*Continuance of “My Story” starting with Blog #1: When your life flashes before your eyes in a flood gate of memories…
In April 2013 I graduated from Massage School.
In June 2013, I opened up my business, Helping Hands Therapeutic Massage & Body Work, in Ortonville, MN. I was a young entrepreneur who was literally jumping right into a new career. It was exciting, nerve racking, full of uncertainties, and all the while enjoyable!
I was juggling a lot in addition to my new business. I was exercising too much; running anywhere between 4-13 miles per day and biking a few days per week in addition, all because I thought doing a Triathlon was important. I was training for not just one, but 2, Triathlons that summer… proving to myself that I could do those. I can look back now and see I was addicted to the “adrenaline high”, wanting my next “fix” in the workouts and final outcome of Triathlons.
I had building stress coming from different areas in my life, mostly from my continued downward spiral of health. Life was a battle physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was angry, bitter and resentful towards certain people, and situations, from my past. And, I was still trying to figure out what I could eat that would sit right with my gut. By August, the severity of pain in my left side and symptoms had increased even more so than it had at the end of massage school. The pain extended from under my ribs to just below my belly button. The left side of my abdomen hurt deep under my ribs where I couldn’t reach. In addition, I had a dull, achy low back pain, mostly on my left side, that extended from the low back then up into the lower third of my rib cage. I had headaches 24/7. It didn’t matter if I slept, ate, drank water, used a heat pack, or essential oils, the headaches just wouldn’t go away. I was bloated and gassy. I had hot and cold sweats during the day, and sometimes at night that woke me up. I was losing more weight and muscle tone. My energy was decreasing. Nausea became a daily battle, hitting me at any given moment in a day. I’d started developing a yellow spot in the whites of both my eyes. My appetite lacked. I had diarrhea many times a day, in addition to “regular” bowel movements. My skin tone had become more pale, and I had an appearance of being malnourished. At times all I desired to do was sleep, but I kept up with doing my “normal” daily work/chores/activities. My hands and feet had been cold in the past, but then my whole body was cold despite we were in the height of summer’s warmth. I was fatigued and generally felt “ill”.
Mom and I talked about how I wasn’t seeing much of any improvements in my health while working with the Acupuncturist those last couple months. Mutually then, we decided to put a phone call into the Holistic Practitioner/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist that Mom had gone to 10 years prior, Dr. R.
Mom called Dr. R’s office and the receptionist told her that, “Dr. R is scheduled out a month and a half. Kelly is going to have to wait unless we get a cancellation.”
So, we took the first available appointment and waited. The month and a half wait was painfully long, every day being a battle. I continued to work, building up clientele in my new business. I was enjoying my new career. I wasn’t going to let my health stop me from doing my job. Many days were a real struggle, but I stayed focused taking each day as it came.
Recent photo of Helping Hands building, Ortonville, MN *Photo Credit: Vicki Oakes *Special thanks to my Dad for doing the major remodeling in 2013, and more recently closing up the additional building space just this summer!
During the course of my schooling for massage I’d met some pretty neat people! One dear friend I’d made during that time was Laurie. Laurie and I kept in touch regularly after graduation. We live 3.5 hours away from one another. She knew the history of my dis-ease; left side pain, food allergies, and other symptoms. I went to her regularly for massage therapy after graduation, and still do. Often times, Laurie would massage my abdomen, as it helped to decrease the abdominal and back pain, therefore relaxing all the tight muscles surrounding the areas. My abdomen and back muscles were always really tight due to the muscles trying to protect the area that pained me the most.
One fall day in 2013 while Laurie was working on my abdomen, she gently stated, “It feels like your left side is ‘ON FIRE’, Kelly.”
I nodded my head, yes, and added, “It feels like it’s on fire most of the time.”
“It feels like a slow burning fire. A very hot fire. A red hot fire,” she murmured. “It’s like it’s burning deep inside and penetrating outwards.”
She’d just confirmed to me my very real everyday pain.
I told Mom what Laurie had said to me, and we both agreed that Laurie is an “Agent of healing” and that “she is gifted”. We were both so glad Laurie was a part of my healing journey, that I had someone I could be real with and who helped me immensely with relieving muscle tension during every therapy session.
Laurie is a friend that walked alongside of me in the days, months, and years of ill health. She is part of my tribe, and I am eternally grateful for the caring people in my life!
A real friend is one who walks into your life when others walk out. -Walter Winchell