“Kinesiology is the scientific study of human or non-human body movement. Kinesiology addresses physiological, biomechanical, and psychological mechanisms of movement.”

On March 30 I met such an amazing man.

I broke my ankle several years ago. I spent 9 months in a fibreglass cast to no avail. I freaked out when they tried to re-cast me. There were all kinds of reasons I wanted out of that fibreglass prison.

I wanted a shower. I was engaged at the time and wanted to walk down the aisle without a cast. Winter was coming and my toes were getting cold (not to mention funky smelling). I couldn’t bear another moment.

The doctor decided to give me a strap on, therefore removable, cast that I continued to wear(off and on) for over a year.

My ankle has never healed. The Alberta government took my strap-on (cast) when I lived in the forest. I was then refused medical treatment because of paperwork.

I came to BC without my cast. I walked here over a period of three months with approx. 65 to 71lbs in my pack on any given day. Even though I have settled down? I don’t drive. I walk a lot. I’m grateful for rides I get but I depend on my ankles for my main mode of transportation.

After all this time without treatment or my cast to help? My leg pain has become back pain. I have used a tensor to help. Paul has always been good to rub my ankle and my lower back to help with the pain. I stretch to help my muscles and I push through other pain to walk, regardless of it maybe causing more damage. I won’t be immobile at 42.

I have talked to many doctors. I broke my ankle when living in Manitoba. Even though doctors tried? I left there with the plastic cast. In Alberta I was refused any medical treatment because the government took my ID and held it. I could not prove who I was so they would not transfer my medical. My doctor in BC? He’s only good for referrals it seems. He referred me to an orthopedic surgeon.

The outcome? The surgeon told me surgery won’t improve my mobility and may increase my pain. I already knew that and was grateful he said the same but asked what I could do. Did I need a cane? I explained it was affecting my balance which means potential of other injuries. Should I get a brace? Would stabilizing my ankle when I am walking any distance help?

He said a brace may help. He hemmed an hawed over it and didn’t know it would help with my balance issues but it MIGHT help my pain. He gave me a prescription for one that didn’t need to be fitted so I could look at options.

I checked out the brace place he recommended but given my financial circumstances? I wasn’t super keen to spend that kind of money by going to an orthopedic brace place.

On the way home I had my friend stop at Pharmasave in town to see what kind of things they had over the counter. A lovely lady told me they had a kinesiologist coming at the end of the month who may be able to help me pick the best brace. I said alright and made the appointment.

March 30 at 10am.

I told him the background of why I was seeing him. He had me take my socks and shoes off, roll up my jeans and step down. Then he told me he could see it immediately, my pain issue. He slipped his hand under my foot, pushed up and INSTANTLY my back relaxed. He showed me how I was stepping to ‘protect’ my ankle and how it was affecting my foot. He found a brace that would help with stability and recommended something to help correct my instep.

I asked if that would help with my balance issues. (OK, yes, I drink. And that doesn’t help with balance. But even stone cold sober? I have serious balance issues.)

He noticed when helping adjust the brace that I have ‘excess skin roll’ on my calf. He told me his brother had gone through a mass weight loss and asked if I had. I opened up and told him I had. He asked how much weight and how long it had been.

After telling him the information? He told me music to my ears.  He told me my balance issues are totally normal. His brother went through that and it’s part of why he (the kinesiologist)went from being a personal trainer to studying how muscles work.

My muscles had carried that weight for SO long.  After you lose that kind of weight it takes your muscles YEARS to adjust. I lost more than half my body weight at an age where my body was already going through all kinds of changes otherwise. Considering all the change that has happened in my life from then until now? He’s confident my balance issues are related to not re-training my muscles after the weight loss.

Small weight training and yoga! Ankle weights held in positions for as long as I can will train my leg muscles for where my body is at NOW. Yoga will help with balance but I should start small.

I’m overjoyed! After several years of trying to figure out how to deal with this pain issue? Seeing doctors, surgeons ,etc? The kinesiologist who does volunteer work at my local drugstore is the one who helped me understand the source of my pain. He found me a professional brace that was on sale half off and then gave me and extra 20% off.

And he explained the balance thing. It makes total sense. He gave me realistic goals to help address it.

And because of all that? I feel a tiny bit of sanity about something. My leg pain isn’t in my head. My balance isn’t some kind of neurological issue. Both are real, explainable and able to be worked on! That does so much to help with the anxiety I feel about my health  on a day to day basis.

I’m so grateful.


What Is In An Accomplishment?

Depression is a beast. Couple it with anxiety that inhibits you and physical disabilities that prevent you from managing it through the regular avenues of medication. (ie. I can’t take anti-depressants because of side affects) What do you do?

I was talking about that with Paul today. When you face days and days of not being able to do anything… how do you cope? When I say days of not doing anything, I mean even showering. (holy hell how does he put up with me? I wonder some days)

As soon as I ask the question, I am chastising myself in my head. I don’t do days of NOTHING. Well, I do. I have plans to do things but most days only accomplish doing dishes and making meals. Some days? Not even that. Occasionally I manage showers.

Tobey, my counselor, who I’ve neglected to see because I’m in this depression mode, would tell me that any accomplishment means something.

If all I did was shower after three days of neglect I can be proud that I took some time for self care. If I made a meal instead of eating chips? I can be proud I took the time to take care of myself. If I go outside my home for a walk, no matter how long, I should be proud I took time to exercise.

I so frequently neglect to see the small steps.

It’s when you see all the small steps together that you get the overall picture.

The mental health side of things is rearing it’s head because I am faced with a lot of travel and appointments for my physical disabilities. I hate travel (I don’t drive and I am a bad passenger). I have anxiety breakdowns meeting new people, especially doctors.

I’m in a funk. Not really depressed but mentally stressed. My anxiety is high. I have had a lot of doctor appointments lately and some hospital type tests coming up.

I’m grateful my new surgeon is so cool. Very down to earth and made me feel relaxed immediately in her office. I am grateful for Paul, coming with me to my appointments when I need and for helping me to de-stress afterward. I’m grateful for my friend, Jeff, who can drive me so I don’t have to travel to these appointments with strangers.

Overall though? I’ve made it through a couple weeks of appointments and phone calls. I’m feeling the stress but I am hanging on.

Hanging on is an accomplishment. Right?




Thank You

Paul read my blog about the black out drunk situation. Well, I showed it to him as a conversation starter. He read it and we held hands. He told me he understood but we left it at that.

Later in the day we were out with a friend running a bunch of errands. At the end, I picked up a bottle of wine. The small one this time. Paul didn’t say anything.

When we got home though? We talked. Productively. As I drank my wine.

So here it is…

Dear Paul,

Thank you for reading my blog and waiting until the right time to talk.

Thank you for the errands we ran today! They are the tail end of a lot of work you have done to help support our situation. I appreciate all the efforts you’ve made that go outside your box. Emotionally and politically.

Thank you for talking to me today. You let me open the conversation up.  You had no problem with me having wine as we talked. You listened to me so patiently. Thank you for listening to my plan (**to be discussed in another blog**) and for being willing to be an active part.

Thank you for reminding me that you have no problem with me having drinks. You kind of like tipsy, silly  Shaunda. But you are right that the Jekyll/Hyde effect after too much… is too much.

Thank you for being you. Close to a non-drinker who is so in love with an alcoholic, as I am, but willing to go the distance to help me change in the ways that will make myself and us healthier.

Even though I went to bed early? Thank you for coming to bed and whispering in my ear that you thanked me for writing that blog, for talking, for having a plan, for helping you, for taking care of you.

Just, thank you! I love you,


Booze These Days

I wasn’t paying too much attention to my drinking while Paul was away. I kind of let go and went overboard more than I wanted. I’ve put some thought into ‘why’ I let it escalate.

Stress was a huge factor. Being without Paul, his lawyer giving us the constant runaround and not knowing when Paul would be back. Sadness was another factor. I went through a few losses in those months.  Boredom or feeling cooped up.

I know my excessive drinking has been a source of Paul and I’s past trouble. I made some focused efforts on cutting back the month before he came home because I knew I wanted to drink less when he got home.

And at first when he arrived I was doing well. I kept drinking from being an everyday activity. I focused my attention on re-connecting with Paul and really enjoyed it.

But here I am 6 weeks later, once again struggling with daily cravings. And I am always finding ways to give in to them.

Last night I drank way too much. Paul and I argued. I don’t even know what I said because I was black out drunk, something that is rare for me. I know I hurt him but don’t know how to begin to apologize. I want to talk about why I got upset but I can’t recall what set me off.

So, I’m feeling a great deal of shame today. And even though I have spent the morning reading and researching different things I can do to help myself quit? I still want a fucking drink. Once again I’m struggling with ‘how’ to gain control over this issue.

I’ll have to talk to Paul about it, obviously, and that has me emotionally terrified. I feel shameful, remorseful and sad. But I have been before. Why should be forgive me again? I worry that Paul will begin to wonder why he should stay. And that I won’t able to give him a good reason.

I feel like I am terrible person and I wish those feelings were enough to get me to the place where I can make change. Instead of wallowing in them until I drink them away.