Challenges….

In my life, which may be different than others when challenges have arisen, I do what is necessary to get through them with the least amount of stress to those around me. I always found a spin on it to make it positive.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my life has been apparently very difficult. I wonder if living in denial was a better way to go. But I know that’s not true, even though it sure sounds easier! Right? But it was that denial that lead to other physical restrictions and lessons that have been hard to learn.

When it came to my physical issues, I broke my 1st bone at the age of 8, the last at 15. 7 times between the two. I broke my clavicle when I was 5. My leg when I was 13. broken jaw at 19. I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease at age 19. That one threw me for a loop. Ended sports and no more scholarships. I fell into what might be considered a dangerous state of depression. I watched my parents go through an unbelievable separation and miraculously reconcile 5 years later. I was the youngest child, the only one living at home (besides moving to school and being a nanny for a short while) and not married. I learned a lot about what emotional stress does to the physical body, heart and mind. I learned what effect physical stress puts on the heart and mind. But my mom always told me to put my big girl panties on and get on down the road. So I did.

I am fair skinned and red hair. I grew up with a mother who instinctively knew this put me as risk for skin cancer and it was a never ending barrage of sunscreen and shade until I was old enough to rebel. I loved the sun. I loved the warmth. Some would say i worshipped it. I was careful each day, but my goal was to “build a tan”. And I did. I also had multiple bad sunburns along the way. My mother was diagnosed with 3C breast cancer when i turned 40. I had already been seeing a dermatologist that specialized with skin cancers since my 1st pre cancer at 22. Shortly after my mother passed away from the side effects of her treatment, I found out I had melanoma. My bottom lip was cut off. Yep. Just off. The small spot on my forehead was cut to the bone. My arm, well it was ugly. On top of the over 300 pre cancers that have been burned off, dozens of basil cell carcinomas and multiple squamous cells removed, I now had to make the choice to go a little deeper into treatment or take the chance that the melanoma was gone. I was scared after mom died. I wasn’t about to take a chance that it was hiding somewhere.

When I found out that the discs in my lumbar spine were basically disintegrating, the doctors told me that surgery would be the only solution. Luckily, I didn’t believe a word they said. In the 80’s and 90’s , a doctors words were gold and they were the all knowing, right? So many people taking pills to fix one problem with the body, and another pill to fix the side effects of the other drug. Some folks I knew were taking an assortment of 10 or so pills, every day. Now at this time in my life I switched gears from engineering to physiology. I was not about to believe that at 20 years old, I was doomed to have a fused spine and reduced digestive function, leg function and neurological problems for the rest of my life on top of not being able to run, jump, flip, climb, ride. There was no way I was going to live that life. It came to be that this moment defined who I was to become. I found out I was fierce, completely capable of educating myself on all the things I need to obtain the tools that my life would require if it were to be fulfilling in all the ways I thought it should be.

I’m 47 now. I can touch on other eventful moments in my life at another time if warranted. These just happen to be some that have been the catalyst to my education, training and lifestyle. I have many more pages I could write of my challenges (can”t we all), but the fact is, everyone has challenges, and though they may be different by nature, they can achieve the same emotion and sensation that each of us can understand. We hear stories of others challenges or struggles and either find ourselves feeling either more blessed or more burdened. This is because we feel the emotions and either identify with them or can’t understand them. These reactions are the building blocks of how you deal with your own struggles and challenges in life. We either empathize ourselves, or avoid understanding. I have always felt blessed. Maybe it’s because of my mother, my younger life challenges or maybe it’s that I’ve always had a deep understanding that life is what it is…hard, but that my existence within this life doesn’t have to be. It is because of the challenges that have been laid before me in life that I have become who I am. I was never willing to settle for what others told me, that I was destined to live a life in pain and disfunction. I wasn’t willing to accept that life as others told me I should. Instead, I researched. I learned. I experimented, failed and succeeded many times over. I have become very confident with the idea that the body and mind are powerful tools that react to stimuli and work to make things function for survival. Not only have I survived, but for the most part thrived.

It is this journey that led me to develop Cognizant Reconstruction. I have an intense desire to help others to find, accept and love what life has given us and use the tools that god gave us to become truly cognizant and reconstruct this physical, mental and emotional self we call our own. It is such an awesome thing to grasp, and once we are cognizant, we can truly open our minds and body to comfort and exuberance within this day to day jungle we live in. This crazy little life is meant to be that… crazy and little, it’s our existence that can be joyous and big. I’m so excited to embark on my next chapter!

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