IN 2015, Victoria Cairns went for what she hoped would be a quick operation to treat her irregular heartbeat.

She was left with a spinal cord injury which means she is completely unable to walk.

Wheelchair-bound at the age of 69, she has spent the past four years learning what it is like to be disabled.

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Now she has turned her experience into a book which has helped her come to terms with disability, and which she hopes might help others.

A former academic in the field of psychiatry, she has drawn on her years of experience to focus on how people can stay positive in the face of life-changing adversity.

She explained: "In January 2015 I had an operation for an irregular heart beat that resulted in a series of complications, and which has left me with a spinal cord injury and unable to walk.

“Soon after I came home, after having spent nearly eight months in hospital, I decided to write a book on how I was coping with being disabled.

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“Writing the book has helped me to focus on key topics: it is based on my experience in becoming disabled, and it contains a mix of psychological information and scientific evidence."

Having previously worked at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London and the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich in the late 1970s, Mrs Cairns then worked for more than 30 years in Oxford as a medical statistician until she caught Lyme disease.

She now believes this may been the cause of her later needing the operation which had such devastating consequences and led to her becoming disabled.

However in her book, Dealing with Disability, Mrs Cairns said she wanted to give people advice for dealing with the troubles of life and gaining acceptance of what cannot be changed.

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She specifically discusses how to avoid negative thoughts and develop perseverance, as well as how to move on from trauma and let go of ‘anger, blame and regret’.

As well as using her own experiences of becoming disabled, Mrs Cairns said she was keen to use her scientific background to include psychological information and practical advice to deal with disability, including useful strategies, exercises, treatments and devices.

She added: “I have used my own experience and knowledge of the medical literature to write what I could, in the hope that it would provide some help for others in a similar situation.”

Dealing with Disability, published by Troubador, is available in paperback, £8.99, or ebook, £4.99, at