I was only 17 years old when my life changed in an instant. A drunk driver hit our car head on. It was 1978 – pre seatbelt laws – and I was asleep in the back seat of the car, not strapped in.
I don’t remember the accident itself but I regained consciousness hearing my brother calling to me, trying to pull me out of the driver seat window. I fell on the highway pavement, feeling confused and disorientated. Sounds and light were distorted and everything seemed like it was in slow motion. I fainted.
Later after cleaning and stitching up my eye, an officer came to visit me. He told me that we were all lucky to be alive and that someone “up there” was watching out for us because no one should have survived.
I will never forget that moment because it changed my life. I could have been gone in an instant but I wasn’t. I’m fortunate to be alive and I would look at life differently forever.
An Attempt to Recover
During the night in a small country hospital I started to feel ill. I crawled out of bed and staggered to the bathroom where I crouched over the toilet endlessly sick to my stomach. It seemed like I was there forever.
A nurse found me on the bathroom floor, returned me to my bed and it was later confirmed that I had two hairline fractures in my skull, concussion, whiplash and strained muscles in my neck and shoulders.
Once home, with each passing day I seemed to feel worse. My head felt like it was exploding. I experienced light and sound sensitivity, along with balance issues. Worst of all, I couldn’t seem to remember things.
I was afraid to tell anyone that I couldn’t remember what just happened five minutes ago but even worse I couldn’t remember parts of my past. My anxiety escalated and my mood sank. I was lost and felt like I was sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Our family doctor recommended I get away and relax and let the healing naturally happen.
A Temporary Move To Florida
I was fortunate that my parents had a winter home in Florida and they made an executive decision to take me there for a few months to relax and recover. After a couple of weeks of lounging on the couch my intuition told me to get up and start moving.
I put on big sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to keep the sunlight out and went for a walk. I started slow, but over the weeks I got faster and noticed that walking made me feel better. I was briskly walking and pumping my heart and it made my head feel better. I couldn’t wait until I could run again.
I could see and feel that I was making progress.
Testing My Brain Capacity
I decided to ask the local college if I could monitor a class to see if I could handle the brain work and stress load. I was nervous not only due to the brain injury but because I am also dyslexic – a double whammy!
I took a tape recorder to class and recorded each lecture. Then I’d return home and rewind the tape recorder endlessly, writing down word for word in long hand. It took hours! I’d then make cue cards with bullets of information and take them on a walk and start memorizing them.
Achieving Beyond My Wildest Expectations
Eventually, I asked the school if I could start taking the classes for credit and they accepted me. It was a long road but eventually I earned a B.A. in Chemistry and subsequently a B.S. in Medical Technology.
I studied health sciences, familiarizing myself with every piece of knowledge I could, hoping to make myself feel healthier. I’ve always been an advocate of, “If something’s wrong, do something about it,” and asking myself, “What is one small step I can make today that will improve the situation?”
That is how I approached my healing journey and it led me back to full health.
Turning My Experience Into Service
During my time in the US, I met my husband and we had two kids. I was a stay at home mom and I loved every minute of it. Eventually, as children do, they grew up, moved out and started their new, adult lives.
I was faced with the question many mothers have faced before me, “Now what do I want to do with my time?” I was turning 40 and had little job experience. My husband suggested I start my own business helping others find their way to better health, doing what I did for myself.
It was a great idea but that goal seemed huge and unattainable. I decided that my first small step was to become a certified fitness trainer. I then took a job running a women’s gym in the mornings, five days a week. From there I spent my pay cheques on courses earning certifications until I was ready to open Body Innovations.
I feel fortunate being able to spend my time helping people find their way to feeling and living their best life. This isn’t a job – it’s a way of life.
Out of a horrible experience came a wonderful life.
What you just read, changed and shaped my life in ways that I would have never dreamed. It continues to do so to this day. I am excited to share my message with others and have done so on many occasions. If my journey resonates with you and you’d like to discuss a speaking opportunity please reach out