One year ago today I was medically released from the Canadian Armed Forces as a Military Police Officer. I sustained a life altering back injury while on duty. I now have an implant in my back which makes me “Undeployable”. I LOVED my time in the service and try not to let my injury dictate my life or my limits. It’s not always easy and sometimes I take it day by day. But that’s all I need it one day more than the last. I only look back to see how far I’ve come
This photo is of me and Captain Maley. She was so awesome to work with throughout my medical release. She advocated for me like no one else. Anyone who knows military red tape and politics knows how painful of a process this can be.
This was a gift presented to me from my Platoon. It was such a wonderful surprise and meant so much to me. I now have something that reminds me of my time in the service and all the amazing people I served next too.
So many people don’t know what happened to me that caused my injury. Before shifts our Platoon would do PT (Physical Training). It was different every week. One of our favourite things to do before shift was play hockey. Shocker, right? Canadians playing hockey? Who would have thought!
This one particular game was a little more competitive. Lots of new recruits and lots of other sections of military personnel were watching us. One Private and I were not letting one another get past each other. All in good fun. Well at one moment in the game this Private and I had our sticks entwined and neither one of us would give up. Eventually one of our sticks broke and I fell. Directly on top of the blade of the hockey stick and then the other male Private fell directly on top of me. Forcing the blade of the stick to lodge right between my glutes. So imagine a dirty, hard hockey stick and then a 200 lb man falling on top of me forcing the object in more…..
It was a total freak accident. At first my adrenaline was pumping so hard that I didn’t realize how injured I was. So much so that I was demanded to continue to play on for another 40 minutes. Once the adrenaline subsided a little I realized I was in a lot of trouble.
To not get into the nuts and bolts of the horrible experience. I ended up driving myself to the hospital and found out that I tore all the muscles and tendons off the left side of my pelvis, jammed my sacrum and all this caused my coccyx to dislocate and relocate on and off for nearly a year while this all healed. I also hit so hard that I put so much pressure onto my spine that I bulged the disc between L4 & L5. Not to mention the tear the initial blow caused my rectum…. I couldn’t sit flat for 3 years!! The pain would be so terrible I couldn’t do anything but lay flat on the floor.
Pain management was unbearable. I tried everything from Physio (Physical Therapy), Massage, scraping, rolfing, internal physio (Yup, tried this too). Spinal injections, cauterizing of nerve endings, prednisone pills which made me explode in weight gain, nerve pills, you name it, I likely tried it. I started treatment in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Then worked with specialists in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Then in Provo, Utah, USA. Finally I met with a Neurologist in Provo which suggested I get a Spinal Stimulator implanted in my spine to block the pain receptors sending signals to my brain.
“Spinal cord stimulation (also called SCS) uses electrical impulses to relieve chronic pain of the back, arms and legs. It is believed that electrical pulses prevent pain signals from being received by the brain. SCS candidates include people who suffer from neuropathic pain and for whom conservative treatments have failed.”
This implant was truly a life changer. After surgery I was in bed recovering for 8 weeks. Nut I can sit flat! It’s a miracle. It’s not perfect and doesn’t take 100% of the pain away but it allows me to have my life back. I can push a grocery cart again (Was truly an issue after my injury) and do basic chores again much better and can work out with modifications. Squats are still an issue and not sure I’ll ever be able to do typical ones ever.
I promise you, continue to look forward and only look back, but to see how far you’ve come. Your body is amazing and capable of so much. Keep advocating for yourself. Pain is not a death sentence and you deserve to live a full and happy life. <3