Candace's Favorite Things

Monday, April 12, 2010


With my MRI films up on the wall and my spirits on edge, my surgeon was about to ’lovingly’ but honestly, finish me off. After he rendered his verdict, GUILTY with a side of “Surgery now”, and this time, without the chance of parole for good behavior; he lifted his gavel and with a blow that could be heard round the world, he read my sentence. Truth be told, it was a just Punishment for my crimes, “a life long participation in extreme sports with a second indictment for bad luck while driving, resulting in a broken neck”. I was confident. I’d been in this exact position before and each time, I’d defied the laws of nature. I was cocky. “I have this, and if I he starts to get crazy, I’ll talk my way out of it”, I told myself. He began. Me, I looked at him with an overly self confident hint of a ‘chip on my shoulder’ kind of grin…. “Candace” he lowered his voice, “after this surgery, you won’t be running. You don’t want to run on this”!!!!!
PREGNANT PAUSE……………. I just sat there. I had to have looked like a deer caught in headlights. But instead of the average run of the mill drive by hit and run that broadsides the poor animal leaving devastation in it’s wake, this was going to be an all out assault with automatic weapons and Bazookas, “NO running….” I said, pondering this strange phrase, “Oh, you want me to produce less impact by dropping back to an easy jog kinda thing”. “Ah, Candace….” I continued, “So just exactly what does that mean? I need you to be VERY specific. I don’t want to go through all this and mess it up and TRUST ME, unless you tell me exactly what I can and can’t do, I WILL”!! (Famous last words), “Ok, NO RUNNING OF ANY KIND…it’s not an option anymore. You can walk, but you can’t be running on this neck anymore. You shouldn’t be now, much less after the surgery. If you mess this up, we don’t want to have to try and put it back together again, it’s not something you want to do. So”, and then he launched the rockets and began a Dirty Harry style, full out attack. When he was finished with this round, I was so devastated, I had no will to fight back, …. “no running, jogging, kick boxing because there’s just too much impact and too much torque. NO more road cycling”…. a twist of the sword in the heart…he had to be going over board now, I was ready to go to the mat on this one. I opened my mouth to start a protest and he continued with a reasonable explanation that made me want to throw up on his shoes “The possibility of falling, much less crashing, would be devastating to the integrity of the spine. You can swim (a ray of hope, although it’s not my favorite method of training), but you’ll need to buy a snorkel first so that you can stay face down and not constantly torque the neck to breathe ( wrong again, as he killed that one with one final low blow)”! ………………there was silence……..I just looked at him....there I was, sitting on his exam table, having just barely made it on time. The reason I was pushing the exam time? I’d just ripped a fast 7 miler, (sorry, translation…a hot run), before showering so fast, it’d make a super hero jealous and now, I was cowering in the corner having my heart ripped out. While I’m numbly listening, my heart was beating at a mere rate of 40 BPM and my body fat percentage so lean that my veins were popping out of my arms. All of which of course mainly the result of my participation in the activities that he’d just nixed! He’s just told me that all the fierce cardio that keeps me in this kind of super crazy shape had just been thrown out the window. Oh, and in return for this punishment, he had more good news. He was going to replace all that fun, exciting, endorphin producing, sanity keeping activity with a scar on the front of my throat, a cadaver bone, a steel plate, some kind of rod I think and a plate that would be screwed in to hold it all in place WITH the possibility of more surgery in the future! YIPEE lucky me! To top it all off, I was to receive an eight week, 24/7 neck braced recovery. A process that ends with a reward of walking to replace a running CAREER, the use of elliptical trainers, stair masters, no impact activities with fierce torque components (so I was to immediately to cancel my two killer, packed, and off the chain…killer kick boxing classes that would make the most fit individual SCREAM two days later from buns that couldn’t be sat upon). I’d like to add a disclaimer before I mention what I really thought about the SWIMMING WITH GOOFY LOOKING SNORKLE idea. Absolutely no offense to my fellow swimming peers, trust me when I say, hats off to you. I just can’t catch ya in the water. It’s just not my thing. I LOVE THE WATER… but to me, what was already not my cup of tea, had now been offered up as such a boring past time, I’d rather poke my eyes out. What he was offering was something like this. Snorkel in mouth, goofy mask in place off I’d go. Here’s what I’d be saying in my mind….“ I’m swimming, I’m swimming, I’m staring at the line at the bottom of the pool, I’m staring at the line at the bottom of the pool.. oh wait, I’m turning….AND…. I’m swimming, I’m swimming “, ETC! You get the idea. OH YEAH, wait, wait for it…. you’re gonna love this one, (how could I almost forget the best part)…..when weight training, I have to drop to lower weights and do higher reps!!!!!!! …to stay this strong and in this kind of shape, while cardio is a huge part of the picture, weight training is KING! While I’ve relayed all of this information to you with a tongue in cheek attitude, let’s talk bottom line. I run a fitness corporation. It’s my career. I have certain PHYSICAL responsibilities. I have things that I do that require me to be able to move in particular ways, ways that were just removed from my repertoire. I am a professionally sponsored athlete. I do these things to keep my sanity, but when I compete and do well, I’m also paid for it. Forgetting all of that for a moment, personally speaking, as far as a quality of life kind of thing, the fact is that once in a while, I actually just love a nice long run along the beach while on my yearly summer trip to my favorite place on earth, Kona, Hawaii. Interestingly enough, while still blessed to be going, that’s exactly where I’ll be, God willing, just two weeks after they take this thing off my neck. SO, I’ll immediately be faced with going to my favorite place on earth to do all of these activities and now, they’re gone…for good! Before I leave you with those thoughts tonight, I must add one disclaimer. I am healthy (with a few kinks in the hose), with a body that can still do SO many things. I will be able to do all the things I just joked about because my body isn’t paralyzed. My, isn’t God good. Tonight, I’d like to take my hat off to all of you out there who have been told YOU’LL NEVER, EVER WALK AGAIN!!! To those who were told they have CANCER today…to those of you who have just been diagnosed with a terminal disease, and those who have been living with disease every day of your life. To those of you who lost a family member, or who won’t ever be able to eat food without a tube again. Suffering is all around us. YOU FOLKS, YOU ARE MY HEROS. Trust me, in comparison… I understand where this falls. But I’m wounded…..even if comparatively speaking… just a little. But, like I said, I’ve got a plan and I’m STILL SMILING! Can’t wait to tell you what I’ve already been doing since day five after surgery, but I’ll let you sit with this just a bit and BE GREATFUL, be very very GREATFUL…I KNOW I AM!
For now ponder this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”


  1. wow, candice what an incredible blog! you are quite the inspiration to all of us out there. it's amazing to me that everything you have been through and are going through to date,keeping your strength and positive attitude. you are just incredible!!!! keep it up honey and the quote really hit a place in me WOW!!! thank you so much for all you do you for everyone out you wendy

  2. Honey, you are sooooo inspirational to all of us because of everything that you are sharing. You are touching so many lives and I thank you for that! love Wendy