My name is Zac Pomeroy, and I am a 21 year old male of the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. My story begins on Christmas Eve 2011, when, as an early Christmas present, I was emailed by the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) notifying me that as of March 2012 I would be joining 19 other students in the VCA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts, specialising in Musical Theatre.As 2012 started, I was living my dream as a full time performer and professional dancer, spending in total approximately 40 hours a week studying music theatre at the VCA, and working as a professional dancer and teacher in my spare time. I pushed myself constantly, working as hard as I could to be the best I possibly could be, and to achieve my full potential. This was ultimately part of my downfall.
Halfway through Semester 1 I started to get niggling pain through both of my lower legs. I just wrote the pain off as nothing - a bit of muscular pain from pushing myself too hard, so I kept pushing through and working harder and harder. Eventually the pain in my lower legs got to the point where I was unable to walk after a dance class, and experiencing severe weakness when trying to do turns, jumps, tricks etc. in routines and classes. After dealing with this for weeks on end I decided to go and see the physiotherapist associated with the VCA. It took a lot of appointments for him to figure out what was wrong with me, and even then diagnosis was above his abilities. Once that was established, the physio sent me to a very reputable sports specialist in Frankston. I was sent for a whole heap of tests which finally gave me a diagnosis: Bilateral Functional Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome (fPAES) & Bilateral Anterior & Deep Posterior Chronic Exhertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS).
Bilateral Functional Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome (fPAES) essentially means that the muscles in my lower legs (Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Hamstrings etc.) are so big that when the muscles are used they squish the popliteal artery and veins - completely stopping the circulation reaching any part of my legs from the knees down. This means that as soon as I stand or walk there is minimal (if any) blood and oxygen reaching the muscles in my legs and feet. Because of this my standing ability is below 2 minutes, and walking ability is below 100 metres without rest. These conditions have completely limited my ability to study, work, socialise, and practically stops my ability to look after myself without help from my parents every single day. Whenever I stand or walk I am in 10/10 pain, which if i was to describe it, would feel like someone is shaving off slivers of muscle with a blunt butchers knife. Due to having these conditions for so long I have acquired something akin to Complex Regional Chronic Pain Syndrome whereby I am in constant chronic pain 24/7. It is the last thing I feel before I fall to sleep, and the first thing that wakes me up in the morning. If I was to describe this chronic pain, it would feel like growing pains from the knees down but at an 8/10 level. I must say that, to give perspective to the pain, I was dancing with severe stress fractures in my shins for months, which just felt like muscular pain, and was a 1/10 if that.
So far I have had 5 surgeries on my legs, with a number of different surgeons, yet none of them being successful. The only outcome I have had from surgery is severe scarring, an increase in chronic pain, and more and more of my movement and ability to look after myself being extremely limited. It got to the point where every surgeon I had contacted was not willing and did not have the experience to fix me, to every surgeon I was talking to I was a medical mystery and was told to go home and learn to live with the pain, conditions, and everything else associated.
I have finally now been given a glimmer of hope by a Mr William (Bill) Campbell who believes that he quite possibly may be able to fix this long lasting condition that none of you remember the name of! That's amazing I hear you say? WELL as with everything that is good with the world, it comes at a price, a price currently estimated at $15,000 per leg. That's $30,000 to be finally given the chance for a future, folks. Wowza. So, this is where you guys come in! I am currently taking donations from any of the kind souls reading this who would like to help me reach my target, and possibly give me a future. $30,000 is just the target solely for surgery, further money will need to be raised for rehabilitation, medical bills, disability equipment etc. so that I am able to fully recover and hopefully enter the world again as a healthy, working and studying adult, who is able to follow my dreams and have the world at my doorstep.
With such a big target every little bit counts! I thank every single one of you in advance for all your help, past, present, and future. If you could share this page and my story with anyone that may be interested in helping that would be fantastic!
Thank-you all xx