had no purpose and lost all motivation. My boys asked if I could play with them. I had to keep saying no as I was out of breath. Eventually they stopped asking. I felt so guilty that I thought enough was enough. I joined my local gym and took part in an aerobics class for the elderly. I loved it. Soon I needed something a bit more intense and I just couldn't get enough. I really do feel that it gave me a purpose again. Not long after I received an email about Invictus, I jumped at the chance to take part.

“Sport and daily exercise has slowly given me my confidence back. I feel less anxious in public when people stare at me and my boys love their new 'active' Mummy.”

Lisa describes the last couple of years as a “rollercoaster”. With gyms closing and the challenge of home schooling, she said it was “a nightmare”.

But now, Lisa is back in the gym and loving every minute of it. “Taking part in the Invictus Games in 2022 I feel is the next big chapter in my recovery pathway. It also shows my children that by trying my hardest to do the best I can, even as an amputee, that no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome it. With hard work and determination, kindness, compassion and understanding, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. Most of all, I want my children to be proud of me."