Nathan Maher is getting his "running legs" soon. When he does, he'll start working on his goal to run a marathon.
The 40-year-old accountant from Stirling had both legs amputated in Canberra in 2015 after contracting a life-threatening form of meningitis, and then the bone infection osteomyelitis in a Sydney hospital.
He uses prosthetic legs for walking and playing golf. The new legs will be for running.
"It's going to be painful, I know that. I don't care. I want to run again," he said.
"I'm determined to run again. I figure that's all I need, sheer will."
Nathan has spent the last four years working on his physical and mental health and looking forward, not back. He is embracing life.
"I've tried to stop having any regret in my life whatsoever," he said.
"It's a process. I can't put the genie back in the bottle. I was depressed when I first got home, only for about six months. Then I started seeing a psychologist."
Nathan is regaining control of his life, thanks also to funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and its connections to broader help in the community. He has had funding for modifications to his home and new fitness equipment as well as a personal trainer and support workers who assist him with daily tasks.
"I didn't know anything about disability services, I didn't have any disabled friends or family. I didn't know what was out there. That's where [provider] Feros Care and the NDIS work so well. They've got a Rolodex of everyone in the community and can connect you to them," he said.
His story fits in with new data from National Disability Insurance Agency which found joining the NDIS had opened up the lives of many adult participants aged 25 years and over to greater social, community and civic participation.
Nathan's story is of getting to that point is one of true grit.
In 2014, thinking he had pneumonia, Nathan was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. Within hours of arriving at hospital, Nathan's family were told he wasn't expected to make it through the night.
He was placed in an induced coma for seven weeks. When he did wake up, against all odds, he had no memory.
"I knew mum, my tax file number and my bank account number and that was it," he said.
Originally from the eastern beaches of Sydney, Nathan, then 35, spent seven months in a Sydney hospital, weak and his weight falling to just 44 kilos. But alive.
Then, when he was four days from being discharged, Nathan was put into a room with another patient with meningitis, who "had just had surgery and wasn't meant to be contagious".
"Turns out he was. And next thing, I know, at 2am, I'm getting half my right foot chopped off, under emergency surgery," he said.
He was then diagnosed with osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone, "which basically turns your bones to chalk". His family had him transferred to the Canberra Hospital, because his sister lived in the national capital and they wanted him out of the Sydney hospital. Nathan says it was in Canberra his care started to improve.
"I had more tests in six weeks in Canberra than I'd ever had in Sydney. The orthopaedic surgeon told me, 'You've been walking on broken legs for three months. We can't save them'. In Sydney, they said they couldn't treat the osteomyelitis. Here, it took them three weeks to stop the infection," he said.
Nathan's legs were amputated in the Canberra Hospital in July, 2015. Before his life-changing illnesses, he'd never been sick before. His was active, did triathlons on the weekends. He had a happy life.
He's determined to regain that. He takes great joy from his relationship with his niece, Georgina, 8, and Ben, 5. He is looking to start golf clinics for young people at the Federal Golf Club. He does wheelchair races. He became overweight, initially, not being able to move like he did before. He lost 65 kilos in the process.
As is the way with Canberra, champion marathon runner Steve Moneghetti saw Nathan training, pushing himself in his wheelchair along Bunbury Street, near Moneghetti's house. Moneghetti spoke to Nathan and eventually put him in touch with wheelchair Paralympian Kurt Fearnley, who has become a mentor.
Nathan walks on his prosthetic legs every day, even though they are painful.
"The biggest problem I have had is pain," he said.
"It is getting under control. I've finally got a pretty good group of doctors around me that seem to have a vested interest in whether I have a race or a marathon. They love it. I'll be lifting weights, something I though I'd never do. I'll email them a video and they're like, 'fantastic'. That also makes me feel good about the future."