Second Chances…

I have always been really fascinated with the power of  the mind, but this weekend was all about realising just how powerful the human body can be.

I headed to Copenhagen to visit my Danish sister and friend of 20 years and I was fairly anxious. My first MRI in two years and my first bone and joint evaluation in forever.

At age 20 the scans showed bipolar pelvic fractures, oestepenia of the lumber and hip, and ruptures at the insertion of the hamstring.

I was not kind to my body for many years. I did things that I feel ashamed to even remember, and did not take care of the fractured hip or myself, at all.

I was punishing myself for my fathers death, and felt that I didn’t deserve to be ok. Course it was more complex than that but that was at the heart of it.

I carried that with me for a long time. So I was worried to see how much degeneration had occurred in the last 12 years since that evaluation as the doctors at the time said that you cannot reverse any of the bone degeneration and it will only get worse.

But you can slow it…

Sitting in a room with some of Denmark’s best bone and joint specialists looking at my results and their faces looking at me like, why are you here?

They said that because I broke the bone so young it has completely regenerated, and in the right place.

Amazing isn’t it that almost every cell in our bodies is completely new again in 4 years. Every single bone is completely regrown. However if you break a bone after a certain age it regrows with degeneration in the cells, like an instruction manual with spelling mistakes.

The doctor who evaluated my oesteopenia at age 20, said there was nothing I could do, but that for sure the bone would continue to slowly decline. Well, it’s true it didn’t reverse itself, but instead almost stopped time completely, and I have now almost no degeneration or less for someone my age.

“You have the hip and back of a 20 year old”…is the exact way they put it!

I felt so incredibly grateful, and for the first time without that other feeling of guilt for something good happening to me…I don’t remember how long it has been since I felt that. Like I deserved it.

Such a simple concept and yet for me such a complex one.

They said there is still a way to go because I have to continue the work I am doing to balance the muscles and tendons that took all the wear and tear over the years while my body did the hard work.

They also said that in 6 months time, if I continue as I am doing, there is no reason why I can’t make a full recovery and enjoy riding for quite some time!

They said though, that there is a big chance that I may always have pain in my hip. There is still so much we do not know about the connection between mind and body and after over ten years of pain it’s hard for the brain to forget it. He said then I will need to look at other avenues to better cope with pain, or he  said “learn to love it”…I didn’t understand at first but he meant learn to appreciate it, it’s part of who I am, my past, my life, my character. I have a childhood trauma printed in the cells in my body, as a reminder that happened, so it’s still a part of me.

I thought it was an interesting way to look at it and wondered why it couldn’t be something awesome like telepathy, but I guess you can’t choose how your scars form and how long they stay there ;).

But the best part was that now I can do the muscle and tendon work knowing that I am on the right path…and I will get back riding. I also am lucky to have the help of Ana luis Martins from ALM pilates, and Jorge Pereira from Clinica Benfica and oesteo Patricia Trigo da Silva…Three of the most amazing, humble, talented, and fun professionals I have ever worked with.

I have been told so many times that to get the right help I need to go to Germany, and see “Dr somebody” who is supposedly “the best in the world”, and I truly believe that I am actually in the best hands because they actually are extremely good, but also for one major reason.

You can go to the supposed best at something, but do they really give a £$%^ about your specific case?

It’s like a dressage rider going to the best trainer, only to find out that that trainer doesn’t find much potential in their horse, and the lessons are like reading off a script.

My mum is my best ever trainer because she is passionate about it. We have all had that amazing lesson with someone who supposedly hadn’t done that much, but was just so enthusiastic and passionate about you and your horse, that you got a lot out of it.

Ana and Jorge are that good, and yet still passionate, and more than that I feel that they think I deserve to be helped.

I got so used to telling myself that what I had done would stay with me forever and that as I grew old I would feel it more and more. A physio last year said I was limited in my riding years and possibly by 40 I won’t be able to walk, and then a surgeon tell me that I need to fuse the hip bone together with metal.. Because of all the work I have done to stabalise the joint the pubic bone that was not aligned, now is, with no sign of any chronic inflammation, and the fluid in my spine is also gone…I dedicated myself to my recovery, and did everything I was told, and then some, and well, hard work pays off!!

It took a doctor saying to me that I am physically younger for my age than I am, by a lot, for me to realise that I have a second chance, and I will take it!

But more than that, whatever I still blame myself for is irrelevant, because if my body forgave me, then I can. I am allowed to be happy, and I deserve good things. I know a lot of people who struggle with that concept, so I don’t feel weak for sharing my story.

Sometimes I see people empathising with me, but they don’t have a suicide, or a specific trigger, and they feel even more like they don’t deserve to be happy and the cycle continues. To those people, it’s ok to take too much on board, as long as you learn from it or use it to make you a better person.

So I learnt a lot this weekend. I was also reminded of a lesson that I learnt when I was travelling the world alone, and people would ask “you are by yourself?”. It fascinates me that people don’t realise a very simple fact of life, so when they ask me this question I reply “No, I am with myself.” Course they probably think I am nuts, but my point is that enjoying your own company is one of life’s greatest lessons, because if you don’t enjoy it, why should you expect anyone else to?! I am also lucky in that I come back to the best person in the world, 🙂 🙂 , but I do feel sorry for people who can’t do things alone, and think of that as valuable time spent with you…you’re the only you you’ve got!

When I got back, someone I admire and cherish said that I look younger. She is someone who really sees people, and what she is actually seeing is that I am lighter.

For the first time I don’t feel lucky, I feel extremely grateful..and there is a big difference between the two.