My name is Trina. In a nutshell, I’m Northern Manitoba meets Alberta, with ancestry German and Cree descent, and I am a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. I’m a mother of an amazing little boy who is my current BFF. I have loved being a writer for the past couple of years.
I grew up in a single-parent home in a small, remote mining town in northern Manitoba. On some days it was quite literally the coldest place on earth. Most days were spent at the arena or on our backyard rink that my Dad dedicated hours to building for my brother and me. My Dad, a jock by nature, gravitated towards coaching community sports and signed me up for everything he put my brother in along the way. Baseball, lacrosse, and hockey, which ended up being my sport of choice. Sometimes it was a challenge being the only girl on the team, but I certainly learned to “hang with the boys” and ever since I’ve never had a problem being the only girl in a group.
Hockey was a vehicle for me to do so many things, although sometimes, sadly, held back by concussions, injury, and even bad choices. I’m proud to have played University Hockey, Professional Female Hockey, and to have spent a year playing women’s hockey overseas in the Swiss Women’s League. The list though, is nothing compared to the friends, coaches, and mentors I’ve collected through sport.
Fast forward to today and I’m dealing with a difficult time. In 2013, I delivered my son and EVERYTHING changed. He’s perfectly healthy, and that’s number one, so I’m grateful for that! But, what happened to me in the process was devastating. The doctor made a mistake and essentially cut a muscle in my body as well as tore some muscles off of my tailbone. This also resulted in stress fractures at the base of my spine.
I was sent home as if it was a normal delivery, but I couldn’t walk, stand, hold my baby, or take the stairs. But I had to. I was a new Mom after all. Over the past eight years, I have endured disability, pain, hundreds of needles and injections, scans, physiotherapy, and tried everything to get the pain under control. To this day, I still must alter every day to get through it.
When my son turned one it was time to go back to work and I knew that I could not make it from the bus stop to the office. I was forced to quit and tried my hand at freelance marketing work, with a focus on writing, so I could work from home to help my family with regular bills and medical bills that were sometimes topping $1,000 a month.
It’s been eight years of good days and bad days, making progress and enduring setbacks, searching the internet for a doctor that can help, and trying to help the people around you understand that you are essentially a new person. Your old self is gone and the expectations of you need to be different.
The best way to explain a condition like this to others I found is by sharing The Spoon Theory created by Christine Meserandino, because it describes the idea of having limited ability to give to a day.
Her story went a little something like this: While sitting in a café with her friend, she was trying to adequately communicate to able-bodied people what it’s like to struggle daily with chronic pain, illness, or disability. She grabbed 12 spoons to work as her metaphor for her daily energy stores and gave the spoons to her friend asking her go ahead and explain how her day starts. She took back a spoon from her friend every time an activity, like taking a shower, getting dressed, or driving to work, was mentioned. The message gradually got through to Christine’s friend, who was surprised by how clear the experiment had painted the picture.
An able-bodied person has an unlimited amount of spoons for their day, whereas a ‘spoonie’, like me, only has so many before they need to lay down or call it quits. Every day is a juggling act! What can you do and what has to sadly be sacrificed.
It’s definitely difficult, losing every hobby you’ve ever had, the career you had planned, the ability to sit on a chair without being in pain. So, what do you do? What I’ve learned is that every spoon matters, and that there are things that I can do to earn myself more spoons. For me, more spoons = happiness!
That means I need to do my therapy exercises, get the right amount of sleep every night, keep my weight in check, say no to things I can’t do, be efficient with my work hours, go to my appointments, meditate, bring a seat cushion into a restaurant, build my strength, remain hopeful that there is a doctor or surgery out there that can help.
I despise missing out or sitting on the sidelines for social things like taking my son to his sports, birthday parties, joining in a golf game, skating with my son on our outdoor rink, being a helpful friend, and delivering a job well done to my clients. I want to give my spoons to THOSE things and that’s why they are indeed so precious.
When I don’t feel like going to yet another chiro or physio appointment, or doing my exercises, or getting another painful needle into my back, I always ask myself, “What would you do for just one more spoon,” and then I go through with whatever it takes.