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Fall down 7 times, get up 8!

What does this thought mean to you? Does it mean persistence? Stubborness? Resilience? Determination?

For Jessica, it means all of the above. You fall down 7 times and you get up 8 times. Or you fall down 17 times and you get up 18 times. It means persistence through hip and health problems and a chin up attitude even when you want to wallow in pain and frustration.

Jessica is a great example of moving forward. She is just about a year out from hip arthroscopy. About three years prior to her injury, she was on the fast track to Diabetes. She took notice, listened and made changes. She changed her nutritional and exercise approach and did not arrive at that final destination called Diabetes. Fortunately, her new road map took her through half-marathons, Spartan races and obstacle races. She was able to celebrate a new healthful attitude with strength and passion.

Those road trips and the new attitude helped her with an unexpected detour compliments of an epic blizzard in the province of Saskatchewan. What is wrong with a blizzard? From this California girl’s perspective, you stay indoors, fire, hot cocoa, right? Nope. Jessica was out shoveling snow for 6 hours. There was no relaxing. No feet up. No floating marshmallows in a warm cup of cocoa. Lots of cold and then immediate pain.

Excruciating. Debilitating.

Jessica continued pushing through the pain she experienced for weeks after her marathon snow shoveling. Finally, her body, physiotherapist and doctor told her to, “Stop!” She was unable to walk or stand and lying down was not even comfortable.

Initial Diagnosis: Possible labral tear. Prescription: Bed rest until formal diagnosis.

Her good news was that she had a family doctor who listened and quickly made the right calls. She was formally diagnosed with a labral tear and ended up with surgery fairly quickly.

For all of you hippies, pay attention!

There is life after hip problems. Jessica was able to get through the surgery and rehab. The biggest challenge for her was patience. She said, “This is a long journey - it isn’t an instant fix. Even when you complete the rehab process, you still have to be more aware of your body - more stretching, take more time to ease into an activity - now I have to walk a bit before I run when I used to just run.”

Artwork by Cally Jane

But one of her life lessons from this hip detour was the idea of being able to take some breaks and down time. When you’re one that runs instead of walks, you have to learn to appreciate slowing down. She also had that light bulb moment when she realized that she needed to listen to her own voice about her progress and her situation. She needed to quiet other's voices of doubt whether intentional or unintentional.

Jessica is most proud of simply not giving up. Putting one foot in front of the other. She has run a 5K but has goals of longer distances. She misses the Spartan races but realizes that they may not be on her road map. She does train with her team, but is mostly focused on a “healthy lifestyle, trail running and one day, more mountain hikes.”

Jessica is proud of where she has come and where she is going. She realizes that it is best to give up some things, but she is “still living”. “Giving up one type of a race isn’t the end of the world - just a new beginning for me.”

Jessica has a mantra, a motto…whatever you want to call it. “She believed she could, so she did.” Jessica has maintained a positive attitude and wants you to understand that you need to “be patient with yourself. Listen to your body. Take time to do one thing a day that allows you to relax. It’s great to be active but getting off your feet to relax is also great too.”

She is very proud of her recovery and believes that “if others are inspired by that, that makes [her] journey just that much more amazing.” She is content with her journey and her success. She is not looking back but looking forward.

Although Jessica sees herself as a regular person just living life,the challenges of Spartan races to the challenge of being at peace with rest, her journey shows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is sometimes hard to see through the tears, the what ifs, the pain, the frustration. You have got to keep putting one foot in front of another. Believe in the support of others. You are not in this journey by yourself!

Looking back isn't going to help you. Moving forward is the thing you have to do.

-McKayla Maroney

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