At the Neck Pain Support Blog, we talk a lot about pain and how to deal with it. Some people completely succumb to it and let it take over their lives. Some succumb to a lifetime of medications, Dr’s Visits, depression, and anxiety. Others take a different approach and don’t let themselves become a victim of pain. Today I want to share a great story that I read on Salisbury Post, written by author By Shavonne Potts.
Each day, rain or shine, snow or heat, Ellen Phillips walks. She begins at her front door and ends up on a trail at Dan Nicholas Park.
This may not seem like a great achievement, but for a woman who in 2005 was told she'd be in a wheelchair by 2010, it's pretty miraculous.
In 2005, Phillips began having back and neck pain. Where most people have a curve from their spine into their neck, her neck is straight. She suffered severe arthritis in her neck and spine.
"I was unable to walk. The pain was unreal at times," she said.
Several years before the pain started, Phillips was on her way to pick up her daughter, Hailey, from school. A woman talking on her cell phone crossed the center lane and hit Phillips' vehicle. The pain didn't begin right away but over time. The accident happened in the late 1990s.
"One doctor said for me to stay in bed," she said.
So that's what Phillips did. In 2007, she found herself bedridden with constant, severe pain. The pain was so severe she didn't want to live.
"I begged God to let me die," she said.
"I was angry at God. I felt like 'Why (is) this happening?'" she said.
Phillips and her husband divorced, and she walked away from the business they owned together.
"At first I was really angry," she said.
She went to church, attended Bible study and she witnessed to others about her faith.
But there were the negative feelings to deal with.
"I was an angry white woman," she joked.
She took some of her frustrations out on her driveway. Like Jackson Pollack, her favorite artist, she splattered bright yellow, pink and blue paint all over the driveway.
Phillips' neighbors may have thought she was a little nutty, but she felt much better afterward, she said.
One of her doctors told her to lose at least 50 pounds, which she eventually did through diet and exercise. She now eats lots of fruits and vegetables, but no sugar or caffeine.
One day she began to draw just to say she had done something that day.
"I've never been a person to sit and do nothing," she said.
So she picked up a pen and paper.
"It was like wow, I didn't know I could do that," Phillips said.
She took her drawing ability as a gift from God.
Her mother, Blanche Cutshaw, always drew when Phillips was a child. Cutshaw still draws for herself. Phillips slowly began drawing more things and eventually got out of bed. She started walking to the end of her driveway. She slowly took more steps.
"Walking ... helps me to heal," she said.
She now walks five miles every day, except Sunday. Phillips has added daily yoga and meditation sessions to her routine. She kayaks in the summer every other day.
Phillips also hikes at Dunn's Mountain Park and Morrow Mountain State Park in Albemarle. She'd like to hike Mount Everest.
Hiking Everest is one of the many adventurous items on her "bucket list." Parachuting from a plane is another.
She buys a new pair of walking shoes every six months. She usually wears down the soles by that six month period.
"Usually I'm talking to God when I'm walking," she said.
Phillips said she's told God whatever it is he has going on in a given day, she wants the opportunity to be a part of it.
"It's been hard, but it's been the best thing," she said.
I loved reading Ellen’s Story.Personally, I come from a family who makes exercise a priority in life. Both my parents and my husbands parents like to walk- that is their main form of exercise. My mother not only walks and does breathing exercises, but she also does Yoga everyday- what a great way to stay healthy.
Remember you have to take the first step to becoming healthy. Ellen started by simply walking to the end of her driveway- So start with little tasks that you cannot fail. Then simply continue- I am convinced that simply walking everyday and enjoying sunshine (vitamin D) will add so much to your health and well being.
Another lesson to be learned from Ellen is to find a hobby- something that will keep you busy, relaxed and make you smile. Paint a watercolor, read the Harry Potter Series, walk to your local gas station to pick up the paper, learn how to type, learn how to speak Punjabi,write a personal blog - just do “some thing”. Lying in bed and feeling sorry for yourself will not make you healthier.
Wishing health and well being to all my readers