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It is amazing what an injury can reveal.  Did you know you have an opportunity to up the ante on your self-care plan even when you are injured?  Don’t wait until you have a serious injury like mine before you start appreciating the precious gift of your body. Ask yourself,

1. What will I stop doing NOW that does not support my body?
2. What can I do NOW to acknowledge and appreciate my body?
3. What three things will I do NOW to support my body?

Years ago, too soon after a car accident, I was doing abdominal exercises in one of my classes and felt a sharp pain in my neck.  Ice, massage, and rest did not cure the pain, so I saw a doctor.  Several painful tests, especially the one where you have to lay down flat for the MRI, revealed a herniated disc pressing on my spine and nerves.  After several months of physical therapy, sleepless nights, and unbearable pain, in consultation with my doctor, I decided to have surgery. 

I was pretty frightened after the doctors reviewed the risks with me; death, paralysis, infection, stroke, swallowing difficulty, speech problems, or injury to the nerves or vessels of the neck…  However, the thought of living with chronic pain, and curtailing my activities for the rest of my life was definitely, not how I wanted to live.  I knew too many people who were “out of commission” for extended periods because their backs “went out”, and that was not for me.  I could not imagine having to be so careful all the time.  I wanted my life back and would face my fear and go “under the knife” to get it…

It had been weeks since I taught a fitness class, or worked out.  Having to wear a neck brace all the time to alleviate the pain prohibited a number of activities and kept me absorbed in my injury.
 
As my inactivity continued, I realized I was depressed.  After 20 plus years (at the time) of teaching weekly fitness classes, a sedentary lifestyle was foreign to my body, and I knew I had to get moving, somehow.  I figured I could not hurt myself any more, so I attended a few exercise classes.  Even though I worked out in pain, I started feeling better emotionally and somewhat physically too. I knew from research that exercise is a highly effective treatment for depression, and the treatment was working, even after a few workouts.  It’s amazing what exercise can do for your emotional state.  The cures for so many of our ailments are within easy reach…

Just before the surgery, my family and friends threw me a “last supper” celebration.  We laughed and joked, but secretly I my terror grew.  When I got to the hospital and met with nurses, and anesthesiologists, et al, they asked me how I was feeling, and told them I felt good (because of the effects of exercise…).  The next thing I remember was waking up in the operating room with my doctor looking down at me and asking if I had told everyone I was feeling good.  I groggily said yes, I was feeling better.  He  said, I am not going to operate on you then, and he sent me home…

Now I was really depressed because I had already resolved and processed the fear, the shaving of the back of my head, and recovery time, and I had my last supper…  I wanted this surgery, and now feared I would have to live a life limiting and pain filled existence. 

The next day I met with my doctor, and after a discussion, the surgery was rescheduled and successfully completed.  My pain was instantly gone, the recovery was tolerable and I resumed my fitness-teaching schedule in five weeks, which was pretty amazing.
 
When my neck injury healed, I had a new appreciation for my body.  I realized how much I rely on its strength and stamina on a daily basis, and how much I take it for granted.  I depend on its health and well-being, and in return, I gain freedom and independence in the world.  I became fully aware of how well my body had served me during my lifetime, and I was filled to overflowing with gratitude. 

I had been teaching fitness classes and offering personal training to help others.  I had never really worked out to help me, Patricia… My neck injury was a gift, which helped me, connect with my body and acknowledge and appreciate what it does for me.  With this knowledge, I vowed to up the ante on my self-care plan.  I became more gentle and caring in all things I did for me.  I vowed to become stronger, to apply my personal training skills on myself too. With this new purpose fitness took on a completely new meaning for me.
 
When I am practicing self-care, which includes lovingly tending to my body, intellect, emotions, social, environmental and spiritual dimensions, I am teaching myself to acknowledge, nurture, and value myself.  This not only enables me to be more effective in whatever I set out to do, it also fills me up and provides me with more to share with others.

It is interesting what an injury can reveal…  Many blessings to you all.
Patricia

Your comments & feedback are always welcome and encouraged. For an appointment call 206-459-2898 or e-mail me at: patricia@integritylifecoach.com Home page http://www.integritylifecoach.com Copyright© 2007 Patricia Eslava Vessey…All Rights Reserved

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