Wow.......Spotlight Athlete......I really never thought I would ever be called that.
A little history.......so I have always been an active person and I found my love for sports and everything outdoors when I was about 6 or 7. Once I began at Churchill High School I played volleyball and then made varsity softball as a freshman. After that, softball really just took over my life. I loved the team and the sport and all I dreamed of was playing in college.......unfortunately my junior year I suffered a career ending shoulder injury......unsure of what to do next I decided to graduate a year early and start the next chapter of my life. In college I didn't play any team sports but I was definitely still very active.......I started out at Texas A&M but after 2 years I realized that I wanted something different........I made the crazy decision to leave and finish my degree in Corpus Christi. While living on the beach and I loved the water.....I surfed (well as much as you can in Texas), enjoyed running, and did pretty much anything that involved being outside. I was truly happy!!!
Then my senior year......everything changed!!! My friends went on a snowboarding trip to Aspen in January of 2003. It was my first time snowboarding but I had been skiing since I was around 6. About a day into the trip I started having some significant low back pain but just kept brushing it off as maybe a bruised tailbone. I decided that I would switch to skiing because at 20 years old sitting a day out wasn't an option. Well to make a long story short it kept getting worse but I never thought it was anything more than a broken tailbone so I decided I would wait to see the doctor once we go home. After riding in a cramped car for 26 hours......I was pretty much miserable and could barely walk. When we finally got home I couldn't even feel my left leg anymore......except for the burning nerve pain shooting down the back of it. I immediately went to the med clinic and explained to the doctor I must have cracked my tailbone......he looked at me and said 'that is NOT your tailbone at all.....you have NO reflexes in your left leg.....it's your spinal cord'. At this point everything was thrown into high gear.....I was rushed over for an MRI then to San Antonio......and less than 2 days later my Nuerosurgeon had me in surgery. I had cracked 3 vertebrae (1 had pieces floating in my spinal canal) and ruptured 2 discs......1 of the discs was completely ruptured and wrapped around the nerve running down my left leg. The first surgery was just to repair as much damage as they could and get me through to the end of the summer so I could graduate. I knew I would have to endure a spinal fusion once I was done with school. So in September of 2003 they attempted the first spinal fusion. Unfortunately, years later I was still in tremendous pain so they decided that the fusion never took and I would have to have it removed and start over. In January of 2006, I underwent a massive anterior/posterior fusion that took pretty much the entire day. It was successful.......because my bones fused......but I was NEVER out of pain.
Fast forward to 2013......I had kind of resigned myself to a life of pain but I also tried to appreciate the amazing life I had......a wonderful husband and 2 amazing daughters. I lived for them and kind of just gave up on myself and definitely gave up on the idea that I would ever be the type of mom that could run and play with her kids. Every day was a struggle......I would wake up, get them off to school, return home to crawl in bed to my own little 'pity party'. I wanted so badly to have my life back and be active but every time I moved it hurt.....and I was the heaviest I had ever been including when I was pregnant!!! My family was always supportive and tried to help me find active things I could do.......but let's be honest yoga and swimming didn't give me the rush I wanted.....I wanted extreme sports or at least something high impact......so instead of trying I just gave up. I had a few good friends and a great family but even getting out and going to dinner just seemed like such a task. In June of 2014, I lost a very dear friend to cancer and it made me stop and re examine my life. I went to my doctor and pleaded for an answer but all they could offer was more surgery and medication. I said no thanks and decided that if surgery was my only option then I would at least try to knock off the weight and be in the best shape I could to recover. I started walking every other day with my kids and after getting over the initial pain I was shocked at how my body was responding!!! I continued doing that until my weight loss plateaued in December. I wanted to kick it up a notch but was terrified that if I did much more I would end up back in bed.
I was constantly hearing about this crazy place called aMAZEn Bootcamp from all the moms up at my daughter's school but just knew there was no way I could physically do it with my injury. However in January Crystal finally convinced me that there were enough modifications that I could do it!!! I remember walking in for the first time and being terrified that I would make a fool out of myself but Jordan was the coach and she eased my fears immediately!! I went in the next time and Tracy was there......she got me so excited about what I could do and pretty much made me forget about what I couldn't!! I was hooked!! Then after a couple weeks Channel was coaching and somehow I was signed up for the Crossfit Games.......it's amazing how she does that.....makes it impossible to say NO to her!!! I couldn't do all of it but I was so proud of myself for doing what I could......all thanks to everyone cheering me on!!
This is the first time in over 10 years that I have been almost completely pain-free.....except for the SORENESS!!! I can't say enough about this place.....I finally found a place that I can be comfortable and know that everyone around me is supportive and full of love......especially my crazy unicorn sister Erin!!! I am stronger and happier than I have ever been and there is nothing that explains the change more than hearing my daughter say 'Mommy.....you are so strong!! I love playing with you soooo much!!!'
Thank you for honoring me but thank you even more for inspiring me to be the BEST ME!!!
Tracy Ma 10:46pm
So excited for you. Totally deserve this!!! Love your effort...and determination...even if u do tend to whine a lill 😂😂 haha. Jk!!!! Melissa Michelle Marie Sarah ❤️❤️ Nuthin' but love you for. It's been awesome to watch your fitness journey....and see you getting stronger 💪 and stronger, and feeling better and better! Can't wait to do your WOD!!!!
Erin S 9:50pm
Congratulations my unicorn sister!! So proud of you! You have an incredible story and look amazing!! Love you!!