After revealing that he had been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder in 2020, swimming legend Michael Klim has opened up about remaining “upbeat and pretty positive” despite the challenges of his condition.
Klim was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), which according to the Brain Foundation “is a neurological disorder that results in slowly progressive weakness and loss of feeling in the legs and arms”.
The former Olympian took to his blog in July 2022, where he opened up about his experience with the condition while revealing that he had been diagnosed after “dealing with chronic ankle problems and degenerative back issues for quite some time”.
He made the admission in an effort to raise awareness for those impacted by the condition.
“Over two years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) which is a neurological disorder condition that targets your body’s nerves, especially the areas of the arms, hands, legs, and feet,” he revealed.
“Symptoms aren’t the same for everyone but in my case, it has affected my legs and feet.”
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In a recent interview on Sunrise, Klim addressed the challenges he has faced in the years since his diagnosis.
“It has obviously been a challenging three or four years since the diagnosis, but I think I have accepted what I’ve got and I’m trying to make the most of it,” Klim said.
“I have a great support crew, obviously my family, my partner Michelle, and it does take more than one person to get through this and it has been pretty challenging but I am upbeat and pretty positive.”
The 45-year-old has recently returned to the gym in an effort to help his body cope with the condition, stating “I am focusing on the things I can do rather than the things I can’t.”
“A lot of people have come up to me and said ‘Oh you’re an Olympian you’re mentally super tough’ but for me, the physical change has been so huge, it is hard to fathom,” Klim said.
“I can’t even stand on one leg at the moment, so it’s really basic … Understanding that, that is my norm, and I have to slowly build up from that.”
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Klim had previously told Sunrise that despite the last three years being “very up and down”, he remains determined to “keep fighting” as he holds onto the hope that one day a cure will be found.
“I’ve had an enormous amount of support from the Australian public and my swimming community just to get through this, so I’ll keep fighting and hopefully we can find a cure one day,” Klim said.
“Hopefully we can put all our heads together, maybe there are certain treatments outside the realm we’re thinking of.
“Maybe there’s future treatments that we can implement and…. we can knock it off.”