I used to have great empathy, sympathy, and even a bit of understanding of clients who chose not to do their homework…. I have a hard time understanding now and maybe that's partially why I feel like I could never return to what I used to do. I was once a passionate Registered Massage Therapist. I once had all the patience in the world for people who were ill, diagnosed with a disease, cancer, or in pain. I loved what I did. I loved helping facilitate healing and learning opportunities.... Then my world and perspective changed in two seconds. That's all it took to change me forever.
I will give a disclaimer right here. I may offend. At times I may sound like I am being rude. I may even upset you. I can no longer be unbiased because of what I lived through and experiencing living life as a client striving for recovery. I no longer have an active practice for massage… In fact… I am on disability right now living with the uncertainty of what I will be able to do in the future… It is a frustrating and at times an infuriating position to be in. I absolutely thrived and loved what I used to do.
February 3 2018… A day that is hardly remembered by me, yet I will never forget. I was involved in a highway speed, head-on collision. The on coming driver for whatever reason crossed the middle lane. The accident instantly killed my youngest four year old little girl Marley. My injuries were critical, five days later and three surgeries later I woke to a body that did not feel like mine… From my right femorial head right down to my toes was considered shattered. I had metal rods placed in all my long bones except my left tibia, I had a metal plate instead. My right femorial head was almost split in half which needed a permanent bilateral plate reattaching the femorial neck. Multiple Compound fractures, both femurs were complete multiple breaks, multiple breaks in both tibias, both fibulas were shattered. Metal plates, screws and pins in the ankles and foot. I also broke a rib which bruised the kidneys and the lower intestine. My right forearm was de-gloved as well as my thumb. All the nerves had been damaged. I was so out of it from the injuries, trauma and lets be honest very good drugs that I often argued with family, nurses and doctors stating that I would be walking again in six weeks. I had clients with knee replacements and hip replacements that were just fine after that. In my mind I was thinking “Its broken bones. I knew my anatomy. It takes 6 weeks for a bone to heal. I’m not dumb”.
With my education, I knew that the human body heals best in motion. To live a sedentary life meant that the body would heal slower, be prone to dis-ease and deteriorate. I knew I needed to start moving somehow.
After the first week I surprised everyone by saying yes when I was asked if I wanted to try and get into a wheel chair. The pain in my chest from the impact of the air bag and broken rib was excruciating as I tried to help push my upper body up off the bed. It took six people to move me that day. All the while, I talked to myself. Its ok. Its not causing more harm. I can do this.” I was 150lbs at the time of the accident and probably more with all the swelling and casting I had on both my legs. Had I not had an upper body strength dominate career, had I been over weight I know I would not have been able to start moving like I did. Every day I pushed myself to move a little. Bed to chair transfers. Bed to commode transfers and vice versa. I was supposed to stay in trauma for three months until I could begin weight bearing on my legs. I was transferred to the Glenrose after one month! My upper body was strong enough to transfer with only three people.
In total I spent five months in the hospital from the beginning to end. According to beginning projections I should have been in the hospital for nine months. I spent three months after that living with family as I could not live on my own independently. When I was ready to make the transition of living on my own, I wouldn’t consider myself to be independent, I still needed help with meals as I could not stand long enough. I could not clean my own house. What I could do was drive short distances and go up and down stairs using my cane very slowly and very painfully.
Throughout my recovery while in the hospital or on my own I always pushed myself to do more than what was expected. I advocated to receive upper body occupational therapy because I knew the stronger my upper body was the longer I could hold my self up when it came to me standing for the first time and taking those first steps. I actively worked to get off as safely and as fast as I could many of the meds I was on so I could reestablish mind to body connection. Once released, I did physio for the first 3 months five times a week. When not in physio I was practicing constantly what they wanted me to do. Now, a year and a half later I still play an active role in my recovery. I do yoga two to four times a week. Not for the mental health, but the restorative healing, strength and balance it provides. I do Physiotherapy one to two times a week. I saught out a rehabilitation TRX trainer that I see two times a week. I have also implemented all the treatments I know that can help me surpass expectations. Shockwave/Flashwave, acupuncture, massage and chiropractic. If I had not taken an active role in my recovery. If I had not pushed myself even though it was excruciating, if I had not done the work that was recommended to me by every professional I trusted I would not be where I am today. I would still be extremely limited physically and in extreme pain. I would have been my biggest obstical.
I lost twenty - five pounds from being in the hospital. I am conscious of what I eat. It would be hard for me to keep moving and cause more pain if I didn't, I also want to fuel my body the best foods for healing and to decrease if not add to the inflammation I have. Food CAN be medicine.
Now… when I hear people say “I don’t have time. Its uncomfortable, I don’t like eating that. I can’t drink that much water,” I think “really?” My prognosis is always to have some sort of chronic pain. I will probably always have some nerve damage throughout my right leg and right arm. I know I will never run again [hated running anyway lol] But I will no longer be able to join my kids on a trampoline. I may or may not be able to go on long hikes or bike rides. But, I will be able to do my off beat no rhythm dancing at my girls weddings. I will be able to eventually go up and downstairs without my cane. I will be able to get in and out of a car like a normal person. I will be able to go on all the water slides with my kids. I will be able to mow my own lawn and shovel my own driveway. I’ll be able to sit down to use the bathroom without the use of props to help get me down and up. I know the quality of life I want and I know if I rest for too long and do nothing I will loose my progress. I ice, I stretch. I do my homework. If I can push so hard right from the beginning then what is your reason for not doing what is recommended? What are your excuses? Are you being your biggest obstacle?
As a health and life coach I promise you that I will give you all the support I can, that I can help you figure out how to problem solve to achieve your goals and the life you want. I promise that I will hold your goals in my hand and remind you of them when you loose sight of them or when you feel it is impossible. As your health and life coach I WILL also tell you that I can not do the work for you. You are the only one who can do that. You're the only one that can decide to take the help or not. You are the only one that can make your goals a reality. I promise I will remind you of that. I promise I will love you tough [not tough love]. I promise to not give up as long as when you stumble, you get right back up, try again and NEVER give up. I promise I will have empathy, sympathy and understanding, but you will never have my pity. I will NEVER enable that again like I did in my previous career. If I can do this, I promise to show YOU how to do this.