Someone once told me, “if you don’t make time for your wellness, you’ll be forced to make time for your illness.” And this quote is what has defined my last few years and more specifically 2020.
In January 2017, I got a concussion that left me in a difficult place.
I had been playing pick-up volleyball with a group of adults that I played with every week. One night, I was hit in the head with the volleyball. I instantly got dizzy and felt nauseous but decided to drive myself home. The next morning I woke up feeling even worse but I was just out of college and starting my teaching career so I went to school.
During my first period one-on-one Language Arts tutorial, my student asked me if I was okay. So I told her “not really” and she told me to go to the school nurse cause I wasn’t making much sense. I then went home for the remainder of the day. I called my college field hockey coach and asked him to drive me to the doctor.
I arrived at urgent care, feeling awful and convinced I had a concussion. I had two previous concussions, so I knew what it felt like and this felt worse. I was given a doctor who proceeded to tell me that “you cannot get a concussion from a volleyball” so he didn’t give me any of the tests. He sent me home and said to rest for another day and I’ll be fine…
Well… I was not okay but I didn’t know what to do so I went to school and struggled for months looking at my computer, keeping enough concentration to teach and attend grad school, and just muddled through. Looking back, I don’t remember much from this time of my life, particularly the first-month post-concussion…I don’t remember my first date with my fiancé…
Eventually, after about 5-6 months, I was still feeling terrible and couldn’t do anything. So I saw my primary care doctor who said that the original doctor said I didn’t have a concussion so they don’t know why I’m feeling the way I do. So they sent me to another doctor.
Upon arriving at the doctor’s office of this new doctor, I was told, the doctor wouldn’t help me and had canceled my appointment a few days prior but never informed me…I took off school to go to an appointment that was canceled.
Unsure what to do next, I went to the ER, maybe a doctor there could help me. Nope, they said there was nothing they could do. I got so upset by that answer they gave me drugs to calm me down and put me to sleep. Then sent me home with my now fiancé.
So I started researching local concussion experts. I couldn’t find much so I went to a neurologist. He determined that I likely did have a concussion and a neck injury but there wasn’t much he could do. He suggested Physical Therapy and some medications.
PT was great and helped me regain some balance, but my headaches didn’t get much better. I didn’t want to be on medication and it wasn’t working enough. So I gave up on that doctor.
I gave up on myself and accepted the fact I would experience headaches for the rest of my life. The worst part was that I couldn’t hike or workout because my life was so consumed by headaches that I lost all interest in things I once loved! I had no way to relieve my stress so it was just building up…Side Note: During this time, I also developed crazy allergies to cats, dogs, and dust that sent me into possible anaphylaxis. And I now have an epi-pen…and get allergy shots.
2 years went by and I was coming up on 3 years and I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t hike. I couldn’t snowboard because I feared falling and making it worse. Then I was playing flag football with my students and I got hit. Not hard but enough to make my headaches worse and my dizziness increase.
I went to the ER, where once again, I was told maybe it’s a slight concussion, rest for a day and you’ll be fine…
Losing hope and not sure what to do, my friend told me to try a chiropractor. And this wasn’t just your “typical chiropractor” that just fix symptoms. His goal is to find the source of the problem and attempt to fix it. And in doing so, it might relieve symptoms. He found some subluxation in my neck and spine. He also noticed my pelvis was tilted and my body was using a significant amount of energy to hold my head up. (No wonder, I was always so tired!) We began working to fix this problem.
Once I made progress with the “building” phase or fixing the source of the problem, the chiropractor now begins integrating healthy eating, exercising, and mindset work into your chiropractic program. Because a healthy back needs a healthy life.
After about 2 months, I began having significantly fewer headaches. I had more energy and was ready to add more to my life.
That was when I stumbled upon my wellness program! It integrates fitness, nutrition, and accountability all into one program! My coach uses these programs to build strength and endurance for outdoor adventures! Just what I needed!
I started off slow and it was challenging because I used to be able to lift heavy and move fast but my body could no longer do that! So I moved through the first program, then COVID hit.
Luckily, I was already working out from home and beginning to find success with the program! I continued working out and completed a few more programs.
And in doing so, I began feeling strong and ready for fun outdoor adventures! So my fiancé and I got mountain bikes. And we found local trails and started biking multiple days a week.
Once the travel ban ended, I began planing some big hikes, including a 1-day presidential traverse, 1-Day Owls Head Hike, and many other hikes to finish out my New Hampshire White Mountains 48.
When I’m outside, I am my best self. I love the challenge of a long hike or tackling a new trail. When I’m outside, I find peace with myself, my world, and my situations. It clears my mind and gives me clarity. So without the ability to get outside, I can’t be myself.
Sometimes I feel like I haven’t come far enough. But when looking back at where I came from almost 4 years ago, I’ve come so far. In the last 10 months, I haven’t lost a ton of weight, maybe like 3 or 4 pounds, a handful of inches, and about 1-2% body fat. But the strength I’ve gained is surreal. I’ve conquered so many more challenging hikes including a 1-day presidential traverse and completing the last 19 mountains of my New Hampshire White Mountains 48, 4000 footers list.