Susan: Healing my Body with Pilates

Dancing with Fear

It has been well over a year since I posted to my Blog as my well of capacity ran dry and I needed to stop to focus on taking better emotional and spiritual care of myself.  I needed to be quiet as I continued to heal.

I know many of you do not see me on a daily or weekly basis so an update:  I am walking most of the time without the use of a cane; I fit into my clothes again; my hair has grown back and sometimes I can wear a regular flat shoe and not a sneaker (I still have a goal to wear platforms again one day:))  I continue to increase my Pilates teaching hours, take two Pilates lessons a week with June and have added ballroom dancing to my physical rehabilitation.  My leadership consulting and coaching business, New Leadership Distinctions, continues to grow.  Unfortunately, I continue to suffer with neuropathic pain and spasticity from my knees to my toes on a fairly constant basis- a source of exhaustion. I am trying alternative methods to heal including acupuncture and hypnosis hoping to turn burning pain into a burning desire. 

Fear and courage continue to swirl as partners in a search for balance in my life. The value of balance in life is talked about so much today-  eat a well balanced meal, live a balanced life, strive for work life balance.  Achieving balance in life can be an attribute of a person who is able to lead their life vs. life leading them. Balance can make the world sensible, known, safe and secure- the opposite of chaos.  Who wants chaos in their life?  With chaos thrust upon me two years ago I felt kidnapped, my balance was hijacked, the scales tipped against me. And even worse who I took myself to be was thrown to the wind with no desirable replacement in clear sight.   Fear took control and I often believed that I was in a win/lose scenario where I was the loser. I felt afraid that I would never walk with ease again, stand without falling, be able to hold a child in my arms safely, walk on the beach with my feet in the ocean, climb a mountain, walk a cobblestone street, navigate through a crowd of people in a restaurant to be able to get to the rest room on my own, live a full day without pain... ever again in my lifetime.  I believed that I had been abandoned by the universe leaving me forever in chaos. 

In these two years I have learned and grown so much.  One thing I have learned is to dance with my fears.  This has allowed me to re-calibrate and find balance again in my life.  There are not many of us that want to admit that we are afraid.  I had to do this to move myself forward and heal.  I had to see, feel and voice my fears opening my heart to them- not hiding them behind a wall of bravado or victimization or depression. This continues to be work in progress(a continual discovery), a dance with fear, as I realize that I am often telling myself a story, living into it and allowing myself to be kidnapped.  I am learning that being vulnerable is a starting place for great courage to arise.  My fears are present but do not have to be in control.  I have fallen many times, I stumble often and I wobble with many steps. Many of you see this happen to me.  I am afraid of being in a crowd of people and not being able to keep my balance- falling- AND afraid of what others think of me- some shame here I must admit- afraid that others think I am less capable, "disabled", having "something wrong with me". There are two kinds of fear operating here for me: a very real struggle with my physical balance and a created story in my mind.  I have control over both of these.  I do protect myself physically(my physical balance) and I notice, allow and work through my "stories of fear"(my figurative balance).  Finding my figurative balance is hard work, harder than my physical balance.  I have to allow fear and courage to dance together and this dance requires practice.  The more I practice the more my courage tips the scales in my favor and I find some balance. 

Have you ever thought about dancing with your fears- the ones that keep you chained and cloud possibilities in life?  The day I made the decision to dance with my fear is the day that I became unchained from my wheelchair, walker and cane opening up the possibility of my finding myself once again.  I often think about myself as "rising from the ashes".  Clearly burning is an intimate part of my life.  I am rising up to change the game-from win/lose to win/win!  For me this is a new paradigm of healing and well being.  It continues to amaze me that my struggle, my suffering that threw me off balance, to the wind, seemingly chained to a lost life has given me this opportunity.

 God's blessings to you all.  Glad to be back!  Susan

Watch me Box and Remember the Dragonflies

It has been a while since I have connected with you all.  Honestly writing to you is work for me.  I am forced to face my feelings and stories about what happened and is happening in my life.  So like most of us, I procrastinate sometimes. 

As you know I have been doing therapy four times a week- two Pilates therapies and two traditional therapies.  In my traditional physical therapy we work on similar things just in some (not always) different ways.  Balance, gait, strength, flexibility and coordination all included. My Pilates therapy is twice a week with June Hines now- Tuesdays and Saturdays.

I am often pleased with my progress.  I am often frustrated with my inability to do what was once so easy.  My emotions before, during and after therapy (traditional and Pilates) consequently are "all over the place".  And I feel very vulnerable!  As I promised, I want to be real and authentic with you.  To that end I am sharing a video with you of me boxing as part of my traditional PT. This is very hard for me to share with you...ugh...even as I write this I do not want you to see it.  It is so difficult to hold myself with love and compassion as I watch it and not with criticality!  This boxing is difficult AND exhilarating at the same time.  AND it has made me aware of how much anger I am carrying about this journey.  AND how liberating it is to release the anger in a healthy way. 

My therapist, R.J., jokes that one of these times I am going to miss those pads in his hands and get him in the stomach...and he is scared:)! I hope you enjoy it and it brings a smile to your face.  The harness that they attach me to is a fabulous tool and great fun...like a swing from my younger years.  I laugh every time I am able to swing when I fall.

My Pilates client, Lisa Hynson, sent me a card that I have kept on my desk with this saying that I share with you as I close:

"Dragonfly: Having flown the earth for 300 million years, dragonflies symbolize our ability to overcome times of hardship.  They remind us to take time to reconnect with our own strength, courage and happiness."

Unstiffen Your Supple Body

 

Unstiffen your supple body, unchatter your quiet mind, unfreeze your fiery heart. ~Celeste West

This quote hangs on a little card at my desk and I read it almost every day.   I understand it in this way: my body facilitates my living life mindfully and with love - a worthy daily reminder.  Because my body has changed so much since my surgery we (my body and I) have been on a journey of discovery these days.  Here is what I have uncovered:

Supple is an interesting word.  Webster's defines it this way:

  • able to bend or twist easily; easy and fluent without stiffness or awkwardness. 

My body(we) lived up to that definition prior to surgery...now we struggle with it to say the least.  Bending and twisting and moving with ease and flow just does not happen. My body is constantly stiff, contracted and awkward in movement.  Most of this is due to unrelenting spasms in my hip flexors, quads, calves and feet.  And, of course the stiffness causes pain in my lower back.  Misery...total misery. 

Open the door to Pilates and I go from misery to relief. I am struck by the genius of Joe and his understanding of the power of lengthening - the relief that comes physically and emotionally with elongation.  It is almost as if "I get out of my own way" and allow...yes allow is the distinctive word...my body to reach for what it needs.  Rather than grasping and pushing and driving my body, I allow it to relax with intention.  You might call it "not fighting the river".  This is work for me, folks!  I am a driver and a pusher.  I want to get it done, done now and done well.  And I want to be the best.  Sound familiar to anyone else?  Allowing and lengthening is harder work than pushing and driving.  And if there is contraction to be had, it must be distinctive and pointed and balanced with the lengthening.   The Pilates work that we have all embarked upon whether we have an injury or not is mentally, emotionally and physically challenging in a unique way.

Pilates gives me (us...my body and soul) the chance to feel supremely better; more open to life; more vital and less anxious.  This is healing.  I can respond to life.    And..

Unchatter my quiet mind and

Unfreeze my fiery heart!

God's blessings to you in 2016!  With mindfulness and love,

Susan

 

 

 

To the dragons in our lives...

Well here I am again with another posting!  A favorite book of mine, Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, 1904.  Very poignant for this time in my life.  I trust you will enjoy this.

…”For if we imagine this being of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it is obvious that most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth.  In this way they have a certain security.  And yet how much more human is the dangerous insecurity that drives those prisoners in Poe’s stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their cells.  We, however, are not prisoners.  No traps or snares have been set around us, and there is nothing that should frighten or upset us.  We have been put into life as into the element we most accord with, and we have, moreover, through thousands of years of adaptation, come to resemble this life so greatly that when we hold still, through a fortunate mimicry we can hardly be differentiated from everything around us.  We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us.  If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them.  And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience.  How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses?  Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and couragePerhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, 1904.

Thanksgiving Blessings: A Poem to Share

 

Even in the Struggle

Even in the struggle, you are loved.  You are being loved not in spite of the hardship, but through it.  The thing you see as wrenching, intolerable, life's attack on you, is an expression of love.
There is the part of us that fears and protects and defends and expects, and has a story of the way it's supposed to turn out.  That part clenches in fear, feels abandoned and cursed.
There is another part, resting at the floor of the well within, that understands: this is how I am being graced, called, refined, by fire.
The secret is, it's all love.  It's all doorways to truth. It's all opportunity to merge with what is.
Most of us don't step through the doorframe.  We stay on the known side.  We fight the door, we fight the frame, we scream and hang on.
On the other side, you are one with the earth, like the mountain.  You hum with life, like the moss.  On the other side, you are more beautiful: wholeness in your bones, wisdom in your gaze, the sage-self and the surrendered heart alive.
~Tara Sophia Mohr, Your Other Names
May you find peace and contentment, wholeness in your bones and wisdom in your gaze this Thanksgiving.  Love, Susan

Gratitude and the Unfolding of Grace

I have a little angel card that I keep on my nightstand with one word on it- GRACE.  I have had it there for 3 years and I look at it every day.  I remember commenting to Sarita, my wise coach, guide and teacher, how elusive Grace was for me.  She in her wisdom said nothing. 

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This week I visited the Princeton studio for the first time since the beginning of April.  I felt strong enough to take a lesson with Anthony Rabara who has been my weekly teacher for many years. I have missed him so!  By the way, when I walk into his studio I am suddenly transformed from “Susan “ to “Rosie”.  From the first time he taught me many years ago, he has called me “Rosie”.  As a matter of fact, no one in the studio, clients or teachers, knows me as Susan.  And I am now conditioned to respond to the call of my new name, Rosie.  

The lesson with Anthony was not without tears - Tears of relief, tears of love and tears of gratitude.  If you had asked me before my surgery what emotions I would be experiencing most if I was devastated by a spinal cord injury I am sure gratitude would not have been my first answer.  I wonder if it would have been included in the answer at all.  Anger, sadness, fear, frustration…yes…gratitude…? I don’t think so.

Thankfully I am here to tell you that although those emotions were certainly present, gratitude was as well- maybe even more than the other feelings.  As I write this I question myself- am I being honest with you?  Yes, I do believe I am. 

What I have come to learn is that practicing gratitude does not ignore the harsh realities of life; in fact, it accepts them and encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life as well.  As I looked deeper into where this goodness originated I realized that all of my answers came from outside sources- my family, friends, doctors and nurses; my therapists, pets, clients and fellow patients.  It included my time at home to appreciate my beautiful yard- the flowers, trees, baby birds and delicious tomatoes that were planted for me while I was still in the rehab hospital; the opportunity to be a passenger in the car instead of the driver which allowed me to appreciate the beauty of the sky, the stars, the sunsets and the clouds; and my pilates preparation and recovery work with June, Wendy and Anthony.  Yes, I was dealt a raw deal and I was given a gift.  Gratitude has humbled me and helped me to acknowledge that other people and my higher power have given me many gifts, big and small, to bring goodness into my life- even in the face of this devastation.

To this end I share with you a few links.  The first is to a TEDx talk given by Louie Schwartsberg, acclaimed filmmaker, on Gratitude.  It is only 9 minutes long and I encourage you not to miss it. 

http://ed.ted.com/on/VlPapRv6#watch

The second is a link to The Greater Good Science Center’s recent publication of Gratitude Revealed.  It is a … “journey into the science, mystery and pursuit of the building blocks of gratitude.  It is a series of 15 film shorts released in 2015, exploring what gratitude is, why it’s important and what we can all do to live more gracious lives.“  Please do take the time to watch and listen.  I imagine that many of you, like me, will bookmark this site as a wonderful reminder of the preciousness of human life.

http://gratituderevealed.com/

I never want to re-live the suffering of the last 6 months and as I have told you before I know that I am more connected to myself, others and our planet because of it .  I do believe I am beginning to sense and understand grace.  Thank you for remaining silent, Sarita.  

I trust you will take the time to enjoy and unfold. Your comments bring me great joy. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sending loving wishes your way,   Susan

The Dark and the Light

I am committed to being honest and authentic with you each week which means I must have the courage to share my struggles as well as my successes. The beginning of last week was extremely rough for me.  My well ran dry and I lost my desire to fight the every day battle.    Everything just felt too hard to do.  I was so tired of being in constant discomfort.  Honestly, I felt like it would be easier to die.  I certainly knew it would be more peaceful.  There are not many people to whom I can express this truth.  When I feel this way I feel guilty. There is a voice inside my head that scolds me - "after all I am so much better off than so many others"!  And when I feel this way I feel angry.  I ask myself if I am working through some bad karma from many lifetimes ago???  Suffering evokes so many difficult emotions.  Last week I read a quote from Nelson Mandela that struck a chord: "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies".

Well, with some help from some wise friends I worked through that rough patch and ended my week taking a lesson with Lori Coleman-Brown, our guest teacher and a PT from Seattle.  Lori has not seen me since the surgery.  What a gift to have her work with me.  And, wow, I was able to do some things with her that I have not tried since I was healthy.  I did the Airplane on the Cadillac, the Pull-Up on the Wunda Chair and the whole Short Box on the Barrel, including the tree.  I felt a tiny bit afraid but I knew that she would not let me try anything that she did not think I could handle.  I was overjoyed after our lesson. I felt vital again.  I am so thrilled to share these photos with you.

I felt so successful and for one of the first times felt like I might be able to get back to where I was before my surgery. Of course, I understand that I will never be the same.  Physically I am sure I will struggle with many things that used to be relatively easy.  And...emotionally and spiritually I know that I am and will continue be better and better!  More compassionate, loving, thankful and connected to our shared humanity- The whole world is God's suffering as Carl Jung said.

That's all for this week.  I am broken open enough.  Vulnerability is hard to do, yes?

Here is a poem for you by C. Rondeaux:

A soul unfolds in light

petals seeking warmth are met

sometimes with thunderstorms

raging winds or desert heat

how delicate are they

to survive each element

and bloom again

and again

seeking always to unfold

Susan

"The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are." ~Carl Jung

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The Basic Building Blocks

Hello again!  I am happy to be back with you.  I will try to make my entries a little shorter now that you all are caught up on my journey. 

The basics have never been so hard!  My good friend Lynn Welden who has taken Pilates with us always said, "Pilates is not for Sissys".  I understand that more than I ever thought I would!  I have been taking lessons as part of my recovery since the end of May.  I take a lesson with Wendy Norelli at Good Shepherd on Tuesday and a lesson with June Hines in Doylestown on Saturday every week. They are encouraging, understanding and challenging with me.  Each time I leave their lesson I am once again solidified in my belief in the healing power of Pilates and the benefit of instruction from a well trained teacher.

That is us in the photo:) This is one of the few photos that I have allowed to be taken since my surgery and I am sharing it with you all.  As you can imagine, it has been difficult for me to see myself in photos since the surgery.  Baby steps forward each day!. 

That is us in the photo:) This is one of the few photos that I have allowed to be taken since my surgery and I am sharing it with you all.  As you can imagine, it has been difficult for me to see myself in photos since the surgery.  Baby steps forward each day!. 

Footwork was one of the first exercises I attempted.  My right side is not healing as quickly as my left which manifests as limited strength and flexion in my right leg/ankle/foot.  This affects my ability to walk as I continually catch my right toes on the ground when I take a step forward. So  footwork on the reformer began with the arch position only.  And even in this position the instructor had to hold my right foot on the footbar. Initially I could only move the carriage on 2 springs.  As of last week I have progressed to doing the entire footwork series on my own, 3 springs with just a little assistance to keep my right foot on the footbar!  I am gaining strength, coordination and confidence. Last Monday I had a lesson with Rodrigo from Brazil. 

Rodrigo reminded me that the footwork is also stimulating the nerves in my feet and giving feedback to my spinal cord and brain. 

From the footwork I move onto the One Hundred holding the straps and keeping my knees bent and legs up in the air.  This is quite a feat for me!  When I left the hospital at the beginning of June I still could not hold my right leg up in the air on my own.  I do lift my head now which helps me to feel the work more in my powerhouse. You probably don't have to rest after these two exercises but I do!  I am happy for a chance to get off of the reformer to set up for another exercise!

On the Reformer here are additional exercises I attempt right now:

Coordination, Frog and Leg Circles, Short Box using the Magic Circle to help me with the Tree, Stomach Massage (which is tremendously difficult because I am so stiff), Elephant, only the Round for Knee Stretches, Running and Pelvic Lift.  I can honestly say that none of them are easy!

What other exercises do you think I might be able to attempt in the studio?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time, sending you love, Susan

"To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower." ~William Blake

Pilates without the Pilates Studio...

The first week after my surgery was spent in the ICU.  I needed a lot of pain control back then and they were more than happy to accommodate me. In my narcotic stupor I clearly remember having a conversation with my body.   I thanked my body for taking such good care of me for so long.  I apologized to my body for not knowing how hard it had to work to keep my tumor at bay for so many years.  And I told my body I was grateful that it had waited till then to let the tumor win out.  I was in the best physical, emotional and spiritual health of my life to handle this devastation.  (For your understanding the medical term for the mass within my spinal cord is a "cavernoma".  It was essentially a ganglia of capillaries.  For purposes of this Blog, I will call it a "tumor".)

I didn't realize it at first but they had a camera on me all of the time in the ICU!  So the one day, my nurse came in and commented on the exercises I was doing in bed with my arms and upper body...I was trying to do some modified Rowing:).  I couldn't sit up or stand up or move my legs but I could use my arms and Rowing seemed to be my best choice!  That was the extent of my exercising in the hospital until I got to Good Sheperd two weeks later. 

The first thing my Good Sheperd therapist did with me was an assessment.  It was scary, humbling and painful.  The ONLY thing I could access below my breastbone were some highly compromised abdominal muscles.  My pelvis was so numb that sitting up felt like I was perched on a rock.  I looked like I was 7 months pregnant and movement in my torso was almost non-existent.  I was fully numb from the upper legs to the toes.  My physical therapist, Julie, sat me up on the edge of a raised mat and tested my core strength by trying to push me from one side to the other asking me to stabilize using any muscles that I could find.  No hands...I could do it...I found some abs somehow!  Pilates had not totally left me.  She was impressed which made me feel great. She wanted to know if I had worked out a lot before my surgery.  So I told her-about Pilates-about my teaching and being taught.  From then on everyone knew me as the Pilates Instructor. 

My progress was painfully slow.  One week after I arrived at Good Sheperd Julie stood me up at the parallel bars. I could not feel my feet on the ground.  She put a full length mirror in front of me so that I could see that I was standing on the ground.  She told me that I was ready to take some steps.  I told her no way!  I was terrified.  We went back and forth for a minute or so until she finally asked me if I was ready.  Reluctantly I shook my head yes.  Trust me, there were no thoughts of Pilates as I tried this!  No doubt I held my breath as I tried to move one foot then the other forward gripping the bars for support.  I took three steps with each foot and then collapsed in the wheelchair.  I hung my head in my hands and cried.  The other patients in the therapy room clapped and yelled "Bravo".  It was my birthday and I had given myself the best present I could have ever received!  When I got back to my room I called Kevin and Lauren, my mom, Tom...every single one of them cried along with me!

From that moment on I began to use the walker in therapy.  Julie would hold onto me as I walked and I would talk to myself...'in and up with my belly; am I centered over my hips; am I slumped; how are my shoulders; breathe"! There was not one piece of it that was automatic.  They would chuckle because I would say what they were about to say.  And If I missed the correction, Kevin, my son, was right there to let me know what needed to be fixed!  Pilates by osmosis.  He was on it!

I loved to ride the bike.  My legs felt energized and I could sit and not stand to do it!  Even riding the bike was a Pilates experience!  I would watch my right knee roll inward as I pedaled...."Have got to fix that", I would tell Kevin.  "Out of alignment."  I kept thinking it...unfortunately it was many weeks before I could actually control that knee.

Speaking from my heart, I must tell you that it was incredibly devastating.  Every little movement was exhausting.  So many movements were unreachable.  One day not long after I got to Good Sheperd I was leaving the cafeteria in my wheelchair and I decided that I wanted to bring an apple back to my room.  I had to place it in my lap to bring it back since I needed my hands to wheel myself back to my room.  When I got about 30ft. from my room the apple fell out of my lap.  No one else was in the hallway.  I looked down at it on the floor and was totally helpless.  I could not even bend down to pick it up.  I left it there- I didn't ring for anyone to pick it up for me.  I was so angry I just left it sitting in the middle of the hallway.  I wheeled back to my room and cried.  So many things had been taken away from me.  I was overwhelmed by the road in front of me.  Working on the Cadillac or Reformer was unimaginable back then and I would only allow myself to think about it for a second.  It was too terrifying and depressing.  I went into emotional lockdown.  I was in a war and every day was a battle.  

Thankfully now I use the Reformer and Cadillac.  My body knows "the work". It understands and longs for the balance of lengthening and contracting.  Next week I will tell you what I am doing and I will show you some modified Pilates exercises I am trying.  None of it is easy.  I am still quite compromised but I am gaining strength and coordination each day.   

I thank you for reading my story.  Each entry helps me to heal just a little bit more!

Sending you love and gratitude, Susan

"The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness-even our wholeheartedness- actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls." ~Brene Brown, Rising Strong

 

 

My Courageous Journey

Dear Friends,

I have never written a Blog before.  This is a Pilates Blog and a Gratitude Blog.  This Blog is part of my healing as I share with you the most difficult and inspirational journey of my life.  I am grateful to have the chance to do this and I am grateful for my Pilates training as it helped to prepare me and is helping to sustain me and heal me during this difficult time of my life.

Many of you know me and some of you do not.  I spend most of my time teaching at the Doylestown Studio.  Perhaps those of you who do not know me have heard about my ordeal that began in April.  On April 13th I had a tumor removed from the center of my spinal cord (at T6).  Thankfully it was benign.  How ironic for an individual who has spent the last 15 years taking care of her spine through the art and practice of Pilates!

I must thank all of you who have sent me cards, notes, flowers, books and goodies!  I am tremendously grateful for your thoughtfulness and love.  Your energy and love was a large part of my healing.  I must also apologize for being insulated and protected during this time.  Although I wanted to thank each and every one of you personally, I did not have the capacity to pick up the phone or even write a note.  As a matter of fact, I turned my phone ringer off for two months.  Quite a feat in this day and age!

Many of you know that I spent 7 weeks in inpatient rehab at Good Sheperd Rehabilitation Hospital.  During this time I had to learn to walk again.  No one could tell me if I would ever walk again.  I had therapy every day for 3 hours.  In between therapy I slept.  I have never been so sick in my 57 years.  I have never been so vulnerable that I can remember.  If not for my caring nurses, therapists, doctors, family and close friends I think I would have died. 

Everyone at Good Sheperd knew that I taught Pilates.  Everyone agreed that my knowledge (that which was held in my head, heart and body) of Pilates would tremendously help my recovery.  They were all correct.  However, in the beginning, the path ahead of me was overwhelming.  I could not stand up, I could barely sit up, and could not feel my legs or feet.  Yet, somehow, I could still find my powerhouse…my abdominal muscles… a little tiny bit!  Many of my abdominal muscles were not being innervated but I could still access some of them.  Having this little bit of access helped me begin my rigorous therapy.

I had a “pity party” almost every day.  I told my brother that every day was a living hell.  I would catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror in my wheelchair and cry.  How could I, of all people, be in a wheelchair? And, yet, every day was filled with blessings- blessings that I believe I would not have seen and felt if I had not suffered this relatively rare spinal cord injury.  You all blessed me with your thoughts and prayers.  My daughter and son blessed me with a love and care that I could have never imagined receiving.  My significant other, Tom, blessed me with a selfless love.  My mom, brother, close friends held me with great care and witnessed my suffering.  And my nurses held my hand as I came to terms with my illness always accepting me as I was, where I was, helping me to understand what I needed to heal.

Pilates helped me to heal- whether I was walking, lifting weights, learning to dress myself, or simply sitting up.  Pilates never left me.  Halfway through my stay at Good Sheperd I began working with a physical therapist, Wendy, who was Pilates trained.  Good Sheperd has a fully equipped Pilates studio in their outpatient facility.  I continue to work with her once a week and I work with June Hines at our Doylestown studio once a week.  This in addition to my regular PT.  I am grateful to have June's expertise and love to support and help me to heal. 

So, this is about my Pilates healing journey.  I will try to write to you all every week sharing my Pilates progress with you.  I may include a few photos.  I will include my exercises, my challenges, and my thoughts and feelings as I retrain my body. 

I am now walking with a cane!  Every medical professional I have seen agrees that I am way ahead of schedule and attributes this to my Pilates training!

Looking forward to talking with you next week!

My deep gratitude and love,

Susan