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Super-Star: December 2013 Update

7 January 2014

Teenager Hannah Starling reached the 3m Springboard semi-final on her Olympic debut at London 2012 and the 3m final at the 2013 World Championships. She fills us in on her progress in the final month of 2013, finding a place to live with her British teammates in Leeds and coping with a disappointing setback.

Previously I was hoping the rollercoaster that is my life was leading into the nice calm after the death-defying 50m drop. Alas, that is not the case. Things seem to just keep happening.

After my decision to defer my place at University, I had to then find somewhere to live. I had soon realised that I didn't want to continue living in halls surrounded by the university scene.

From the mandatory trip to IKEA, Chris got a chest of drawers, Jack bought a toilet seat and I picked up a Swedish ginger bread house.My accommodation contract was to finish early December and I couldn't move back home as there was no space left for me. After asking around, I learned that Chris Mears had just made the decision to move up to Leeds and had a flat close to the pool, just around the corner from Jack Laugher. I asked, like any normal person would, and it so happened that he had a spare room. BINGO! I wanted to move as soon as possible and that meant the next week.

Therefore on 3 December, I packed up my room at university and drove it all down to South Leeds. Alicia Blagg was there to help me move the 3,000 tonne IKEA chest of drawers down four flights of stairs, across two car parks, up six floors and through some really awkward doors. It took so long and was such a disaster that we couldn't stop laughing!

Leaving halls was more upsetting than I thought it would be but I had to start a new chapter in my life (again). Of course, I am going to stay in contact with my uni friends. After all, they are just a 10 minute drive up the road!

Hannah Starling Diving Blog Christmas Three 2013Living in a flat was a weird change and it took a lot of getting used to going 'home' there every night. Chris wasn't moving to Leeds until January so I had it all to myself! I had missed having a sofa so much and all too soon became loyal to the three metre wide ball of comfort, parked in front of the TV.  My life was again settling into a good routine - one I hoped to last longer than the former ones, and so I was content.  Peace, at last.

At the end of the first week, my leg began to hurt, but things do hurt sometimes so I didn't think much of it. This time though, it got much worse very quickly and I stopped jumping on it to let it heal. I soon felt it was getting better and just to be sure, my physio referred me for a scan to rule out any major problems. I had my scan on the Monday just as Chris was moving half his stuff up and staying in Leeds for a while. Jack, Chris and I all took that mandatory trip to IKEA to buy things for the flat. Chris got a chest of drawers, Jack bought a toilet seat and I picked up a Swedish ginger bread house.

All the things I used to take for granted were suddenly such an effort.I returned home to a text message from Edwin, asking to see me. It was one of those 'immediately panic about anything one could have done wrong' moments, but thankfully this time I hadn't done anything wrong  – yay! Unfortunately it was bad news, the results from my scan had come through and I had an Oedema. Don't worry, I also had no idea what it was but I came to learn that it's basically a stress fracture caught early; the outcome being no pressure through my leg for at least two weeks. No walking, no driving, no diving and for me, no skiing at Christmas time. I was gutted. Absolutely gutted. 

Hannah Starling Exercise BikeI was given a boot and crutches to use instead of my foot, which I promptly decorated with tinsel so they felt all Christmassy! Life became really hard, both physically and mentally, and I gained a new found appreciation for having a fully working body. Although I know that I am merely scratching on the surface of any sort of physical disability, this has been such an eye opener for me. I now feel so much more for everyone who has to live with a disability.

All the things I used to take for granted were suddenly such an effort. Sitting down with a cup of tea became a 10 minute mission which involved sliding along the floor with a hot beverage and that's not to mention cooking a meal or taking a shower. It's quite ironic that just as I stop having too much work to do, I suddenly have all the time in the world to do it. I have relied on other people to get to the pool and back everyday and to take me shopping for my groceries. Being such an independent person this was really weird for me!

Hannah Starling Diver Ski HolidaySo here I am, sat alone in an apartment on Boxing Day, waiting for my family to return after a good day of skiing.

I have had two weeks on my crutches so far and now I am allowed to start putting little bits of pressure on my foot. I stood up on both feet yesterday!

I am not sure how long I am not allowed to walk for but my guitar skills are increasing rather quickly since I have nothing better to do.

I really do wish I could go skiing right now but out of all the wishes in the world, mine isn't the most important.

I hope that soon I will be able to write a blog that just goes 'yeah I'm still good' and includes my favourite kind of cheese. But for now, we'll have to wait and see.

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