July 21, 2017

Stop talking and starting doing!

now blog Why do so many people say things, but never do things?

There’s that famous quote “easier said, then done”, but I feel like too many people use it as an excuse to just get by. Why on earth would you want to JUST GET BY in life?

easier said blog There have been many of times that is exactly what I wanted to do and it is exactly what I did do. If I look back on my life so far, the moments of risk taking are the ones I remember. The only “just get by” moments I remember are ones I want to forget.

I think one of the most amazing moments of risks I have taken was becoming a mom and a single mom at that. I give props to the parents who are doing it on their own. Not just the single parents either, but the parent here on the home front while their spouse is defending our country and freedom. The stay at home parent, that doesn’t get enough appreciation for making the ship sail smooth. Yes, I, a single mom, is giving props to parents who’s partner is bringing in a paycheck but is physically hardly ever there. It takes more than money to run a home and love a child.

Even though at 23, I wasn’t ready to become a mom, I will never regret the decision I made, nor will I ever look at her as a mistake. She is my blessing and my miracle, especially after being told I could never have children at the age of 18. We have taken many risks and challenges in the last almost 17 years together. Without her, I might not have had the guts to take a leap in faith or sometimes a massive jump!

road There are times when the road ahead of you seems daunting, heck you might not even see the road! This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak! This is when your faith, not in life, but in yourself needs to shine brighter than your fear. It is time to believe in yourself, believe you have what it takes and believe that no matter what the outcome may be (good or bad) you are still ok.

This goes with all areas of your life, not just certain areas. Don’t pick the ones you THINK you can do or handle. Get out of your comfort zone, do things you never thought you could do, trust yourself, believe in yourself and most of all LOVE YOURSELF!

I Was Told NEVER

Never

How many times have you heard it?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard it spoken to me, whether by a loved one, a friend, a doctor or even strangers. I even heard it said  in so many different ways!

You will NEVER walk again.

You will NEVER have children.

You will NEVER play sports again.

You will NEVER amount to anything.

You will NEVER make me happy.

You will NEVER know what true love is.

You will NEVER graduate.

You will NEVER get married.

You will NEVER lose weight.

You will NEVER….BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!!!

And the list goes on and on.

So why am I writing this? Why am I blogging about this ONE WORD? Why do I feel so strong about this?

I am writing about the word NEVER because as much as it can be a absolutely HUGE negative in someone’s life, you can also make it a pretty massive positive, it all depends how you react to the individual spewing the negative NEVER.

Let me explain~

Ever since I can remember I have always had someone telling me “never” and for the longest time…I believed that word for my life. I don’t think people truly know the depths of a wound that one word can make in someone’s life. One of the hardest things I had to overcome was my own mind and what I let others do to it. I remember laying in my hospital bed at age 18, after being told on Christmas Day, that  would never walk again or have children. Merry Christmas to me! NOT! And here is the kicker, I BELIEVED HIM! Why? Because I was 18 and he was a Doctor…well I learned very quickly that just because someone has a doctorate, doesn’t mean they get to decided the outcome of the rest of your life. Imagine if I listen to him and all the other doctors that spoke that word into my life.

TractionI look at this way, my doctors might have told me that I would NEVER walk again (at 3 different times in my life), but that didn’t mean that I had to stop using my legs. In all of us we have the spirit to fight, to buck against the system saying this is HOW IT IS. Yes, they are doctors and they specialize in the trauma that was done to my body, not once but three separate occasions, but that doesn’t mean they know EVERYTHING. Why? Because a doctor is only a person who PRACTICES medicine. (I say this strongly because my sister is an ER doctor and she iss one of my BIGGEST supporters and cheerleaders and told me NOT to listen to ANY Dr that says that word)! There are so many deciding factors on all the “what COULD be” for me! How does a doctor, let alone anyone for that matter, know what YOU are capable of. No two people are the same. So you can have 10 people, all with the exact same injuries, in one room and have 10 absolutely different outcomes of their recovery.

Let me put it this way, just because a doctor told me I would never walk again, didn’t mean I wasn’t going to keep trying to stand and take a step. Just like when I was told I would never have children, would that stop me from getting into serious relationship and staying abstinent for the rest of my life because of what a doctor said!  HECK NO!! Imagine if I did…almost 4 years  to the date of my first accident, I became pregnant and I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl.

Over time I learned to use someone’s NEVER and make it be the driving force to prove that NEVER wrong. Now, I will admit, I might have not walked again, but I would have found a way to walk, it might just have looked different than what people are use too. I might not have gotten pregnant, but that wouldn’t have meant I would have not been a mom. I might have not played sports again, but that wouldn’t have meant that I wouldn’t have found a new sport to fit my life.

I look at life this way…every scar, every battle wound…INSIDE and OUT…make me who I am today…the good, the bad and the ugly…I could have just gave up. Trust me, I get that statement all the time “Sue, if I went through half of what you have, I would have just let myself die”. And they are right, I could have. I could have not fought to regain my life. I could have died on the scenes of my accidents, I could have died in the helicopter or  ambulances, I could have died on the multiple OR tables I have laid upon. But I chose life…as hard as it may be sometimes…I chose ME!!

I am not saying that your life will look like the way society makes you think normal should be…but what I am saying is that you get to decide what your life looks like and you get to FULLY control which way you want your life to go. YOU DECIDE YOUR NORMAL! And I think that is kinda awesome!!

survived cropped

From NEVER to ALWAYS…Meet Kirsten!

Kirstens Running Journey

From day one, Kirsten, was a fighter, being born 12 weeks premature, she literally was fighting just to stay alive! That was 39 years ago and back then we didn’t have medical advancements we have now. Her first helicopter ride was the one in which to save her life, since all her doctors didn’t believe she would make it.

Kirsten has spent every day since her birth more determined than the average person. Why? Because she wants to prove people wrong and do things she was told she would NEVER be able to do! And that is exactly what she has been doing….until she was 25!

Yet again, Kirsten was fighting for her life; she was in a severe car accident, where she had to be extracted via the Jaws of Life and took her second helicopter ride to the local trauma hospital. There, she slipped into a coma and her mother was told that she might not wake up from it. But again Kirsten showed her fighter’s strength, she awoke! Kirsten’s photographic memory became sporadic recall. She has no recollection of the accident, just only knows what people have told her and what she has read. She has seen pictures of her car, but she doesn’t remember actually seeing it in person because her memories of that time during recovery/rehab are blurry. The one thing Kirsten does remember is being in a wheelchair, being told she would never walk again! And from what she remembers, this is also when she first attempted to stand up for the first time!! Pure anger and determination had her propelling medicine balls across the rehab room. Not only was Kirsten dealing with not walking, but she couldn’t even do some of the simplest things, that we take for granted on a daily basis! The one that sticks out for her was having to do basic subtraction. Before her accident she could write a computer program to do this, now she couldn’t get her mind to subtract 36 – 17!

cantRehab for Kirsten was a very lonely journey, as it feels for most who have suffered traumatic injuries. Though Kirsten admits, most of it was all in her head. She knows her own mind was and still is her biggest obstacle. She uses laughter to try and brush some things off, but to Kirsten, on the inside, NOTHING was funny about any of it. In Kirsten’s own words, “Knowing you can do something, but not being able to is a poignant mindfuck.”

She realized she needed to get out and by this she meant going for walks. And she did just that. Whenever she could find the time, she walked! You see, Kirsten at this time was also a single mom to a young son, so her walks became things she looked forward to.

Now onto yet another chapter of Kirsten’s life…marrying her husband and the birth of her second son. You see, he was sick from day one. Doctors were constantly poking and prodding him, taking drop after drop of his blood trying to figure out why he was so sick. They came to her with wanting to do blood transfusions and liver transplants. The most renowned specialist at the top-notch hospitals came up with very interesting diagnosis’ that had too many syllables for Kirsten to remember what they were.

Kirsten is not against doctors or medicine, but she would rather be as natural and holistic as possible, she has always been this way. Even through her accident and rehab, she refused pain meds. Kirsten is so thankful she didn’t listen to most of the experts, because what her son has is treatable without any meds or any procedures. Her son has Celiac Disease. This started the beginning of Kirsten learning all about food. She thought she was already one up because she didn’t drink soda and her pantry wasn’t filled with crap. The more she read and learned, the more she realized she had A LOT to learn and change. She began researching the way food is manufactured, started cooking more and buying differently. Now, they are completely gluten free, eating mostly clean and Kirsten is leaning toward vegetarian.

Now to how did walking turn into running, and where is Kirsten running?

run7

Well Kirsten reconnect with a friend on Facebook, who just happen to post she was running the Army Ten Miler, well the status was how the person she was running with bailed and she needed a partner in order to do it. Well, at first Kirsten told herself, “Ten miles, NO WAY!’ But then she was at the finish line…she DID IT and she became instantly addicted!!

Kirsten said what hooked her was the feeling she received from 10,000 strangers. You see, to her, it felt like a lifetime of praise came down to this…thousands of strangers cheering and clapping for JUST her as she came across that line. Kirsten knew from that point on she was signing up for everything she could, that was 2009…and she has done just that over the last 3 years! Her first goal is to run a “100 miler” (so far she has completed a “50 miler” race), another goal is to do her first triathlon this coming August and after that her next goal…yep you guessed it…is to do an IronMan!

Kirsten doesn’t talk about TBI (traumatic brain injury) and subsequent MRIs riddled with migraine scars or her sensitivity to light or even her random pain.

Kirsten is who she is and she embraces it every day!!

DSC01959

He Found HEALTHIER Addictions and Found Himself Along The Way…Meet Chad

pushup1“I woke up. Once again, my head felt like it got cracked in the back by a baseball bat. That’s what a twelve pack of Bud Light and a bottle of tequila will do to you. Something was different about this morning, though. I didn’t really know where I was. I didn’t know who I was with, and I didn’t recognize the reflection in the mirror.”

So what exactly happened to Chad?

How did he go from being an all-state, all-district athlete and one of the top in the military to being homeless three times and a college drop out?

Well, his moment of clarity came on May 27th, 2001, when an incredibly painful weight of realization came crashing down upon him. All the debauched things in his life that he managed to find scapegoats for suddenly became VERY clear to him.

He finally realized HE was the ONLY reason for his situation!

Nobody else was to blame. Nobody else put the drugs in him. Nobody held him down and poured the booze down his throat. Nobody else made him drop out. Nobody else caused him to live on the streets.

He did it all on his own. It was his actions that got him where he was, but it was also him who knew exactly what he needed to do NOW!

Just like Chad’s blog The Hardest Lift says “the hardest lift you’ll ever make is your rear end off of the couch”, this time, the hardest lift for Chad was the burden of guilt off his shoulders. Chad got on the phone and started calling everyone he felt needed to hear an apology from him. He knew he needed to accept accountability for all his actions that led him to where he was now at. He knew he also might never gain forgiveness or acceptance from all he had wronged in his life up till now. He knew the long was going to be long and that he needed to do it one step at a time, but he was ready to start making those steps, no matter how difficult they each were going to be!

No fast forward 11½ years!

Chad has been COMPLETELY alcohol, nicotine and drug free!!

Chad spent a lot of time after his wake up call alone. He was learning how to live again, but more importantly how to love himself.

photo

Chad is one of those who have an addictive personality, so he knew he needed to find NEW addictions and that he did, in surfing and in playing the guitar. Sadly, even though he was surfing every day, it wasn’t physically challenging enough for Chad, he literally desired for more, just like in his past days when he needed more drugs or alcohol to get his high.

In 2008, Chad’s family lost everything they had and almost were evicted from their home due to foreclosure. Even though they never felt sorry for themselves, they knew they were going through exactly what millions of others around the nation were dealing with. Chad had several friends take their own lives, leaving family behind in the quake, due to life’s circumstances during this time, but Chad knew he could never do that. So he endured the harassment he received, being chased on the street and threats that were made. Chad could have turned back to what he knew, his old addictions; instead he turned his frustrations and depressions onto his music.  He began writing about his experiences and it resonated with people who heard it. Chad then choose to self released two of his albums on iTunes, he played shows on the West Coast and enjoyed radio play on local radio stations and internet stations worldwide. But Chad realized real quickly that music wouldn’t feed his family. (To listen to a few songs CLICK HERE)

photoThen there came his rock, his wife, Sheila. She was able to get a job and take care of their family, while Chad played a few paying gigs here and there. Chad spent his days raising their 3 daughters; he went from being the bread winner and supporter to becoming a dependent. Chad learned a lot during this time about not only himself, but of his wife. He learned he is extremely fortunate to have a wife that loves him for him, not for the money he made when they first met. He learned the importance of removing ego from his life and discovering what is truly the most important thing in life, FAMILY.

Then my wife found an amazing membership deal at family gym that included daycare for our girls. This is when Chad realized his passion with working out. He will be the first to admit that he wasn’t the strongest guy in the gym by far, after all his gym growing up was playing ball on the basketball court. Chad immersed himself in it, but something was still off.  Fourteen months had then passed and Chad couldn’t grasp why he looked the way he did after putting in a lot of work at the gym. He questioned why he didn’t “look” better and he couldn’t figure it out, that was until he stumbled upon a documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” For Chad, it was LIFE CHANGING! He realized he had a food addiction, he loved food. Granted Chad was fortunate never to be obese or even slightly overweight. Chad weighed at that time 230lbs, but at 6’5”, that isn’t big.

So what did they do, they bought a juicer. Yes, a juicer! They started making and having juice every morning and completely cut out all fast food, soda and sweets (cookies, ice cream, candy etc). Within a month, Chad started to feel different, even people at his gym were taking notice and were giving Chad positive comments on how much change they were seeing his body. This motivated Chad like you wouldn’t believe. He got down to 205, then started to add lean muscle mass, and is currently at 215lbs. Chad and his wife began experiencing with tons of different recipes and Chad started falling in love with different types of exercise programming. He spent countless hours researching different ways to push his body to limits he didn’t even know existed!photo (1)

Today, Chad is grateful for the fact that he gets to live with his amazing wife and their three beautiful daughters. Being able to share the love of healthy eating and fitness lifestyle with his wife, is only an added bonus for Chad.  Sheila loves joining him in many of the crazy workouts he finds, including recently Yoga. Then Chad started his site, The Hardest Lift, as a forum to share his workouts, the food they are making, juicing recipes and he also features inspiring people he has had the opportunity to meet through social media or in person. Thehardestlift.com is currently being read in 60 countries worldwide and has featured numerous inspirational people that have touched the lives of friends new and old. Like earlier in his journey, Chad knows all too well that the hardest lift we’ll ever make is our rear end off of the couch. After that hurdle, the others seem to get shorter and easier to overcome; all you have to do is take that first step. From sobriety, to humility, to family to health, Chad has had an incredible journey, that isn’t even over yet, but he also knows it a journey that couldn’t have been made without the people God has placed in his life along the way.

hardestlift11

Staying Positive AFTER An Injury or Surgery

You might be thinking to yourself, is she kidding, everyone at some point becomes negative during the recovery process! My response to that is, you are ABSOLUTELY correct! We do, it is part of human nature for us, but at the same time, we also have the capabilities to counter act that choice.

Let me give you a little background to back up what I am about to say to you. I am a 37yr old single mom and I should have died not once, but 4 different times in my life. I have been told by doctors at 3 points in my life that I would NEVER walk again. I was told my life would NEVER be the same. I lived through 3 near fatal car accidents, my last being in the line of duty. The other thing that almost killed me was when I contracted bacterial meningitis. I have more titanium in my body holding me together than anyone should EVER have. I have gone through 20 surgeries to date, mostly on my lumbar spine, pelvic and left hip. So now that you know a little about me, let me tell you why I am a SURVIVOR, not a victim!Never believe words of people who have NEVER gone through what you are going through, and YES this includes the doctors treating you! You truly are your own worst enemy when it comes to your recovery! It is just like when we want to hit a PR (personal record), if we go into negatively, we might as well NEVER even try! But when we go into with a positive mindset, it is truly amazing what our minds are capable of putting our bodies through! Another thing about mindset, don’t be a stubborn or a prideful person when you reenter the box/gym. You do this; you might as well have just stayed home! Let me tell you this now and get it out of the way – YOU WILL NOT BE THE SAME PERSON AS BEFORE, throw out all your old goals and make new ones for the person you are NOW!!  Now, I am not saying that you will never get back to where you were, hell you might even exceed all your past PRs! What I am saying is your body has changed, PERIOD! There is no going back to the way it use to be. It is time to start finding out what works for the body you have NOW! This is probably one of the biggest struggles people deal with when in recovery. The second is the time from which the injury or surgery occurred to when you actually get back into the box/gym!

So let’s talk about that for a second, that down time can either be used to play the pity card or it can be used to start formulating a path in which you want to go. Only YOU can make this decision. Only YOU can decide if want to be the “oh woe is me” person or the SURVIVOR! And I don’t care how many cheerleaders you have in your corner, NONE OF THEM can do this journey for you! Matter of fact, there will come a point that if you hear one more positive word out of someone’s mouth, you literally might go insane!

In closing, let me just make one thing clear! An injury or surgery doesn’t define WHO YOU ARE…you do!  I am not going to sit here and tell you that it’s going to be easy, it actually might be the hardest fight of your life, and like me, you might have to fight it a few times. But what I will tell you is not only will it be worth it, but you will be stronger than you have ever been hitting any PRs!!!