Planning to Have Your Knee Cut Open Creates Stress

October 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem, siblings | Leave a comment
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Planning to have your knee cut open creates stress. Planning to try something that isn’t accepted in your own country adds to the stress. Having a bossy little sister can put you over the edge. Yep-Tensions are high in my house right now with leaving for Canada tonight for surgery.

The past week we were on the edge of being manic- all energy and actions upbeat and full of excitement. Jamie did a few weeks of schoolwork. We happened to be going to Taylor Swift on Wed night. Jamie filled Thursday, Friday, & Saturday with being with friends. She had a great week.

But underneath it all was the upcoming trip- The trip to have her knee re-repaired. Now of course she isn’t the first to have this issue, nor will she be the last. But when it is you [and for me- my kid] you seem to feel that the whole world revolves around this. And this morning there is nothing but the upcoming surgery.

What must be going on in her head? Fear- “Will it work? What about ten years from now? How much will it hurt? When will I be able to really walk? Am I crazy for doing this? What if I get there and something happens? OMG I am soooo scared. Will my knee have huge scars? [Oh that is the least of my worries, but still…] Will I really be able to train and compete this winter? Am I going to still have my career?”

Oh the fears that she must be having right now.

And not too much she can do about them, except have them, own them, talk about them, ignore them, and have them be overwhelming.

Here’s the thing some stress is good for you- And when you have too much stress you have to do something about it.

Just when I was writing this Jamie came down. We talked about her fears. I acknowledged them without going over board.

In her wellness college class she had to take a stress test today- After taking the test she told me, “Just incase you are wondering. I have really high stress today. And to reduce my stress I need to laugh-

So I now have to do some damage control with the little sister who reacted to Jamie’s stress by being a bossy you know what. She is the best at being funny-

The bossy little sister made a 180 degree turn around. You see her emotions were a reaction to her surroundings. All fear around her created fear in her, but since she really didn’t have any fear and couldn’t relate to the fear she acted out in bossy, controlling actions.

By both of them seeing the fear for what it was- completely real, yet surmountable they were both able to let go of the attached stress-

Then Jamie had some new thinking- You see her fear wasn’t the top priority anymore. Even though we couldn’t take it all away, it was manageable now.

Her new thought was filled with strength and determination. By dealing with the fears head on, not as an excuse for any negative emotions or actions or ignoring them, Jamie had power again.

Now my stress is less. Time for lunch, a few last minutes details to make home life smooth while I’m gone, a run and off to surgery.

Along with all the Emotional Turmoil, We Had to Decide About Surgery

September 23, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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Along with all the emotional turmoil we were going through we also had to decide which doctor to do the surgery and even if Jamie wanted to do surgery again. We are now living in a mecca of ACL surgeons. All of whom are thought to be excellent, the best, none better. We went to a couple with the same result. Just what we knew anyway- Surgery with six months of physical therapy before going back to sport. And no better than an 80% success rate- with extreme athletes it lowers to almost 50%.

This was dismal to Jamie (and me for that matter.) Not only how would she stand it, but how could I, as her mother, watch her just hang around another winter.

So here’s the thing. When Jamie first tore her ACL last Dec she told me about a synthetic ligament. I was totally dubious, and guided her to the tried and all American method of using human grafts, either autograft or allograft. Autograft is the fancy term for using something from your own body. Allograft is the fancy, polite term of using something from a cadaver. And cadaver is the fancy, polite term for a dead body. The term for getting the tendon is called harvesting the tendon.

Anyway, Jamie harvested one of her hamstring tendons already.
So we were looking at using an allograft.

She began to study in earnest the synthetic ligament. There were some drawbacks. First, it wasn’t FDA approved. This could be serious or it could be all the red tape it takes to get anything FDA approved. This leads to the second drawback. It wouldn’t be covered by insurance. So it would certainly be costly! The third drawback would be having to travel for the surgery. The fourth drawback would be the fear and emotional chaos of trying something not well known to those around us or us. And the fifth drawback is the fact that this technique is only 15 years old.

Of course there would be perks and advantages of using the synthetic ligament. First, it would be stronger than a human graft- either autograft or allograft. As a matter of fact, it would be lots stronger! Second, the recovery time would be cut in half. Thus meaning that Jamie would potentially be able to ski this winter- possibly even competing. Third, the rerupture rate is almost nonexistent. Fourth, Jamie knew people who have this synthetic ligament and are truly thrilled with their recovery.

I started to really investigate this possibility. I scoured the Internet; read every article, blog post, and blurb I could find; watched YouTube videos by athletes who had had the surgery.

I was set. I had my ideas confirmed as well. Using the synthetic ligament with an allograft was the perfect answer.

We contacted coordinator of the Canadian doctors to discuss Jamie’s case.

Still I needed more. Many consider me a leader, but in my heart I want to be a follower just like everyone else.

So I contacted, vie email, blog, Facebook, and twitter, every athlete I had heard of with the synthetic ligament. And low and behold I heard back from some. They had only positive things to say about the whole process of going to Canada, the man who coordinates everything, the doctor who does the surgery, the physical therapy, and the strength and stability after words.

The only thing no one could talk about was the longevity, because no one had been longer than two or three years.

Then we heard back from the dr. He would do the surgery, but instead of the allograft he wanted to do another autograft using a piece of her quad tendon.

Now came decision time. I was torn. Would this harvesting of a tendon affect her strength or stability? Once again I sought out athletes who had had this exact operation. Most of these athletes had already had at least one ACL reconstruction.

Everyone agreed 100% to go ahead. I even had a mom contact me; she was very supportive of the results for her daughter.

So yes- I wired the money for the surgery today, bought our airline tickets, and we head off to Canada Oct 4.

We Weren’t All Happy, We Weren’t All Satisfied, BUT We Were Determined

September 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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Saturday brought one new complication. Jeanee had a ramp competition in the afternoon, which Jamie had been planning on entering as well. Jamie was past hating her sister. But I really didn’t know if she was ready to face the place where she had her injury or watch the other athletes have so much fun in the competition; I knew she was able to support her sister.

I took Jeanee for precomp training and went back to the house. I announced very clearly and strongly. “I am going to watch Jeanee in the comp this afternoon. You can come with me or stay here. I WILL be going to see Jeanee no matter what you decide.”

Jamie didn’t answer with anything other than mumbled words. Of course it was a tough decision, and I knew why. But rather than voicing these, I left it for Jamie to sort out.

Fifteen minutes before it was time for me to go I went up to Jamie’s room. “I’m leaving in 15 minutes. You can come or stay it is up to you.”
“I don’t know if I can go.”
“Then stay here. I am leaving in 15 minutes.”

I left the room.

Ten minutes later I went back and told Jamie I was leaving.
“OK, I’ll go. I want to support Jeanee. I want to see her do some sick tricks! And besides if I stay here I may just hurt myself”

I told Jamie that I thought it was braver to go than to stay home.
“How can it be braver. If I stay here I may do something terrible.”
“Anyone can hurt themselves in private. It’s going out in public, to the place where you long to be, seeing people do exactly what you wish you could be doing that takes much more strength.
“You’re crazy. But I’m going anyway.”

When we arrived at the Utah Olympic Park Jamie had real second thoughts. But we were exactly on time for the comp. There was no going back. I wasn’t going to miss Jeanee to take Jamie home because she chickened out.

I told Jamie, “You can get out of the car now, or wait in the car. The choice is yours.”

She got out of the car. We got ourselves on the some grass near the athletes. I held Jamie’s leg up to keep the swelling down. Lots of people came over to say hi. After Jeanee’s first jump- which was great by the way- Jamie had to go to the bathroom. She decided to go on deck, where the athletes were.

I knew at that moment Jamie had passed from the depressed, desolate, injured athlete to the injured, coming back, dynamic Jamie that finds the way to do whatever comes in her path with energy, style, gusto, and as full of life as there is to live.

She spent the next hour talking with athletes and coaches, all smiles.

Jeanee came in second for her age group. We left a different family.

We weren’t all happy, we weren’t all satisfied with the turn of events, but we were determined to get past this, to make the best of it, and most importantly love and support each other no matter what circumstances got in the way.

The Worst Moment was seeing the Love and Devotion Being Torn Apart

September 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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That evening when I picked up Jeanee after ramping, she was all excited about what she had accomplished that day. It was great to see her so excited and bubbly. And it reaffirmed to me that her interest and involvement in freeskiing was pure, just as Jeanee is with everything she does.

Still I wanted to warn her about Jamie. I just had this feeling that if I could have a moment of hating Jeanee, then Jamie might have an uncontrolled outburst of hating Jeanee. And her hatred would be just the same as mine- Not at Jeanee- It would be 100% misplaced anger with Jeanee getting the brunt of it.

Jeanee understood how Jamie might be mad at her, even though she had nothing to do with Jamie’s injury. I told her this might come up in the next week or so. I told her about my feeling the day before. And how it was really displaced anger.

And that great and wonderful kid smiled and told me she would probably have done the same. “It’s OK mama- I know you are just confused and upset- It’s not me you are angry at. And you can’t be angry at Jamie. And if you got mad a Jilly- Well, that would just be terrible with her temper.”

We walked in the house and Jeanee went upstairs to say hi to Jamie. Who screamed, “Get out of my room. I hate you. You took everything from me and now I have nothing.”

Jeanee left the room, which incidentally the girls actually share so it was as much Jeanee’s room as it was Jamie’s.

This was the worst moment for me, seeing the love and devotion that those two girls had for each other be torn apart. I couldn’t blame Jamie for her anger, disappointment, and even hatred. And even though I had told Jeanee about this possibility, how would she really take it? Could she let it roll off her? Could she really understand from her heart what was going on? Not just from her head- we can often understand from our head what our hearts have no idea how to handle.

I could do nothing while this was going on- but hope and pray that somehow Jeanee would be OK and Jamie would get over this.

For dinner Jamie stormed down the stairs (and with crutches this makes quite a scene!) and hollered at Jeanee once again.
“Get out of here. I HATE you. If you don’t go someplace I will hurt you.”

Jeanee quietly went upstairs. Jamie sat at the table with horrible, negative, dark energy swirling around her. She ranted for a few minutes about how much she hated Jeanee. I told her I could understand her feelings. I understood why and how she hated Jeanee.

As tough as it was, I never negated Jamie’s feelings. I allowed them. I didn’t encourage them though. I just let them be.

It was my instinct, and it was right. After only five minutes of this ranting Jamie started to cry.

“I can’t hate my little sister. She didn’t cause my accident. She is so sweet and wonderful. I love my little sister. I love Jeanee!”

Jeanee came back down and dinner went on- Yes we were quiet, not our usual talking bouncing all over the place conversations. But what we had was unspeakable. It was deep love and respect.

Later I told Jeanee that I guess I was right on target about Jamie, only I didn’t think it would happen so soon. I asked her if it helped that I had warned her.

“Oh yes- I’m not sure how I would have handled it if I didn’t have your warning.”
The rest of the evening- and late into the night we watched funny movies.

Things were getting better for sure.

Her Dad Was Able to Express His Feelings of Despair

September 19, 2011 at 11:01 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, dads, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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Friday was much the same as Thursday, starting with physical therapy at 7 am. In the afternoon we went to another Dr in hopes that he would say there was some other alternative than surgery and six months of rephab with the same risk factor as before.

Jamie’s depression was severe when we left the second Dr. And I had had to ask for rides for Jeanee both to and from school. Man, I hated arriving in Park City and being so needy.

In the afternoon I really had to get away from Jamie for a little while. I had Jilly stay in the room with her- and I took Jeanee to ramps. I also called all my relatives again- giving them the update- which was still dismal.

The call with Jamie’s dad was still the toughest to do.

Giving the information was not so tough, but
“When can I call her?”
“I don’t know yet. She is acutely depressed and if you talk to her it could send her off the deep end right now.”
“I know she is depressed, but how would you feel if you couldn’t talk to her?”
“Terrible. There is no denying you feel terrible that she won’t talk to you right now.”
“I’m her father. I have a right to talk to her.”
“Yes you are her father and of course you have a right to talk to her. OR you can decide that as much as you hurt, you will respect her wishes and wait till she tells me to tell you that you can call her.”
“I’m going to call her today.”
“Of course you can. I will not tell you can’t call your own daughter, but I do think you may want to think about respecting her needs and wishes right now.
“I’ll think about it- Goodbye”

So of course he respected Jamie and waited till she was ready to talk to him, that was not till Sunday- two days later. I am sure that being the parent that has to wait is excruciatingly painful. Either way, being the parent of a child that is injured is tough. I am so grateful that her dad was able to express his feelings of despair to me and still be able to respect Jamie- Not easy to do for sure.

I am scared

August 7, 2011 at 7:39 am | Posted in attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem, Utah, well being | 1 Comment
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I am totally scared. Here I am starting one of my biggest changes in life. It’s up there with having my first baby- But then I was young, naive, innocent. Now I am old, sophisticated, wise. I know all about failure. Then failure was a word that had never crossed my mind. And actually I knew nothing about success either. I just went about living my days- not knowing what would turn up from day to day. I had some of the greatest joy filled days. I was exhilarated, full of energy and life. Yet I had some days filled with sadness, heartbreak, and depression.

It is sort of the same now- I don’t know what will turn up from day to day. But here is the big difference- I now know about me. I know I can and do have the choice to be me. I can choose to be upset, relaxed, motivated, a slacker. It’s all my choice.

And by choosing and having that control I can make this change that is scary and unknown be another, and maybe the greatest, adventure of my life.

Parents-Encourage and Inspire your Girl Athletes

May 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Self Esteem | 1 Comment
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I didn’t get any exercise for me in today.  Still I had a great day-  I watched two lacrosse games.  The first was U13 girls- meaning the girls were all younger than 13 on Jan 1 2011.  This team has 16 players with 8 who have never played before and the girls range down in age to 8- So a very inexperienced and young team.  The first half was a wash out.  The other team totally creamed us.  1-13.

Not really sure how a coach could have allowed or encouraged such a slaughter at this age, but instead of totally giving up my daughter’s team kept trying.  We had two time outs when the coach spent the time totally encouraging the girls.  There was so much she could have been negative about, but she chose to talk about every little strength that the girls gave.  She also gave them specific practical skills to try.  After each time out the girls came back stronger.

The second half was a new game, with the final score being 4 to 14 (or the half being 2-3 in our favor)  So what made this difference?  Why didn’t these girls play this way for the first half?  And most importantly why did these girls go for it the second half?

Of course I told you about the coach.  But as parents we played our part.

  • We stayed attentive to the whole game. In other words we did not start to chat amongst our selves with an attitude of not caring since the girls obviously had no chance of winning.
  • We cheered and supported the girls efforts.  No one yelled about all the possible plays the girls could have made.  No one moaned when the goalie let yet another goal in.
  • Our remarks were enthusiastic and encouraging.  We yelled for sure, when the girls ran with the ball, scooped it up, made an attempt at a shot.
  • We ignored commenting about the slaughter attempt.  If anything we used the slaughter attempt to instill energy and enthusiasm in the girls.

This is the important thing. Really the ONLY thing that matters to young athletes- Our girls came off the field feeling good.  The score was not the important part.  What was important was that they actually learned to play the game.  That they were out there trying their best.  That it was lots of fun and exciting to run up and down the field.

As a parent/coach/athlete I urge you to encourage and inspire your girls. And have fun while doing it.

Do a Brain Dump to Get in the Zone and Win

April 30, 2011 at 5:49 am | Posted in Inspiration Quote Post, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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When you are clearly aligned to what you want – and you will know this because you will be heading towards having the full-body excitement and anticipation for it, you won’t be having to ‘think’ about what you want, because you will be so in your moment and heading towards it. ~ Hemal Radia

This is a critical aspect of being an elite athlete.  And doing your own personal best. Whenever I talk with national and world champion athletes there is one common theme for all of them.  When in the competition- from skiing to soccer to figure skating- you name it it’s all the same- the athlete does not THINK when competing.  They are in the ZONE.

The other thing I have noticed is that ist harder for girls to let go of thinking.  I think girls are conditioned to think.  And boys are conditioned to not think.  SO as a girl or a parent of a girl, it’s imperative to get away from thinking- about everything that needs to be done just right to succeed.  Let your self, your daughter, be free to get aligned to what you  want.  Go for it from in the Zone- with love and passion.

This zone is being completely aligned with what they want- And that is to win by doing their own personal best.  These athletes don’t want to win because others have issues and failures.  They want to win because they are so in their zone nothing can stop or alter what they are doing.

With my athletes I tell them to be brain-dead.  Some of the girls laugh at this.  But we have a little ritual.  I cup my hands and they dump their brains in- OK not really- but they tip their head and pretend to dump their brains.  Then I toss this away.

When we do this it’s a symbol of getting in full alignment with what they want- To do their own personal best.  The girls notice the difference in how they feel and that makes them be able to do their own personal best.

By the time they get to the championships they don’t think, they BE the best- Their own personal best-  And they win!

Have you ever been in the zone?  How did you get there?  What was it like?  Can you choose to get in the zone?  Share your comments with others- It may be just the thing they need.

Get the Bounce

April 16, 2011 at 6:55 am | Posted in Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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“LIFE IS FULL OF UPS & DOWNS …

The downs are best used as a springboard to catapult us towards what we prefer to experience instead.

Jumping up and down in the same spot getting frustrated that our view of life hasn’t changed, is one way to live

Taking the bounce to where we really see ourselves going and focusing ONLY on that, eagerly anticipating the possibilities, is yet another way.”

~ Elizabeth Richardson

Of course as an athlete, or the parent of an athlete, the idea that life is full of ups and downs makes perfect sense.  Each game/competition has a result that is either up or down.  You win or lose, you do well or you screw up.  It seems so cut and dry when looked at this way.
BUT of course it’s not or you would not be in this lifestyle.   It’s how you take the downs in particular that will make or break you as an athlete- Well in life for that matter.

So often I see kids and their parents doing all kinds of things OTHER than using the down as a spring board to go where they want to go.  Blaming is most common- the ref’s, the weather, the coaches, the lack of sleep, to much sleep, all kinds of food issues, other team mates- the list is endless.

When you play the blame game you go nowhere.  You stay going up and down in the exact same spot.  Your opponent has all these things going on just as you do.  If you’re going to go somewhere, then there is one way to do that.

Get the bounce. Use the bounce.  And go with your energy to YOUR greatest potential.

**********************************************************************************************************

To my freestyle skiing and snowboarding family and friends-

This is such a perfect metaphor for you-  Every time you get on that tramp you do just go up and down.  And it may seem endless that you just go up and down.  But the most important thing you can do while tramping is allow what you are doing to be part of your action visualization of being on snow.

Use YOUR bounce to go exactly where you want to go.

When you master this you master life!

Times When You Feel You Just Can’t —-

April 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Music, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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I know there are times when you feel you just can’t —- And what is really missing? Confidence. That’s all you really need.

This is one of my all time favorite songs- from my childhood to right now!  It’s helped me with many aspects of life.  Times when I’m scared to pieces, times when I know I’m on a roll-  BUT there is that little bit of me that just wants to run away and hide.

SO I sing away about having confidence in me.  And it always works.

Maria- the real Maria- had plenty of confidence.  Of course you all know her story of rags to riches to escape. But not many know what happened after that.

The shortest version is- She and her whole family ended up in the Green Mountains of VT. And still loved to sing and ski.  They did not have much money though.  Maria went to every person she knew with her script and was turned down by over 100 producers. And guess what she sang each time before her interviews?

You guessed it- This very song of confidence.  This was her own personal song and she has shared it with us through the amazing voice of Julia Andrews.

You may not choose this song, but may have another song that gives you confidence.

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