A New Year….?

Almost two years into this pandemic, enjoying -30 weather right now, and trying to find a routine for this current normal. Just when it feels like we are pulling out of things, we have to roll right back again; these are the moments that feel really hard. The sacrifices we have all made to make it through things, the time we have given up with our friends and family, the events and social experiences we aren’t having anymore. It all feels really hard sometimes.

So what have I done with myself through all of this to keep my mental and physical health intact? I continue to workout 5-6 days a week, at home. I think this has been one of the main things I do every day to help myself so I can help others. I find my workout is what helps to relieve the daily stress so I am a happier person overall; that time in the morning when it’s just about me and what I am able to do is all that matters. I’ve had a couple of setbacks this year that has led me to make less progress than I would have liked; one sprained ankle, one sprained foot – one on each foot just to balance it out! My recovery from that took way longer than I expected it to – you are much more aware of what your feet do for you when you don’t have full use of them for a while. Even with the injuries, I’ve still stayed on top of it and my body is able to do moves and go further than I ever could before. This movement and growth is priceless for my mental and physical health.

I stepped away from other obligations and freed up my time a bit more so my personal time is just for me. I found myself really taxed for personal time due to other non-work obligations and finally realized I needed less of that so I could have more time for myself again. This was a hard decision because I like to be a part of my community but I suppose you really aren’t doing anyone a favour if you aren’t enjoying the time you are volunteering. My job switched up a bit this year as well, new role with a different region to support and that requires a lot more travel time. Stepping down from these other things is helping me find a new balance between home and work finally. These big life changes aren’t easy and they require a lot of resilience and strength; being able to fill my own cup is absolutely crucial for me and I have learned over the last couple of years that if I don’t put myself first nobody else will either.

And then I dove back into other hobbies that I enjoy doing. I still have some work to do with this – I haven’t done much photography this year and I have a deep urge to get into that more again. So that will be my focus for the new year, to learn some new skills and push myself out of my comfort zone. I need to remember that feeling when you get the perfect shot, when you compose that picture in the tiny little window, press that button, and capture that moment. I think it starts with doing a little bit every day, or at least during the week if that’s all I can fit in. So that’s a goal for 2022.

I hope for anyone reading this, that you have found some joy and some enjoyment in this really hard year. I keep reminding myself that this will be over one day and we will be able to do all the things we really miss and in the meantime I will keep doing my part to keep this world turning and put others needs before my own desires. Giving up a little more time isn’t going to hurt me but could make all the difference for someone else. Enjoy these last few days of 2021, think about the good things you want to create and be a part of for 2022, and jump in. We only get one life <3.




Finding My Way Back

The pace of life ebbs and flows – one minute everything is moving along just fine and you feel like nothing can stop you, the next you just hit a wall and can’t move forward any further. It’s been almost two years since I wrote anything on here and that gap seems to represent a lot of what was happening in my life. I have moments where I feel motivated and ready to contribute to the world and in those moments everything seems to hum along with an easy flow and then something happens, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is, and that flow turns into a crawl. It could be motivation, it could be lack of self care, it could be just how life is. So today I am starting again. I have so many thoughts that flow through my mind, so many lessons that need a space to live, so many life lessons that I want to share so they can help someone else and I need to curate a space where I can leave those for others to use in a way that works for them, and perhaps I need to keep myself accountable for really committing to this space.

I always find I am most balanced when I have a space to lay out my thoughts, when I take time early in the day for a quiet moment that is just for me, and when I make space to work out. Journaling for me was something I didn’t start doing until I was in my mid-thirties – prior to that I didn’t find it useful because I didn’t know what that balance felt like. The catalyst for my journaling was the loss of my cousin which happened very suddenly where I didn’t have time to process what was happening and to be quite honest, I had been in denial about how sick she really was. After her passing I had so many emotions that had no way out and journaling was a space where I could lay out those feelings with no judgement. Expressing how I was feeling was so important for me to be able to move through that grief and learn how to forgive myself for not reaching out to her before it was too late.

I wake up at 5am every day (during the work-week) so I can have a couple of hours to myself before my family wakes up; I’m sure many mom’s can connect with that feeling where you just need a little time to yourself before the demands of everyone else take over your day. So often, as women, we put ourselves last instead of putting ourselves first – it’s what society has taught us to do and what we need to change the most to create more balance and be better able to be there for the people we love in our life. So I wake up early, I do a little journaling, and then I do my workout. I know when I tell people I wake up at 5 am I am usually met with shock and curiosity as to why I would “do that to myself”. I think it’s important to find a time during the day that works for you; for some that is early in the morning, for others it is late at night. In the end, as long as it works for you, it really doesn’t matter when it happens as long as it happens.

My workouts really started as a way to have more energy and be able to do everyday things without being out of breath and feeling tired all the time. I know it can seem counter-intuitive to expend energy in order to have more of it but I have always found I feel better overall when I workout regularly. One of the things it helps me with is stress management – having that time to focus and put all of my pent up frustration or anger into my workout and getting rid of that energy completely allows me to be a better person during the day. The reality is we all have frustrations or things that we carry with us and finding a way to expend that and toss it aside makes us more effective in our interactions with other people. We owe it to our community to not force them to carry our negative energy – this is one of the ways we leave the world a better place when we pass through a space. With everything we are traveling through right now, COVID-19 fatigue anyone?? – we have to work harder at this than we did before.

Not everyday is going to be a good day, and not every week is going to be easy, but with a little bit of time spent on myself the rest of world feels easier to handle. So I am going to leave this post with a few thoughts for you to carry with you if you find them helpful:

  1. It’s ok to put yourself first – don’t ever feel guilty for that. Just as in a relationship where you need to nurture the connection with your partner, you need to nurture the relationship with yourself.
  2. It doesn’t matter what putting yourself first looks like, as long as it resonates with you. This is going to be different for every single person and it can take some time to find what feels right. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and ask yourself what things you enjoy doing in your spare time. Try different activities until you find ones that leave you feeling happy when you are finished.
  3. Find some way to move your body during the day. I want to emphasize here that it doesn’t have to be a typical workout, it can be anything. I don’t believe in diets and working out to lose weight – my personal belief is that these things are not healthy or necessary for you to live in this world. But find any way that you enjoy to create movement in your day, that helps you to manage the daily stresses. It can be dancing in the kitchen through a song, or walking to the mailbox to get the mail. Just remember that your connection between your body and mind is important and figuring out how to keep the two connected with help you find that balance.

Go into your day with intention and love for yourself. Jo xxox

Who is right?

I recently had a conversation with a work colleague, we were talking about diversity & inclusion and why it’s so important to know what each of those words means as we move through our lives. Eventually the conversation led to a discussion about indigenous people (of which I am, and proudly announce whenever the opportunity arrives). What my colleague said next felt like a kick to my heart, it literally took my breath away and made my heart hurt. He said “I don’t understand why they need special treatment and to be given opportunity over others. They’ve been given plenty of money over the years, isn’t that enough?”

This statement lies at the crux of one belief – that indigenous people don’t deserve special treatment. That they have been given so much money over the years, that should make up for everything. The other belief is that the indigenous people are greatly misunderstood, and that they do need more understanding and support to keep moving forward. The reality is that the indigenous people need people to just listen. Period. Listen. Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond. Trying to convince them that what they feel isn’t valid does no service to anyone. We need to sit in their stories and their voices, listen to the pain that comes out when they talk rather than hearing just the words. As with any trauma, you don’t get to just get over it. You need to move through it and try to heal one piece at a time. Without healing there is no progress.

As I listened to this person talk I realized that I needed to listen to understand where he was coming from. I also knew I would not be able to change his mind in that moment. So I simply asked him to “listen to understand, not to respond”. My hope is that he will be more willing to listen to the stories, and less inclined to tell someone that what they feel is wrong.

The next time you are faced with this type of situation, please just stop and listen. You don’t have to agree with everything someone else says, you just need to try and understand where they are coming from and the life experiences that have led them to that perspective. Change doesn’t happen overnight but it can happen when we stop and just listen.

Jo xxox Read More

My Road

This morning I have been thinking of where I am in life, and what my road has looked like over the past several years. I don’t know that I could have predicted how far I would actually come if someone had asked me years ago “where do you see yourself in 10 years”.

Right about my mid twenties is when I went through one of the most difficult experiences I have ever had, even to this day. I had been progressing in my role and the opportunity came up to run my own store. Everyone around me kept telling me “you can do this, you are ready for this”, and I believed them. Even when I had some hesitations, I believed what they were saying and so I went for it. And it was disastrous. The store I went to did not want me in that role. The staff were not happy to have me there, having been together for years with the same Manager in place. One of the people on the staff made it her mission to make my time there absolutely miserable; she would go to my boss and tell him that I had already left for the day but she was still there. Never mind that I had been there since 6am. Slowly, she helped to erode his confidence in me. I didn’t really help myself either though. I didn’t have regular meetings with him to see how he was feeling about how I was doing. I didn’t have meetings with the staff to ask for their feedback and what they needed from me. I didn’t ask for help when I needed it. I just kept going, thinking everything was fine.

I went on a small vacation for a week and two days after I got back, my boss asked to meet with me before I left for the day. No problem, nothing seemed out of place. I walked into his office and sitting there was the head of HR. Now if you have never experienced this, it isn’t a good thing to see that person sitting there for a meeting that you have no idea about. My heart sank into my stomach and I knew I was getting fired. I was given two options for different positions in different stores, both well below my capabilities. If I chose neither of them, I was on my own. I called my old boss to tell her what happened and she immediately told me to come back to the store, she would find a position for me.

Let me tell you this, walking back into that store after being fired from my other job was the HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. Period. I had to give myself a 20 minute pep talk before I could even get out of my car. I had failed. I felt worthless. I felt ashamed. Defeated. But I eventually got out of my car, walked in, and got to work. Eventually those feelings started to fade but they were replaced with anger. I was so angry about what had happened TO me. Not really taking any responsibility for my role in the entire thing. I know it wasn’t all my fault, but with every experience there is a role that you play and you have to take responsibility for the actions you took or didn’t take that helped to lead you there. That’s when you really learn and grow. I happened across a book that really helped me through this time: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It was the one thing I needed to read to help me get over my anger. The thing with holding on to resentment and anger is that it will change who you are, the core of your being, if you let it. I didn’t like who I was becoming. So I did a lot of self reflection and working through my emotions, and I came out the other side a much wiser, and happier person.

Walking back into that store was the smartest thing I ever did. It led me to my current role where I get to support the entire region, do training, and work one-on-one with people to help them grow in their roles. This is my happy place. This is what I truly love doing. If had not had the courage to walk back into that store, I don’t know where I would be. Sometimes the hardest thing you will ever do, can be the one thing that will help you to grow the most. It can be the thing that takes you down a path you weren’t sure you would ever find. It can change your life.

If you are going through a hard time right now, hang in there. Reflect on what you need to learn, what this experience is teaching you. Take that power back, put yourself back in charge of your life and your destiny. It isn’t an easy thing to do, but the rewards can be absolutely amazing. And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it. There are people all around you that will jump in to help when you ask for it.

Until next time.

Jo xxox

Is This “Normal”?

The days seem to blend together, lately. Each day feeling much like the previous one did – so much to do and not enough time (or sometimes desire) to do it. Every afternoon hitting a wall that only a quick nap will fix. Every night spent falling into bed, exhausted and thinking about the next days tasks. It feels very hard to find daily enjoyment right now when this is how I feel everyday. This past weekend I spent playing catch up after being away for two weekends in a row (one for work, one for pleasure) – on these days it makes me wonder if this time away is always worth it?

I remember my parents being so busy when I was a kid. There was always work, activities, running supper out to the field, moving equipment, yard work, house work….always something that demanded their attention. I didn’t truly have an appreciation for this until I found myself in that same stage of life. There is so much to do, and it feels like you will never catch up. It makes me wonder if this is “normal” for this phase of life? When you have kids, a job, a business, pets, is there ever truly time for yourself or do you just push through until there are fewer people demanding something from you? And how do you still find enjoyment when you feel so incredibly busy and exhausted?

Each day I try to find a little moment for myself – lately it’s doing a workout in the morning even though that requires getting up at 5:30 am. Those quiet mornings where nobody else is pulling for my time or attention and I can focus on what I want to do are the happiness in my day. I find that this activity also helps me to relieve stress, making me a generally happier person for everyone else around me.

I don’t know what the answers are right now. I’m still trying to figure it all out, one day at a time. As long as I don’t forget that perfect is not an expectation, I suppose I’ll be alright. One day at a time, I live my “normal”.

It’s not you, it’s me….

About two and a half years ago, my cousin passed away quite suddenly (or at least it felt that way to me). I knew she had been sick for the past year but I also knew she was getting better. She had a bone marrow transplant which was supposed to be the turning point in her illness (it wasn’t cancer) but instead of making her better, she ended up dying. I still remember the phone call from my Mom. I had just arrived at the Farmer’s Market with my daughter and I was chatting with one of the Vendors that I was friendly with. My phone rang and it was my Mom – I love talking to my Mom so I picked it up. As soon as I heard her voice, I knew something was wrong. And then she told me my cousin had passed away that morning. I think I went into shock for the rest of the day; I sat in that booth and cried for about 20 minutes and managed to stop long enough to drive back home. I laid on the couch feeling the heaviness of the news on top of me. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it.

She was someone that I grew up with and was very close with as we became adults. As kids, we spent weeks together in the summer, one week at my house on the farm and one week at her house in the city. We played together as babies and were now raising babies at the same time. We had drifted apart a bit in the last couple of years, as tends to happen when you have a job and a family and a life. You think you have all the time in the world to catch up again….as soon as……I will always regret not spending more time catching up when we had the chance.

We were 35 years old….and she was gone. I didn’t have a chance to tell her I loved her, that I loved growing up with her, that I couldn’t wait to see her. That time was stolen away. To say this death shook me to my core is an understatement. She was the first person I had lost that I was really close to, that wasn’t a grandparent. It just felt different from losing a grandparent – they had already lived long, fulfilled lives. Death wasn’t supposed to happen to someone as young and vibrant as her. As I write this, it still brings tears to my cheeks. I still feel the pain of that phone call and that loss. Right or wrong, this loss still feels really fresh sometimes.

She was married and had three children. Two daughters that were 13 and 18 at the time, and a son that was only 3 years old. She had finally found the person she was meant to be with and they were so happy together. That was a long time coming, and she had a rough road getting there but she was still always so positive, happy, and grateful. And then she was gone.

I would often think of her kids, growing up without her and wonder how they were doing. I would think about her husband and wonder how he was getting through each day. And then one day I saw something on Facebook that made me stop. He was tagged in a picture with another woman. You could tell by the picture that this wasn’t just a friend. They were dating. My heart felt like it was breaking again. How could he be dating someone else already? How could he have moved on so fast? (this was about 6 months after my cousins passing). How could life be moving forward when she wasn’t here to enjoy it with?

I have learned to adjust to this change. To accept that everyone moves on in different ways and at different times. That it isn’t realistic to expect someone to spend their life alone just because you aren’t ready for them to move on. That it isn’t up to me to pass judgement on how I feel about how he is living his life. In my mind I know all of this. My heart is a little slower to catch up. When I catch a glimpse of his new love on Facebook, I still feel a twinge of sadness knowing that she is living the life my cousin never got to finish. It still doesn’t feel fair but I’m learning how to live with it. I know there will come a time when I will probably meet her, and I hope I am ready for that when it happens. For now, I keep a safe distance to protect my memories and protect my heart. For now – it’s not you, it’s me.


Unbalanced. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Often I don’t realize that’s what I’m feeling right away, I just know I feel “off”. When I finally sit down and think about it, or talk it out with someone, it will hit me; I feel unbalanced.

I’m lucky, I don’t feel like this all the time – maybe once a year. It’s usually a result of being pulled in 20 different directions and feeling like I need to be everything to everyone and make everyone around me happy. It’s a gradual thing, moving in so slowly that I don’t even know it’s there at first; lurking in the corner and waiting until I am at my weakest before it pounces.

I have a sister-in-law that I can talk to when I start feeling this way – I find it helps when I just vent a little bit and get things off my chest first. She’s great at giving advice and helping me to see where I can start the journey back to a more balanced life. Once I’ve had time to absorb what she has said, I get up and I start making things happen. One little thing at a time, I just start with the easiest changes first. Seeing progress, even if it’s just a small change, is motivating for me.

If you are feeling “off” and you can’t figure out why, take some time to talk to someone you trust. An outside perspective can help you to see things that you probably won’t see on your own. You have to be open to the feedback and willing to just listen to what the person is saying but I have always found it to be worth the time and it has helped me grow as a person. If we don’t take care of ourself, we won’t be able to take care of anyone else.

Love xxox

Trust Your Intuition

Fate, Intuition, Energy, Karma; all of these are words that reflect in my life. I have moments when I just know something is wrong, I can feel it in my soul. Sometimes I will reach out to the person I am feeling these things about, sometimes I won’t. It really depends on how well I know them and how well I think my attention will be received. Most of the time I am right in feeling that something is off and sometimes I am able to help or simply be a shoulder to lean on/an ear to listen.

Learning to trust your intuition is a journey in itself – you first have to trust yourself and love yourself before you can ever tap into this part of you. Reaching out and asking if someone needs help can be a hard thing to do, especially if you have been rejected or rebuffed in the past. Lately, my intuition has been telling me that someone I love dearly is in big trouble and with that feeling have been signs that I am on the right track. The hard part is knowing how to act on it and when it’s really serious. Today was the day to act. Today was the day I offered my help. Today was the day when I probably saved this persons life. That hit me pretty hard. There are so many times you reach out and once you talk to the person you see that things weren’t as bad as you maybe thought they were. Things were as bad as I thought they were and once this person told me I had saved their life, all of the intensity of this moment just came pouring out of my eyes.

I don’t know exactly what the next steps look like, we will figure that out together in the next few days. I do know that I’m glad I offered help. I’m glad it was accepted. I’m glad I trusted my intuition. If you ever feel that twinge, that sense, that feeling like something just isn’t right with someone, please listen to it. You may just save a life.


What Happens Next?

By September of 2017 I felt more like myself again…feeling no more pain, able to finally walk, run, sit, do whatever I wanted without having to think about how long I could stand it for. Back to normal, so it would seem. The thing was, I was still taking a nerve blocker to help manage the pain. I started to wonder if now was the time to talk to my Doctor about weaning myself off of this drug; I remembered when I started taking it I was told I would have to slowly wean myself off of it, it would not be an overnight change. I wasn’t told much more about it, just that this was something that would help me get back to my life when I was in such intense pain. In that moment, if someone tells you this will work, you don’t hesitate to take it. Anything to make the constant pain disappear.

I started to cut back my dose in October, lowering the amount each month a little at a time. To be completely honest, I had a lot of anxiety around this; I didn’t realize I had become so dependent on this medication to get through my daily life. I’m not normally one to feel anxious or unsure about things so this was a surprising feeling for me. The first few days of my first adjustment were really tough days for me. Every twinge I felt had me afraid that this pain was coming back. Wondering if maybe I hadn’t healed as much as I thought I had….and I did feel some residual pain for that first week. Looking back I know now this was just because my nerves were starting to fire again and it takes a bit for your body to adjust to any kind of change like that. But the anxiety was a lot for me to manage and I started to wonder if I had made a mistake taking this medication in the first place. I was also a little bit angry that my Doctor hadn’t properly explained what it would be like to come off of the medication.

By December I was medication free, and all of a sudden it felt like I had never been taking it. I started to realize my body still had healing to do….I had muscles I had used very little over the past several months and all of a sudden I was trying to use them on a daily basis. My body would protest in small ways – short shots of pain running down my leg if I over did things, tenderness in my back if I spent too much time on my feet, muscles spasms in my left leg from my knee and all the way down my calf (at really random times like when I was sleeping at night), small reminders that I still had some work to do. Exercise was scary for me because of what it had led to last time so I was hesitant to add it back into my daily life and really took my time getting back into things.

Today, I am now able to do my daily walks again (usually they are about 3-3.5km), I can do lower body workouts without having leg spasms, I can do weights, I can use the elliptical, I can run, kneel, jog, really whatever I need to do. This healing took way longer than I expected it too and perhaps I would have recovered sooner if I had pushed myself a bit more but I really felt I needed to honour how I was feeling inside and not push myself too fast.

The final side-effect of this entire journey is that I lost a lot of ground with my physical health. My muscle mass really decreased and as a result I gained some weight. It’s a little strange when you can’t do anything about it for the better course of a year – really does teach you to let go of control and just let things happen, something that can be really hard for a lot of people. I have been learning to accept my body as it is, be okay with where I am right now, wear clothing that I feel good in, and have patience with myself as I learn all of this. I am by no means perfect but I’m working on loving myself a little more every single day – I don’t see how that can ever be a bad thing.

Lesson #5 – Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter what the situation is. Even is the person telling you to do something is highly educated, it doesn’t mean you can’t still question things. You are sometimes the only advocate for your life and the experiences you have – the more you know, the better prepared you can be.

Lesson #6 – Have compassion for other people. You don’t ever know what someone else is going through in their life. Chronic pain can really change how you are and how you behave; this really opened my eyes to the reality that people live like this ever day. There is no pill they can take to take the pain away….it has made me incredibly grateful for the life that I live and the freedom that I experience every single day.

Remember to have patience with yourself, whatever journey you are traveling in that moment. Everything will come together as it is supposed to, just have patience and trust in yourself. Everyone is worthy of self-love, and that is an important message to remember when you have people pushing you down every day. Remember who you are and always assume positive intent.

Until next time.

Jo xxox.

The Journey Back to Movement

Part II

Having just realized how much pain I was really in and that I did need some help, I now had to figure out what my next steps should be. I didn’t know the first thing about how to help heal my sciatica so what did I do? I went to Dr Google of course. Doing a google search of any kind of illness or health issue can send you down a very deep rabbit hole if you aren’t careful; often what comes up first is the “worst case scenario” surely intended to scare the crap out of you. That’s how I felt when I first started looking at the information. Reading about people who have been suffering this pain for YEARS really put a fear in me….and then I pulled myself back and told myself that I shouldn’t assume worst case and that I first had to figure out the root cause of my pain.

I first started by going to my chiropractor and telling him what I had been experiencing. He recommended I start coming by about 3x a week for a couple of weeks so we could see how things went. For the first few weeks, I felt like I was getting better with each visit and thought “well, this will be over in no time”. Not so fast. After about 3 weeks the pain started to return. After one last visit I realized that this was no longer helping and I was now falling deeper into the pain spiral. I quickly realized this was happening because my muscles were so tight that they were pinching my nerve off and realized I would have to do something more drastic. So I started acupuncture treatment. Most people cringe the minute they hear the word “needle” but it has been a treatment that has helped more times than I can count and I recommend it to many people as an alternative that really isn’t considered often enough.

I happened to have a friend that is an acupuncturist so I called her up and explained what was happening and we scheduled an appointment. After my first treatment she said my muscles were extremely tight and it was going to take some time to progress through this. I started going once a week hoping that if I was consistent with the treatment it would help me get back on my feet again. The second thing I did was make an appointment to see my doctor and explain what was happening. She confirmed that I did have sciatica and was able to prescribe a nerve blocker to help me get back on my feet. With both the prescription and the acupuncture I was hoping that I would soon be on the mend. I need to digress a bit here to explain a few background pieces – at this point I could not drive myself anywhere. I could not sit up for any length of time, I could only stand for about a minute before the pain became so intense that my legs would give out, the only relief was when I was lying on a hard surface on my back. So I spent the majority of February laying in bed and my husband would drive me to all my appointments that I needed to get to. While my husband was driving, I would lay my seat all the way down so I wouldn’t be in pain. When we would arrive, I had to think about how far away I was parked from the door and how long it would take me before I could lay down again. Every movement took so much thought and planning it was exhausting. I could no longer pick the kids up at school, go to the grocery store, make supper, clean the house, do the laundry, walk the dog, I was completely dependant on someone else to get everything done. Even putting on my shoes was a lot of work and I often had to lay down partway through in order to relieve the stress on my back. If you have never experienced debilitating pain like this, I hope you never do – I wouldn’t wish this feeling on anyone.

The good news? The acupuncture started to work. Before long I was able to drive short distances as long as I had my seat tilted back a bit so I wasn’t sitting straight up. I know that the nerve blocker was certainly helping as well, the combination for me seemed to help me get to a point where I could participate in my own life again. When you have been relegated to laying in bed all day because you can’t do anything else, this is a huge accomplishment. I still had to plan things out very carefully – I would drive to the grocery store up the road and then lay back in my seat for five minutes until the pain dissipated. I would then go inside and grab the few things I needed as fast as I could (walking fast was impossible at this point) and then checkout as quickly as I could. By the time I was back at my car I would need to lay down again for 5-10 minutes until the pain disappeared again. By the end of March, I was able to stand on my feet for a couple of hours at a time, though sitting was still difficult for me. This felt like a huge accomplishment.

As the months progressed, things just continued to get better. By the beginning of May I was feeling very little pain but I was still a long way from the end of the journey. I went to an acupuncture appointment one Friday and all of a sudden I was feeling intense pain again the next day. Somehow, the acupuncture had stopped helping and had started hurting. So I stopped going to acupuncture and decided my body was just telling me to take a break and give my body time to heal without any other intervention. It took a few weeks to get back to the point where I wasn’t feeling the pain anymore but time and patience got me there. I was still on medication at this point so I’m sure that was a big part of why I was feeling so little pain but I wasn’t ready to lose my crutch just yet, and I don’t think my body was ready for it either.

One thing I did realize, I really enjoy moving. It doesn’t matter what that movement looks like, I just like having the freedom to move when I want and where I want. When this is taken away from you, all of a sudden you realize how much you appreciate it. Getting back to movement on a regular basis was such a huge milestone for me – celebrating these milestones became very important to me. It meant I was moving forward and getting better. It was something I could measure my progress against. This really helped me keep my mind in a positive place.

Lesson #3: Chronic Pain changes your life. You become a different person; you feel helpless, you feel like you are bothering the people that need to help you do your daily tasks. Having experienced chronic pain has given me a completely different appreciation for how much this can change someones life. Often they will not say how bad the pain is but if you really pay attention, you will see it in their eyes. I have more compassion for people that live with this, who can’t find a “quick fix” like I did with acupuncture and medication.

Lesson #4: Patience is required. I have always considered myself to be a patient person, and then I had kids….haha. And then I had to journey through chronic pain and recovery. Hoping this would be a small blip in my world, I soon learned this would be a much longer journey. I had to be patient with myself and my body. I had to be patient with my expectations of what I was physically able to do, and be okay with a more limited reality of what I could actually do. I had to be patient with people around me, knowing that they really couldn’t understand how much pain I was in and that was okay. I had to be patient with my mind and give myself permission to have good days and bad days. I’m still working on the patience piece, probably always will, but I believe that we are given certain experiences that we need for our souls to learn new lessons.

The final part in this series will be about the final months of recovery and where I am at today. Thank you for taking some time to read about my life and my lessons. I hope they will help someone who really needs them.

Until next time.

jo. xxox.