On 18 February last year, father-of-three, 26-year-old Glenn Dickson was brutally savaged by a 3.5 metre Bull shark.
He almost died six times from massive blood loss and shock. Glenn says it was the love of his family, partner Jessie-Lee, and his kids Reef and Lylah that pulled him back from the brink.
Now on the road to recovery, Glenn shares his incredible journey.
"I could feel the pressure of its jaws"
We were spear fishing near Eva rock, Hinchinbrook Island, south of Cairns, in Far North Queensland when the shark attacked, I thought for a microsecond it was one of the boys mucking around, tapping me on my leg. But then I was violently thrown around like I was in a washing machine. I couldn't see the shark, but I could feel the pressure of its jaws ripping and shredding my leg.
After the first attack the shark came back for more, news.com.au reported.
At one point the shark let go, and my survival instincts kicked in. I tried to swim towards the rock, there was so much blood, it was like a sea of red. I knew I was in big trouble. Sharks can go into a frenzy, he'd be back to have another go, probably bringing some of his mates with him.
I'd just reached the rock, and I felt a tug, tug, tug on the same leg. Then I saw him, his jaws were as wide as my shoulders. The nerves were gone so there was no pain – then he just stopped.
The boys were 10 metres away in the boat, but I couldn't call out. It was like a kid's nightmare, when they wake up in the middle of the night and try to scream, but nothing comes out. Rick spotted me and said when they pulled me into the boat I was ghost white, but smiling. That's because I knew I wasn't alone in the water anymore.
My mate Rick saved my life
He's a master diver in the American marines, he saw the damage, and swung into professional mode, applying tourniquets to what was left of my leg.
He resussed me four times on the boat. I remember him punching me in the chest, and saying, "you've got to go back to your family mate, you are not dying today."
One pinnacle moment when I first died, I remember feeling so cold, I couldn't move. I saw a bright white light, it felt comforting like a hug, I was so tired. Then my fighter senses kicked in and I saw my beautiful wife and my children's faces. It felt like I was in my fifth round of a fight, and it wasn't time to go. I chose to fight on.
My physical fitness helped me to survive. I'm a professional fighter, and my coordination and physical strength has definitely helped with my recovery.
But after the initial attack, it was hard. I grieved the loss of my leg. I have less than half of my upper right femur left. Life as I knew it would have to change, and I had to regroup and get my head on straight. For me it had to be ... what am I going to do now? Not, what can't I do?
As a parent, my life has changed
Jessie-Lee took on the brunt of parenting at first while I was recovering. She kept the family together; she's my rock.
I love being a dad. We now have three kids - Aurora was born three months after the attack. We also got married a couple of weeks ago.
My kids have little individual characters; I really enjoy the special dad moments I share with each of them. My two girls are very cuddly, caring and boisterous; my son Reef loves fishing, and kickboxing like his dad.
If anything good was to come out of all this, any silver lining, it would be having more time with my kids. I'm home a lot more, and it's created an even closer bond between us, and a better understanding of each other.
At first physically, I couldn't do as much with them, but I'm getting better on my prosthetic, I'm getting stronger and fitter. I can't walk up steep hills, but we still go to the beach and the park together as a family.
I got back into the water four months later
I didn't think too much getting back in. Yep, it was pretty nerve-wracking but, it was a bit like a Band-aid. Once you rip it off, you're all good to heal up and move forward.
This experience has definitely taught me not to stress about the small things in life – life is short. I take every moment in a positive way.
Life's busy for us. I'm starting my own business, Survivor Fitness and Kick Boxing, and I plan to open in a few months. I've got a few financial and council things to sort out, but after what we've been through, nothing will stop us.
I would like to pass on my regards to recent Whitsunday shark attack survivors, Hannah Papps and Justine Barwick, and to the family of Laeticia Brouwer, I'm thinking of them. Any support I can offer, I'm here for them.