What is a miracle? I mean seriously…. not in the Jesus healing the blind sort of way, or walking on water. Well for me personally, I believe a miracle is achieving the unexpected or ‘out of the ordinary (Extraordinary)’ for YOU. We are all capable of achieving small miracles in life.
My hero/guru Hal Elrod wrote a book called ‘The Miracle Morning’ which resonated with me so much when reading a couple of months before my accident. I implemented his method of choosing to get up 1 hour earlier each morning (a miracle in itself for me!) and started planning my day, practising gratitude and mindfulness. As a consequence, my Tropic business had an incredible month in June, which brought high sales and new team members to my central team. It seemed his method really did work!
I was so in awe of this man who became my new ‘Mr Motivator’ that I wrote an email to him telling him about my accident and how much his book had impacted on me and that I was his biggest fan! Despite being a huge celebrity in the states (well he holds motivational events for 1000s and has his own podcast channel, is a successful author and has a humungous following), he actually got back to me! I cried whilst lying there in my hospital bed listening to him through my pink headphones watching a personal video he sent to me. He said that ‘despite my adversity’, there would be valuable lessons in my traumatic experience to learn and grow from. This was a man who had experienced something not too dissimilar from me, but in a different way. He had been involved in a head on collision in his early 20s and having broken 11 major bones, suffered some frontal lobe damage and died twice before landing in a coma for 6 weeks. He was told he wouldn’t walk for at least a year. 8 weeks later he walked out of hospital! He has also bravely fought off cancer some years later, and has been through many life experiences which he has always battled through by finding a level of acceptance and gratitude. His video gave me a well needed boost and I decided from that point forwards to accept my situation, no matter how grim, and do whatever I could do to get home as quickly as possible. My results were going to be a direct result of my own mindset! If Hal could walk out of hospital… so could I !!
Around 10 days into my hospital stay around the end of July and on complete flat bedrest, my up-line manager came to see me and peering down at me said “Nikki I think you’ve got this, you’re going to win the trip!” Gosh I had forgotten about that! Here I was on a hospital ward unable to sit up, totally incapacitated and my Tropic business was still succeeding!
Each year Tropic offer an amazing trip incentive which I have been lucky enough to win each time since I became an ambassador 4 years ago. This time it was for a trip of a lifetime to Cambodia and Vietnam. Don’t get me wrong though, when I say win, it takes incredibly hard work to achieve these all inclusive luxury trips and very difficult to do on sales alone.
As I tried to absorb my manager’s words I just thought ‘it can’t be possible’. Here I was stuck in a hospital bed perhaps until the end of August’ which was when the incentive would end. I had built up around 34,000 points since the incentive had started at the beginning of March and needed 40,000 in total. However, a couple of new June starters in my team were working hard at their sales and I was allowed to take points based on their sales up to 1000 points per person each month. I could see that my previous hard work of practising ‘the miracle morning’ was paying its divdends now.
I decided that I simply had to take some further action, since I didn’t want to end up a few hundred points short, which would be too frustrating for words, so I needed to do something pro-active myself! I set about a plan from my hospital bed, using my mobile phone to set up an online e-pamper for my customers, promoting our gorgeous skincare products on Facebook asking everyone to shop online and add to their baskets for my e-pamper. Either my husband would take the orders to our Cafe for them to collect or they could pick up from the porch way at my home address. I generated about £350 orders which is 700 points. (This was all whilst the goings on were happening in my previous blog !) Also a lovely ambassador in my team kindly did one of my pamper bookings in August which generated another 1000 points. Many of my customers who were following my recovery on FB started placing online orders through my shop, so I ended up with about £1400 total in personal sales for the month of August equalling 2800 points. Pretty amazing even if I do say so myself! Coupled with the points I received from my June new ambassador sales, I hit the jackpot and nailed the trip with a few weeks to spare! This gave me an incredible boost and a new goal to work towards since the trip was February 2020. I would have to be walking by then right?
I couldn’t hide my excitement when it became official on 16th August that I had won the trip. I shared the news with various nurses whom I was getting to know, and they were really happy for me, and grumbled that they were in the wrong profession!
So with the trip achieved and my wanting to get to the ‘Glammies’ at the end of September, I had to get on with my recovery. Whilst lying there flat on my back day after day, the one little thing that gave me a feeling of control was doing my exercises. Physio would come to see me 5 or possibly 6 days a week for some leg exercises and stretches. As fast as they gave me these exercises I added them to a chart for a daily routine so that I could practice them and do 2 or 3 times a day myself. I asked Martin to bring in some hand weights I had ordered online, and added upper body strengthening too, knowing this would come in useful should I be in a wheelchair. He laughed at me when visiting, seeing me with my headphones on and hand weights looking somewhat like Jane Fonda! The good thing about recording my number of reps daily was that I could see my own improvement albeit quite small at times.
Nobody gave me any indication of when or if I would walk, I was just told I was going to Sheffield Spinal Unit and was 7th on the waiting list! That seemed too long to wait (I’m not known for my patience), so I set my own goals and decided with or without the help of Sheffield I was going to get up and walk out of this hospital at some point!! I set the goal (publicly on social media) that I would take 20 steps by the end of August. Whilst this was slightly naive… as quoted in the name of my blog ‘Reach for the Moon If you Miss, You’ll Land in the Stars’ and that certainly is what happened for me.
Martin and I disagreed over my goal setting as he wanted me to remain realistic and not set myself up for disappointment. However, had I taken his approach so as to avoid disappointment I would have only aimed for the clouds, and probably not got out as quickly I did.
I was told after 4 weeks of flat bed rest that because there was significant improvement in the movement in my legs, I was to have another week of FLAT bed rest before being allowed to be raised up. WTF? Why was I being punished for how well my legs were coming along! It was explained that to give my spinal injury the best chance of making the fullest recovery it was to my advantage to remain flat until the improvement levelled out.
Finally, after 5 long weeks of flat bed rest, I was momentously raised up to 20 degrees. I had no idea that with each 10 degree raise would come dizziness, a lowering of my already low blood pressure, and the back of my now scrawny little bird legs feeling like they were in an extreme yoga pose, with the hamstrings feeling like they would tear! I could only remain up for 10-15 mins before having to lower myself back down to lying flat. I kept a daily record of how long I could sit up for, challenging myself to increase the time each day. Bizarelly I felt quite upset when I looked at my shapeless scrawny looking thighs. Not only did my legs not feel like they belonged to me, they didn’t even ‘look’ like my legs anymore either. The muscle wastage was glaring at me.
I also barely ate much, since lying flat gives you zero appetite, plus the hospital food was far worse than you could possibly imagine! Here’s an example …. the infamous Friday fish and chips! A pasty grey shade of goujon filled with some kind of minced fish with nicely underdone chips! Not a vegetable in sight!
It’s hardly surprising that my weight started to plummet and I asked visitors to bring me smoothies and vitamin drinks to try and keep my energy levels up and get my 5 a day! 7 weeks of that Hospital’s food was the worst dining experiences of my life!
I was aware behind the closed curtain to my right that I wasn’t the only spinal cord injury on the ward! There was a lady whom I never got to see being we were laid flat most of the time or hardly raised enough to actually get a glimpse of each other. It was apparent that she was a week or two ahead of me and was already sitting up with physio and this spurred me on to want to sit up too, which I knew was the first step to getting to take those all important first steps!
Finally a week (well 5 days) before the end of August and the day came when I was allowed to be sat up! Martin made a dash to the hospital for the momentous occasion.
I was rolled to the right and then with 3 physio ladies, (one to support me from behind, one to help lift me and another to support should I be very unsteady or faint) I was raised up. I was warned I would only be able to sit up for a matter of minutes and may well feel light headed or sick. It was incredibly painful being raised up (despite a dose of morphine) and once up, it was incredibly scary so I just focused on my breathing and trying to stop the shaking. My body felt totally alien. What on earth had happened. I was like a jelly fish with no muscles or bones, unable to support myself.
Martin blubbed his eyes out whilst I sat there. You’ll notice in the 3rd picture that my physio let go of me from behind and I managed to hold myself for a short while which was a great achievement on my first sit up. I managed a good 5 minutes before I had to be laid down again.
Right … game on, I was going to do this! I told physio that next time I wanted to stand and my goal was to take steps before the end of the month. Today being Monday and the last day of August the coming Saturday! The problem being no physio at the weekend, this would have to be achieved by Friday. The physio girls said I could try sitting up again and then the next step would be to try standing before finally being sat in a chair. Not what I had in mind! They didn’t seem hopeful that I would be taking any steps by the end of the week!
Two days later they wheeled this red contraption in to show me what a standing frame looked like. I insisted that we try it. It was sooooo difficult getting to a standing position! With a physio either side of me to help with the upward movement I made it, on my very shaky and weak legs, and as you can tell by the white knuckles, I gripped on tight as if my life depended on it!
The next day was Friday and the penultimate day of August. I knew my goal of 20 steps was unachievable but I literally begged the physio to help me reach my goal and achieve ‘some’ steps. I didn’t want to be sat in a chair, I wanted to take steps instead. Imagine my delight when they showed up, one of them holding a walking frame the next day!!
(Video Missing here of first steps)
Needless to say I blubbed when I laid back down. I couldn’t thank the physio ladies for helping me to achieve this and being I actually took 2 steps forwards and 2 back on each foot and then after sitting, repeated this again, I achieved 16 steps! I felt satisfied that I had had a great landing in the stars!