Don’t stop living because of chronic illness, let it be the driver to your success!
I am what I would call “a positive cynic.” I look around at the World and I see the human race destroying its health and the environment, fuelled and governed by profit, creating its own demise.
I see governments being dictated by banks, manufacturing a World chained by debts; food and nutrition (the key to our health) being lost to mass-produced edible products; and our medical knowledge being compromised by the manipulation of scientific data, being cut and calved to fit the saleability of purchasable drugs.
A Faith In Humanity
Despite this rather grim perspective on our reality, I stay positive because I believe that human beings are inherently good. I believe that if you give people the chance, they will do the right thing.
I also believe that most people have the ability for greatness buried deep within them; and often the act of pushing someone down, is what allows them to drive to greatness at the top.
I speak from my experience of working with patients that come through the doors at The Specialist Health Centre. The Specialist Health Centre is a company that I established in 2013 after my Father lost his battle with cancer. His journey inspired me to demand more from life and enabled me to rebalance my focus. In many ways I feel it was his greatest gift and I believe his sacrifice (despite the initial pain) has empowered me.
Our patients have a variety of conditions : cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, obesity and muscular neurological conditions to name but a few. I am always inspired by their strength. Some of these people have had terrible hardships in life and here they are, doing their best to better themselves. It is so easy for us to get knocked down and take the attitude, “life has treated me badly, therefore I don’t owe it to anybody to change who I am”; And in many ways they’re right, they do not owe anybody anything… but you know what is coming… they owe it to themselves!
I fear that motivational posters, cheesy self-help books and thought-provoking advertising have diluted this message and many of us listen, but do not truly hear. Many of us need to take a moment and really think about “our responsibility to love ourself and to be the person that we want to be, because we may only have one life to do it in.”
It is important to remember, that every big change, beautiful piece of artwork, or an impressive monument, starts with the first step. The belief that if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day you will have something majestic.
Two Inspirational Stories
Two patients that have inspired me recently is a lady called Carol and another named Alison.
Carol is in her fifties and has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Athletic as a young girl, she developed her condition in her thirties, and losing the ability to do what she loved hit her hard.
When Carol first came to us she was close to becoming wheelchair bound. Once reaching the point of needing a wheelchair, the body’s abilities diminish rapidly. Carol had to walk with great difficulty using crutches and a leg brace. She was unable to lift her arms above her head and I remember her telling me that she hadn’t been able to tuck her hair behind her ear for nearly ten years.
During our first consultation which included myself and the heads of my manual therapy and nutritional teams, we concluded that the highest probability was that all we would be able to achieve was to slow the degeneration of her muscles.
Carol committed herself to the designed programme and attended every session. The training was challenging and pushed her out of her comfort zone. But as the weeks went by, we saw improvement after improvement and within the first 12 weeks Carol was able to increase her leg press on her right side (the braced leg) from 2.5kg to 20kg. But most impressive of all, was an actual increase of muscle mass, something that was far beyond our expectations. Six months on, she has now increased her leg strength and stability greatly and has no problem lifting objects above her head. The challenge of scratching her ear when driving is now just an anecdotal dinner story.
My second shining example of strength is a lady named Alison. Alison has been recovering from liver cancer, which is challenging enough.
However on top of that, she has two teenage children both living with cancer and very sadly not long ago lost her husband to cancer also. To say that her story is heartbreaking is an understatement, however to see her strive to create a healthier future for both her and her children is awe-inspiring.
Alison is still at the beginning of her journey and has only been with us for a couple of weeks, but she is a perfect example that just when you think you have been impressed, someone comes along and raises the bar.
These people inspire me every day and make me proud to be a part of a collective known as the human race. When I meet those who share my cynical view of the World, there is always a fundamental difference between us, for I still have huge amounts of faith that (given the chance) the people of this World will make this planet healthy again, for all to enjoy.
Below I have attached a video telling the story of Kayla and how she has used her chronic illness to drive her further. The story of her determination and the dedication of her coach drove me to write this article; I think it perfectly depicts how our patients make me feel every day and it is beautifully heart warming.
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