There is something about the countdown to the end of the year that makes us all become a little reflective and insightful. Even Facebook is getting into the spirit this year with their 2016 Year in Review. So if you were to sit down and think about this year what would you learn? All of us at some point experience some form of change, tragedy, success, challenge, happiness or an emotion that we were not prepared for but wham it came at us like a speed of lightening! By this I don’t only mean circumstances that are negative, this also includes those successes that you weren’t quite prepared for but they happened and you revealed in the feeling of elation.
One thing that we are all so very passionate about in the Kim Beach Community is learning to love yourself and nurturing your body, mind and soul by enjoying wholesome fresh food and incorporating fitness into your life. It’s when we incorporate this philosophy into our everyday life that even in those challenging moments you find some strength. If someone asked me what my 2016 was like, I would answer with honesty and openness. My year really is no different from anyone else’s, I have had many moments of pure joy and excitement but also moments of not knowing where life was going to take me, but knowing that I had to trust the process and what the universe was giving me. Sound familiar to you?
You see on the 14th February this year my gorgeous husband of 23 years was out on a training ride (I am talking about the carbon fibre pedal powered bike!) He was in the peak of his training for the Tour De Cure where he was going to be riding from Brisbane to Sydney over 10 days. That morning he left at 5.30am for a mere 250km bike ride which was to include 1500m of vertical climb (makes our HIIT sessions look like a warm up)! He was on a downhill descent travelling at about 50km when he collided with a car. What transpired in the next 24hrs was to be one of the most challenging things I have had to face in my life to date. That first phone call when I was informed he was involved in an accident with a car and had a broken arm, was conscious and the paramedics were with him trying to stabilise his condition, left me numb. He was to be airlifted to St George Hospital which is 2hrs away from our home. I struggled to remember if I had told him my mandatory “ride safe” this morning when he kissed me goodbye. As my children and I made the trip to Sydney it seemed the universe was doing its best to guide me. After my initial tears (OK it may have been slightly more dramatic than that and immense sobbing comes to mind!) and seeing my kid’s reaction to that, I knew that I had to remain calm for them. On arriving at the Hospital, I am faced with the details of just how extensive his injuries were, broken sternum, 2 punctured lungs, broken back, bruised heart, endless broken ribs, bleed on the brain, broken arm and the list goes on. The next 48 hrs I lived at the hospital and I can distinctly remember sitting in a chair with my head in my hands staring at the blue carpet below me. Dr’s were talking to me and the words spinal cord, wheelchair and cardiac arrest were discussed at great lengths during the conversation. It was at this point I knew I had a choice. I could fall apart and weep and let the emotions rule my judgement and be weak and powerless or I could move forward with the burning desire I had in the pit of my belly to get Pat through this. I knew what I was facing was beyond words or comprehension but I knew that for me to get through it and be the support that I needed to be both for Pat and our precious children I had to be as level headed and clear minded as I possibly can. So what got me through? The first one was I was to continue to fuel my body with good food. If I had to make decision and survive on little sleep then my body deserved the best possible fuel I could give it to do that. I would not overlook the opportunity to keep my body moving. Fortunately, my car boot was full of some of my PT gear so I had that sorted. The final and most important desire I had was that anyone who came to visit Pat, stand by him or hold his hand had to come with “Positive Pants” on. I was determined that even though he was incubated and unconscious I wanted him to know what an amazing job he was doing, how tough he was and that he had to draw on all this positivity and his fitness to pull through. With these in place I then proceeded to make decisions that Doctors were asking of me.
I remained true to myself and for the next 6 weeks while Pat remained in hospital. He defied all odds that Doctors gave him and we were told time and time again because of his fitness he was a miracle to be alive. He endured and came through countless surgeries on his spine, arm and we later found out he had completely shattered his wrist as well! I can remember sitting in ICU looking at his monitor one night and it flashed up how many calories he was burning. Just lying there and taking every effort he could to survive, he was burning over 2,000 calories a day. Thank goodness, he had that in storage!
There are many chapters to our story of recovery for Pat. Including a further 8 weeks in hospital after his L1 had a further fracture and then collapsed. It’s completely mind blowing what Dr’s can do through surgery and even more amazing to watch his body heal and rebuild. As his wife and PT I feel privileged to be part of the rebuild process for him. He is walking, swimming, weight sessions, running (although he calls it a shuffle!) and yes he has been back on a bike both stationary and more recently his road bike. We even had our first date ride a couple of week ago, wahoo! Our lives have changed, he is limited in many things he can now do and perform but all of us our exposed to that situation. The difference is, you do what you can, you think outside the square and you begin to find new ways to live and love.
In sharing this little part of my life with you all I hope it may open your heart and mind to the notion that we all come across experiences that we are not prepared for whether they be about relationships, careers, family, financial, health or even environment. Whatever you have or may experience let it teach you. Let it show you that love, persistence and being grateful for the good in your life is life giving. I have learnt so much in the last 10 months not only about myself but the resilience of my children and the strength and determination of my husband. I have also learnt that my kids love me no less when the house hasn’t been vacuumed, that their toes don’t fall off if they wear the same school socks two days in a row, their beds don’t collapse if I don’t wash the sheets every week and dusting is so overrated!
While my role in our family has changed as I now begin to wear many hat’s. Throughout this experience, I have kept my respect for my body, I have asked it to operate on countless occasions on minimal sleep and it still stands by me and continually supports me. I have continued to train 6 days a week throughout this time as this is the time that I gave to myself as “me” time. On the mornings that I played the mind games of too tired, can’t do it (yes we all experience those mornings!) I would roll over and see him lying there and there it was motivation staring back at me.
So reflect on your year, see the amazing changes you have made and how much your body rewards you by fuelling it with real wholesome food and moving it regularly. Hugs to you all and keep setting those goals and going for it. Here is a picture of our latest goal, Pat wanted to dance with me at his Nephews wedding and dance we did!