Helloooooo blogger land!
Today’s the day! I’m uploading my first video to a new youtube channel, and I’m nervous and excited all at once! Though I’ve always wanted to make a video series that addresses how to stay active despite injuries, it wasn’t until recently that my clients and friends encouraged (and prodded) me to just get it done! I have been a varsity athlete and active person from a very young age. In fact, it was my mom getting me a personal trainer at the YMCA which steered me in the direction of a Kinesiology degree, and her love of sports and dance that inspired me. But one thing I have not been able to escape is my humanness. Debilitating injuries, depression, anxiety, loss, and hardship. But through it all, I have known in my heart of hearts that I can keep moving, and keep taking steps towards my optimal health – no matter what life throws at me. It wasn’t until my first year of graduate school that I had my first debilitating injury and went through physical rehabilitation that I truly understood what it was like to have your life taken away from you. Life as I knew it was teaching kickboxing and aquafit classes, doing yoga and lifting weights, swimming and skiing, skating down the Rideau Canal in the winter, riding my bike and jogging everywhere, working as a personal trainer at Goodlife, and enjoying my active life. I was in the stage of sorting through the data which was collected for my thesis research, and wham. One small injury after another, after another, and I was on the floor of my apartment, writhing in pain, struggling to breath, struggling to move into any position that didn’t make pain shoot down my back and leg. I blew a disc that morning. Doing rehab exercises for my sprained ankle of all things. Luckily I had my crutches handy, and hobbled down the street to our campus physiotherapist, Isabelle. This lady is awesome and had helped me with knee and shoulder injuries from my rugby career, so I knew she’d know what to do. She did a few tests and confirmed what we both thought it was. Compression of my S1 nerve root due to a herniated disc that was under so much pressure, it exploded. I thought this was crazy. How could this happen to me? I had been taught how to exercise with perfect form and always used safe practices. I was active and happy. Now I had lost feeling in my right leg, hip, and pelvis. I couldn’t even tell if I was done peeing when I went to the bathroom. It was pretty bad. And pretty scary too. I had to temporarily stop working, and eventually gained weight and got depressed because I was very limited in my pain-free movements. My boyfriend at the time couldn’t handle this big change I was going through, and became distant. We broke up. Then I couldn’t get to the lab at school very easily (or anywhere for that matter), and I told my professor I didn’t think I could finish my thesis. Part of that was my ex’s impatience with my progress at school, telling me he didn’t think I wanted to finish my work, but what I came to realize was that I couldn’t finish it then. Thank god for my wise professor who said “Candice, if I didn’t think you could do this I wouldn’t have agreed to take you on as a graduate student.” That made me cry right there in his office. I told him about my injury and bf troubles and he and I agreed that I would just take a month or two off to heal my body, and my heart. So that’s what I did. I worked a little bit on things when I could pull myself out of my depression enough to look at my data and emails, but mostly I just cried. And I prayed. A LOT! Once the initial swelling went down thanks to time, physio, and my doctor finding an anti-inflammatory medication that I wasn’t allergic to, I began to ask Isabelle, what CAN I do? Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do. As a lifeguard for over 10 years at the time, I realized – hey, I can swim! I could use a pull-buy between my legs and use my arms for exercise! So that’s how I began my recovery. I was told I’d have to do therapeutic exercises almost every day for the rest of my life in order to get feeling and use back in my lower right side of my body. So more or less, that’s what I’ve done. I’m still healing. This injury happened in 2009! I still can’t feel parts of my body, or flex muscles that I once commanded with confidence and joy. But I have used this pain and healing to help others, and there is a message, a lesson I learned that I can’t contain any longer. You can start your healing journey WHEREVER you are RIGHT NOW! I put a hashtag #comeasyouare in my tags for the video I just uploaded because I needed to put myself out there – today! Not when I lose 20 lbs, or get my teeth fixed, or buy more flattering clothes, or have the perfect space to record video content, or buy special filming equipment – but NOW! I know what I look like. And I know what people in exercise videos look like. And that has been the biggest thing stopping me from sharing my knowledge and healing tools with a large audience on the world wide web. And then recently, a wonderful friend and client said to me “Candice, you do such a great job of meeting others where they are! I like that you don’t look like a supermodel or fitness model. It’s less intimidating, and more encouraging because you’re fit and healthy. I feel like I can be healthy too! It’s more realistic for me to open up to you about my health goals and struggles because I know you’ve been there, and you’re not judging me.” So I got up, didn’t worry about makeup or hair, and sat down to bring you all some love and relaxation! Feel free to do the same! Just come as you are J
Until next time!
Yours in health,
(cuz “keep fit and have fun” was taken ;)
Candice, M.Sc. Kin, CSEP CEP, RYT
" I write to discover what I know" Flannery O'Connor.