For Stuart Robinson the chance to spend Christmas at home with his family has been a blessing.
Just ten months ago, Cpl Stuart Robinson almost died when his armoured vehicle was hit by a Taliban bomb.
The married dad-of-one was in the front left seat and took the full force of the blast.
His horrific injuries from Afghanistan included 18 spine fractures, broken pelvis, burst bladder, lower leg amputation plus a broken arm, jaw, shoulder blades and ribs.
Stuart, 31, from Morecambe, who has since had both legs amputated, has stunned doctors with his recovery and is already learning how to walk again.
Stuart, who was one of three servicemen nominated for a Millie, The Sun’s military awards, said: “I remember nothing of the event. I woke up in Birmingham in mid-March after being put in an induced coma in February.
“My wife Amy told me what had happened but everything is a bit hazy.
“I knew my remaining leg was in a bad way and it would have been 18 months until I could even stand on it.
“At the time I said I wasn’t going to lose another leg but it made sense to have it amputated.
“I had to come to terms with it and it was my leg at the end of the day but it meant my rehab started a lot quicker.
“I was in hospital for eight weeks and then the rehabilitation started
“It was a big shock because they are reliant on you. I couldn’t brush my teeth or shave.
“After two and a half months I stood up for the first time alone.”
Stuart was fitted with a mechanical leg with a special knee which can adjust to the ground and the gradient of a surface. Stuart said: “The first time I walked was May 30. I had been laid down for so long it was difficult to be back at that height.
“It was a very good feeling to be straight up again.”
Amy said: “I cried in the middle of Next when I saw the picture and video of Stuart walking.”
Stuart can walk a short way with a cane now and is working his way towards walking freely which he has focused his mind to do.
Amy said: “It’s the little milestones to reach. Eight months after the accident we went to Thailand on holiday. We haven’t found anything we can’t do, we make things work for Stuart and me.”
Although still in the RAF, Stuart is discussing a date to leave.
Amy is also planning to leave her job in the RAF as an ICT technician in July 2014.
Amy said: “In the long term we planned to move back home anyway but the accident has brought everything round a lot quicker.
“Our relationship hasn’t changed, what Stuart does for me and how we support each other.
“Stuart is not his legs, not flesh, its what’s inside that counts, it is still Stuart. A lot of people are worse off with mental traumaand lose who they were. Stuart woke up his normal self and he just accepts everything.”
Stuart said: “At the end of the day we were in Afghanistan. I was just unlucky. It was my decision to go the route we chose and it wasn’t obvious there was an IED there because it was buried. Blame is a waste of energy.”
Stuart was one of three servicemen nominated in The Sun’s Millie awards in the category of overcoming adversity dcategory. The couple attended the awards ceremony and it was an emotional night for both of them.
Triple amputee Cpl Josh Boggi won the category.
Amy said: “It was the most surreal night of my life. Stuart was sat with Holly Willoughby and Ed Miliband was on our table.
“One of the nurses that treated Stuart won an award for best sailor for her work as a nurse. A little boy was interviewed whose dad had died in Afghanistan. We were close to that situation.” Looking to the future, Amy said: “Our future has not changed, it’s been brought forward. I’m giving up the air force in July and want to do my nursing degree at university but that will be in another 18 months to give Stuart more time to recover.”
Stuart, who has spent 14 years in the RAF, is ready to leave. He said: “I’m going for the Troops to teachers scheme and I have already had some instructing experience so it’s sowmething I’m looking towards.
“I still have to have another operation on my left leg on top of the 10 operations I have already had. I know my pain level and within time I’ll get back to the way I was. I’ve just got to get on with it and not let it get me down.”
Amy said: “Stuart says there is no point feeling sorry for himself, he says ‘it’s man up and get on with it.’
“We know we were lucky because Stuart is still here with us now and has defied all odds.
“We just have to grasp life and get on with it.”