Date of Surgery: 10/31/2020
Update (9/2021): Nigel has returned to his career as a mountain guide.
From a young age I have loved being amongst the mountains and my desire was to find a way to make the mountains my life. I’ve been a fully qualified mountain guide since 1979 and have worked all over the world in all seasons. I lived in New Zealand for two and half years and spent twelve years living near the foot of Mt Blanc running a chalet and mountain guiding business. I have clients who have shared mountain adventures with me for many years – one group for almost 35 years!
I have been involved in training and assessing of Mountain Guides and have worked tirelessly for my home association the British Association of Mountain Guides in turn members of the IFMGA. I have been Training Director, President and am currently Chair of the Professional Standards Committee.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
My chosen way of life has taken a toll on various bits of my body but in latter years the deterioration in my knees caused considerable discomfort. I’m not yet ready to retire from the mountains and in 2019 I had one knee replaced. It was so successful that I decided it would be good to have the other knee sorted too and look forward to a pain free final few years of Mountain Guiding.
A colleague had benefitted from support with a new hip and suggested I should apply to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation for assistance. I honestly thought that I’d be too old to be worthy but from the outset I found my dealings with the Foundation nothing short of helpful, supportive and encouraging. As Mountain Guides our riches are the shared experiences with our clients and friends among the wild and beautiful places we visit – monetary wealth is secondary and surgery is expensive.
The Covid 19 pandemic struck just a week or two after my approval for support came through and the original date for surgery was postponed. Eventually I had my knee replacement on October 31, 2020. I had a pretty good idea from my first knee replacement how rehab needed to go – get moving asap, plenty of physio, regular visits to the gym and get out on my mountain bike as soon as possible. Unfortunately the gyms closed in December and have only just re-opened but now I’m there three times a week at least. The help with physiotherapy as part of the Kees B Foundation support turned out to be crucial to recovery this time around and the gradual easing of restrictions meant I could get out and about to walk in the hills and climb. After six months I’m happy to do all those things I am used to doing, slightly less flexible than I once was but nonetheless confident. I’d definitely ski if I could but that will have to wait until next winter season now.
"I’ll begin working in the mountains again this summer – free of knee pain and able to concentrate on enjoying the mountains without distraction. I’d like to keep working into my early 70’s and the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has given me that lifeline for which I’ll be eternally grateful. "
- Nigel Shepherd