Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Experience of a Lifetime

It's was a year ago tomorrow that I had the experience of a lifetime.

Last September I had a medical test that showed some unusual results. After months of testing I got the diagnosis of cancer. Just in case having multiple sclerosis wasn't enough. Two days before Thanksgiving I had surgery. Nice way to ruin a holiday. Mark, my hubby, made the most incredible Thanksgiving Feast while I wallowed in pain.
A week before Christmas I got the all clear, they believe they got it all. Yeah !!

On Christmas Eve day, I received a call from the Adaptive Sports Association in Durango Colorado. With everything I had going on I had completely forgotten I had applied for this scholarship. Well, the phone call, advised me I got it and would I like to come to Durango and learn to snow ski?
Oh my god ! Me on ski's ! They don't call me Cathy the Klutz for nothing.
But after what Ihad just been through my perspective on life changed and I was so ready for a challenge. I accepted and the transformation began.
I had attempted to go skiing with my sister when I was 18. It was pouring rain, I was wearing jeans and we never had any instruction so I just sat there and cried.

I was flown to Durango Colorado by myself for four days of snow skiing.
When I got there I was welcomed by my "Host Family". Two of the most wonderful people
I have ever met.
Their dog greeted me the way my dog greets people and I was covered with slobber. I immediately felt at home.
The next morning we arrived at the ski hut and I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed.
A crew of 5 plus were assigned to me to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses.
I was pretty adamant that I didn't want the sit ski, that I wanted to do this standing.
We proceeded to get on a ski lift ( something I had never done before and I am a bit terrified of heights).
When the ski lift reached the top I got off and skied with help to our designated spot. I had
to stop in my tracks, so to speak, and fight back the tears. I couldn't believe I was doing this.
My instructor turned to me and said " It's okay, everybody has that reaction".
In the days that followed I learned so much about my body and how strong I really was.
I learned to focus, bend my knees, look straight ahead. The only thing I kept forgetting to do was BREATHE ! I tried all different types of apparatus including a walker type of device and a very cool ski bike. I beleive I got as high as 11,000 feet ( a whole new version of rocky mountain high)
My legs really held up. My body surprised me. I got winded one day and had to use my asthma spray. Probably the altitude. I came home from this adventure feeling like I can do anything.

Never in a million years did I think my multiple sclerosis body would be skiing down a mountain standing. My hubby and I had planned to go skiing this season but the economy put an end to those plans. I am so hooked. My body stepped up to the plate and excelled.
To think just a few years ago I was using a wheelchair everywhere I went and now I was skiing standing..
It still brings tears to eyes.
It was an expereince of a lifetime. I have never met so many compassionate people, who get it and they don't even have multipe sclerosis.
I would encourage all of you to apply for this program. I am going to link my website with thiers.
Here is their website:
Tell them I sent you. It is an experience you deserve.

I want to go back. Maybe they will have a reunion or maybe I can do their river rafting program. Please please please check it out. You won't regret it.


Tell a Friend !

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