Updated: Aug 21
My name is Robbi Chard and this is my blog.
Once upon a time I was a nurse manager running a twenty-four-hour operation. I’m proud to say I was very good at it. And then, suddenly in 2017, during a Yoga class I was unable to pull my leg forward from a low lunge. Believing it was back related, I went to a pain clinic and underwent six months of aggressive chiropractor and physiotherapy treatments three times a week. The only change was a worsening of symptoms. Realizing I was in over my head, I made an appointment with my doctor. After a referral to the specialist, I was diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica where it turns out, chiropractor is contraindicated as a treatment.
Having a label for my condition, I was prescribed the standard steroidal treatments. My response to the medication was not typical and about three months later it was determined I must also have Fibromyalgia. Another medication was prescribed and three months after that I was on more drugs to treat the nasty side effects, than I was for my condition(s).
Being a self-proclaimed control freak, I refused to see my ailment as permanent. I told myself it was temporary, that things would get better – I would crush this dreaded illness. I continued working for another two years, trying to ignore the mucky ground beneath my feet sucking at my heals while I sank further down into the muck of misery with no handholds nearby.
One day, when the pain was simply too hard to bare, I surrendered. I had to admit to myself I was unable to fulfill my role as manager. The program deserved more of me than I was able to give. So, after an extended medical leave did not revive my health as I had hoped, I applied for early retirement.
And I plodded on, down the long road back to health. Outside of the obvious financial implications came the quality time stolen from my family. I hobbled, grunted and groaned through my day trying hard not to feel sorry for myself. "I'm supposed to take care of them!" I sobbed at my doctor one day. "Not the other way around." The unconditional love, support and patience shown me during that time by my family, friends, colleagues and staff still takes my breath away. My sacrifices were their sacrifices. They had my back and for that I will be forever grateful.
It has not been an easy road back to health, and I still struggle with pain on a daily basis. I still take medications and regular therapy treatments like physiotherapy and acupuncture. But it is much better than what it was. Now, with restored energy, it is time for a new chapter and blaze a new trail. As hard as it was to let go of all that I had lost, I found comfort in all that I had gained. Today I find myself heading in a completely new direction, one that I'm discovering is in greater alignment to who I truly am.
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come."
- Joseph Campbell
I made mistakes along the way, but I learned a lot to. Hindsight is twenty-twenty and looking back there were strategies I could have implemented along the way. But that is nothing new, and my journey is not unfamiliar to a great many of you. You can relate. Just like I know we have the best of intentions – we will start to exercise, we will cut out sugar, we will delegate, we will put ourselves on the list – but then life gets in the way and we’re not on the list.
There was no magic to regaining my health. It took one step at a time - some days more like one minute at a time. I would like to share what I've learned along my journey and help you keep the promises you make to yourself. With slow and steady habits, you will build the resilience you need to get through the tough times while remaining true to yourself. Allow me to share my lessons with you in my bi-monthly blog. It will be posted every other Thursday beginning December 31, 2020.