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THE SIDELINES

I am not a sit on the sidelines” kind of gal.

I am in it.  I am in the game.  I am in the adventure.  I am playing full out.  I am making things happen in whatever way I can.

This coming weekend…I will be sitting on the sidelines.

Let me explain…

Wait!  Before I explain, I do not want sympathy but I will take some positive vibes if you have some to spare:)Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - The Sidelines - Dr Erica Peabody

By now, you all know that I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro back in March of this year.  I had a successful summit, flew home the next day, had one day to rest and then I was back at Cafe of LIFE, my chiropractic practice, being the chiropractor that I always am.

Two weeks later one of my favorite yoga studios, Bent Yoga, started a 6 week yoga challenge.  In those 6 weeks the challenge was to complete 32 yoga classes in 42 days.  “Piece of cake” said my internal voice and I signed right up.

I also workout every single day in some way and I have had a regular step aerobics class that I have attended for years every single week at my favorite gym, Genesys Athletic Club.

I also have done a couple cleanses which included two long walks (8-9 miles) as part of the protocol in the past few months.

Every single one of the activities I feel fine during, but soreness has followed ever since my climb.  Then I would do something again, and I am fine but maybe a little more sore the next time.  …more sore…and more sore…and more sore.

The beginning of June I decided to scale way back on the intensity of all of my workouts and simply just walk and lift weights.  I would feel good for a while and -> so I would want to increase again -> and I would get set back again.

I always heal.  No problem for my body, I always heal.  Until now…

The end of July I got some x-rays taken of my foot and ankle to rule out stress fracture.  Bones are fine.  “It is ligament damage and if you do not rest, you are heading for surgery.”  WHAT?!?!?!  “Oh and here is a boot you will wear for 6 weeks and we will see how you are at the end of those 6 weeks.”

Um…boot?  I cannot adjust and serve my patients IN A BOOT!!!Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - The Sidelines - Dr Erica Peabody

Most of you have no idea any of this is going on.  When you come to my office, the focus is on YOUR HEALING, not mine.  The focus is on YOU, not me.  We are serving YOU and YOUR FAMILIES, not me.  This is our way.  I truly cannot wear my boot to the office.  I tried adjusting one of my chiropractors and I got stuck and had to have him push me back up to my feet.  No bueno, that is not going to work.

So instead I slowly and mindfully walk through the office and take care of patients.  And when I am doing that, I am pain free.  Then after work and whenever I am not there, I am in my boot.

When I really slowed down back in June, I told my man that “if I slow down, maybe I will heal and still be able to run the Crim 10 mile road race.”  

This Crim is this coming weekend.

I will be on the sidelines.

Sometimes I can find the blessing in it all and sometimes I am crushed over not being able to run those 10 miles.

The Crim rolls around every year.  It is one of the greatest days that Flint has all year.  The energy is high, spirits are high, music is blasting through the streets and there are thousands of people accomplishing big goals that day.  It is a FUN day and really fun to be part of it all.

I have ran the Crim for the past 12 years and when the end of August comes, it is just part of what happens and in the back of my mind it is sort of a way that I prove to myself that “I still have it”.  It is a head game for me.  I have been told that some people think that I don’t have any of those “head games” going on for me…but WE ALL DO!!!  Every last one of us is playing a game with those internal voices EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I attended an incredible event this past weekend which brought my awareness to a whole new level surrounding this subject.  For the past two months, I have been in so much pain that even when I simply see a runner, I view it as a horror film in the back of my mind “That would be so painful”.  When I see high heels I also view that with so much distress.  I realize that “if thoughts are things” and they are, that these thoughts have inhibited my healing process as well.  We head in the direction our thoughts go and so I may as well spend my time getting excited for when I can get back to running and wearing heels (not that I wear heels a lot but I do like having options, ya know).

I am sure I will shed some tears from the sidelines this weekend.

I am sure I will laugh and be entertained from the sidelines.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - The Sidelines - Dr Erica Peabody

I will actually get to see the head of the pack finish the race (let’s be honest, I never see them ever for my entire race at my pace).

I will hang with everyone else’s families and friends as they cheer on their runners from the sidelines.

I will cheer the loudest for my man from the sidelines.

I will cheer all my patients on and yell real loud from the sidelines.

I will stand proudly in my boot, excited for the coming years and returning to running, from the sidelines.

I have already learned so many lessons from the sidelines these past couple months and I will report back to you what that day teaches me from the sidelines.

I will cheer for this life and my incredible body that has chosen a successful summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro instead of finishing the Crim this year.

I will sit in massive gratitude to just BE ALIVE while I sit on the sidelines.

And now that I am finishing up this piece of writing, maybe I will actually enjoy the sidelines.

The best part is, I do not have to sit on the sidelines of the dance floor at the after party, so meet me there for a jig!!!

Best wishes for an incredible 10 miles this coming Saturday and wave to me if you see me on the sidelines!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR

I learned the value of a dollar from a very young age.  I come from a hard working family and not a whole lot was just given to us once we had earning potential.

That earning potential started around age 12 with babysitting and by age 14 I was working in our family orchard store.  Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Value of a Dollar - Dr Erica Peabody

During high school I worked locally at the grocery store and nights were spent babysitting.  In fact, just last week I ran into one of the kids I babysat one summer that helped me earn money enough to pay for half of my 1977 Buick LaSabre ( <<–OH YEAH!!!)  , my first car.

I think it goes without saying that the money we earn through our own blood, sweat and tears makes us appreciate what we buy with it even more.  The work we do adds massive value to the earnings.

This post is not about earning money…I want to talk about the VALUE OF A DOLLAR…but even more than that, I want to talk about the VALUE OF A LOCAL DOLLAR.

I was leaving my office, Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic, last night and I was struck by one of the coolest concepts that I have to take a moment and share the details.

I see many local business owners and one was leaving my office at the very end of the night, he was my last patient.  This particular guy owns a painting company and does a lot of work for a local restaurant.  I also frequent that restaurant as well as have hired this guy to do some work around my building.

So as he was leaving my office last night, I stopped dead in my tracks with this thought…

I am leaving my office and heading to a restaurant for dinner.  I sit down and eat great food and pay for it as well as the service there at that establishment.  That restaurant needs painting done and so that restaurant takes some of those same dollars and pays this painter to come into their space and do his work for a fair money exchange.  Now because this particular painter is so busy and has been for years, he has some regular work to be done on his spine to keep him in tip top shape so that he can keep doing what he is doing for a long time.  He comes to my office regularly for chiropractic care and spends some of those dollars he earned painting that restaurant.  Then I take some of those dollars he spends on his chiropractic care and I pay my staff for helping me run my office.  My staff all live locally (actually born and raised in this area) and go to have incredible food and spend some of their wage at that same restaurant.  I am a big fan of that restaurant and so I go back and spend those dollars there as well…and the cycle continues.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Value of a Dollar - Dr Erica Peabody

Now I use plastic for most transactions in my life, it is just easier to track that way.  But let’s say I use single dollar bills to do all of this, and let’s say that the restaurant and that painter do as well.  In all actuality, one single dollar could literally travel that loop for years and years to come.  Of course some of those dollars need to go elsewhere to keep lights on and supplies stocked and such, but WOW!!!  WHAT A CONCEPT!!!

The power and value of a dollar means something to all of us.  But I want to challenge you to take a closer look into this concept and just how POWERFUL your LOCAL DOLLARS spent really are.  Maybe these people are your neighbors.  Maybe they are the owners of your favorite restaurant or hair salon or bike shop or other service location.

This isn’t a rant about where and with whom you spend your money.  Not at all.  I just wanted to shine the light on how money is energy and the dollar bill isn’t created or destroyed, it is like energy and just changes hands and gets a LOT OF THINGS done!!!  When that energy is invested back into the local businesses, it becomes true power for this community.

Fenton is very “small business friendly” and even more so as the years go by.  I currently live right downtown and as I walk by the stores and business, I realize my friends own and run those places, real friends and really good people.  Fenton is a really cool place to be and in saying all of that, I want to say THANK YOU!!!!  to the community for having me and my office as part of it all.  As you are going through your days to come, think about the value in a dollar and just how much value we can all contribute to this energy circle right here in this beautiful town.

 

 

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THIS IS 40

It is almost 3 months into my 40th year and I find my inner voice saying “this is 40” in the back of my head at least a few times per week lately.

I spent a week in Florida over the 4th of July.  My travel was hooked to a International Chiropractic Pediatric Association seminar the weekend of July 8-9 but I went down to get a change of scenery the Tuesday prior.  I have not mastered the art of “stay-cation” where I just stay home instead of going to work.  I take 2 weeks off per year, Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - This is 40- Dr Erica Peabodyone at the holidays and one at the 4th of July however I have to leave town to not go into work.  It is not possible for me, YET anyway, to just hang out at home and take time off from work.  The guilt rules my days and getting on a plane and being away makes it peaceful for me so I am able to relax and let go of the office for a bit.

My most favorite way to start my days on vacation is to put on a swim suit and a cover-up and walk the beach for 1-2 hours.  It is a peaceful time of day and the walking helps the energy and thoughts surface organically.  In fact, the friends that I often vacation with, began to start asking me what the “song of the day” is because, inevitably, a song would surface in the morning time.  There is always a song in my mind however when it is quiet, it gets really loud.

While in Florida last week, my morning routine changed.  I still walked the beach but I had to have socks and shoes on.  My left foot is still not right from my trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro.  If you saw me in my day to day, I am fine and my foot is fine.  As soon as I start moving forward deliberately walking, it yells at me.  My walk is now a stroll and socks and shoes don’t look cool with bathing suit and swim cover so I wore workout clothes.  Which is fine.  So I am out there the first morning walking, strolling, on the beach for 45 minutes to start my day.  I look down and am in socks and shoes and avoiding the waves as they come to shore, instead of barefoot and walking in the water and my inner voice pipes up “This is 40”.

That bums me out.  I realize I just have to let my body rest and my foot will recover but it has really slowed me down.

In these moments, I know the very best thing to do is to start reviewing my current gratitude list to override that little pesky voice inside of my head.

“I have an incredibly strong and healthy body, stronger and healthier than every before.  This is 40.”Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - This is 40 - Dr Erica Peabody

“I have an amazing chiropractic practice that has been amazing all these 12.5 years it has been open but it is a new level of awesome as I have progressed as a doctor and servant to my community.  This is 40.”

“I have outstanding relationships with my brothers and their families and can bring the wisdom I have gained over the years to help guide the littles in my family and offer unconditional love in their lives.  This is 40.”

“I have learned so many great, hard, wonderful, nasty, eye-opening lessons in life and love.  This is 40.”

“I am grateful to share regular time with my amazing Mom as we have grown to be such allies in life.  This is 40.”

“I have found an incredible supportive loving relationship and I am grateful for all the lessons in love up to this point.  This is 40.”

“I have come to a point in my life that I realize 100% of what I focus on heads my way so I better keep it positive and fruitful.  This is 40.”

“I realize the days, weeks, months and years go by so quickly and have learned to squeeze the juice out of every single day.  This is 40.”

“I am more and more grateful for all the little moments during the days that make my heart warm; from serving my patients, to stopping along my morning stroll to take in the beauty of a neighbor’s yard, to the simple hugs from loved ones, to laying down in my bed earlier at night in order to get proper rest to keep my body strong and healthy. This is 40.”

“It is obvious who ‘real’ friends are, who is in my tribe, and to invest in those relationships.  This is 40.”

“I realize how fast I got to 40 and I will spend the next 40 years trying to slow life down and smile even more.  This is 40”

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Trivial things like having to wear socks and shoes while walking the beach can really take us, well me for sure, out of my game.  I know and trust the tools I have worked to develop in my life that can change that feeling of being bummed and it all begins with GRATITUDE.  This life is not perfect.  These days have their own inherent challenges.  Life lessons come at us in all shapes and sizes.

But be grateful. Search for that silver lining.  For me, even though I had to wear socks and shoes to support my feet while I walked on the beach every morning and every evening, I am grateful I CAN walk and I am grateful to have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and realize it is just a reminder of my journey…for now.  This is 40 and I LOVE being 40!!

 

 

 

 

 

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SERVING OTHERS

The concept of “serving others” lives at the core of my being.

I remember 2 years into private practice at Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic I called my mom and said “So I wake up, eat, go to work, come home and eat lunch, go back to work, exercise, home for dinner and then to bed to get up and do it all over again.  Is this all there is?”Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

I had jobs along the way however being a chiropractor was my first true career and I opened my own practice right out of school.  I busted my behind (and still do) to get this thing up and running and 2 years into it I made a realization that this is what I would be spending my years doing and it blew my mind to think that was all there is.

When I say that, I am not ignorant to the fact that many are married with children and running families and doing the same thing, however, our lives are truly filled quite full with time spent at work.

My very next thought was…”THANK GOD I am in a profession serving others.”

Service is my highest heart calling and my life has revolved around that for over 12 years in private practice and a few years beyond that during my internship at school.

It was dinnertime our second day on Mt. Kilimanjaro, we sat down and one of the first comments I heard was “Man, I really wish there was a chiropractor here.”

When I am out and about in my personal life, I do not always offer up front that I am a chiropractor and since it hadn’t some up in conversation yet, not many in that particular crowd knew I was.  …well until that very moment anyway.

Day 2 of the trek I still felt yucky, sore, tired and out of it.  That is not a place to “serve others” from since my own tank was on empty but it was now sitting in the back of my mind.

I could probably adjust this entire group.

It would do every single person some good in making the trek a success.

It only takes my hands.

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This thought sat in the back of my mind the following day as we made our way to the next campsite.  As we hiked along that next day, or porters would pass us on the trail.  As they cruised by us, they all carried about 30 pounds of stuff on top of their heads and I know one carried 30 pounds of my own stuff.  This is their job and many had been doing it for years.

From a chiropractor’s eyes, it is so clear to see just how much stress has been placed on their spines and it dawned on me that I should spend any extra energy I have serving them.  The 31 women on this trek live good lives and have access to all the care they need at home.  This is not to discount their need in that moment but many of our team of porters and guides had never heard of chiropractic and had no concept of what a chiropractic adjustment could do…much less how beneficial it would be to their spines, nervous systems, health and well-being and multiply that by the fact they carry so much weight on their heads on a regular basis.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

Our day 3 hike was long and tough.  I stopped part way down the trail and adjusted Kelly (my patient/friend that invited me on this trip in the first place) and that led to a couple staff members lining up to get checked. That led to me offering my services to all staff and  I opened up a make-shift office outside of the dinner tent, which pretty much just consisted of a chair that the staff could sit in so I could check and adjust their spines.

Many stood back and watched, but some jumped right in with full trust.  By serving them, my own energy lifted.  This is a usual thing that happens, even at my office here in town.  By helping others, I am helped.  By helping others to heal, I am healed.  By helping others to increase the energy inside their bodies, my energy increases.  It is the COOLEST thing about this work I do.  Serving others helps me.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

It also fills my heart and nothing is more satisfying than what happened the very next day.  I was stopped and standing on the side of the trail.  One of the guides, that was really reluctant to sit down in my chair the evening before but decided he would in the end, walked up to me and sort of whispered “That ‘thing’ you did to me yesterday, I have been so calm ever since.  Do you think you could do that again before you leave?”

Then the following day he stops me as says “That ‘thing’…do you think you could teach me how to do that so I could help my team?”

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”  -Marianne Williamson

There is serious power in those adjustments, every chiropractic adjustment is powerful and I often wish you all could feel what I feel in my hands.  Being able to release healing energy inside of the body to allow people to be stronger, healthier and adapt to the internal and external stresses in their lives better, I would argue it is one of the greatest things in life.

Serving others truly is one of the greatest things in life.

I am blessed and lucky to be spending my days waking up, eating, going to work at the Cafe, coming home and eating lunch, going back to work, exercising, then home for dinner and then to bed to get up and do it all over again the next day serving others.

 

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SURRENDER

Many things have crossed my mind over the past 3 months, many, many, many life lessons learned and one of the greatest has been SURRENDER.

In the 10 days that we were on Mt. Kilimanjaro and and traveling to and from Africa, I counted somewhere around a total of 24 hours of sleep.   Once I was on the mountain, I averaged around 3 hours of sleep per night.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Surrender - Mt Kilimanjaro Dr Erica Peabody

The dayss would look like this:

  • The team would come to each tent and wake us up at 6:30am.
  • We would make it to breakfast at  7 and on the trail around 8.
  • We would hike for 3-4 hours and stop for lunch.  We would hike another 3-4 hours to the next camp so our days were around 6-8 hours of total hiking time.
  • We would get settled in and they would call us for dinner around 6:30-7pm.
  • We would get our briefing for the following day, turn our water bladders for our camelbaks in and head back to our tents around 8-8:30.

At this point we were free to go to sleep and that would have been AWESOME if I would have been able to.  There is this thing called “high altitude insomnia”.  It happens because the heart is beating faster than usual, like it does for exercise, because there is less oxygen.  My my mind thought my body was still working out and it is very hard to sleep with my body in that mode.

My usual is I would finally find sleep around 11ish and sleep for about 3 hours and then be up for the rest of the night.  This happened every single night.  I would lay there frustrated because I knew every minute I wasn’t sleeping was also a minute my body wasn’t truly resting and recuperating from the intense day before and not really able to prepare for the next intense day ahead.

When the team would come by the tent at 6:30am to wake us up again, I would be so beside myself with frustration.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Surrender Hike - Dr Erica Peabody Mt Kilimanjaro

I would get my stuff packed up anyway.  I would strap my boots on and get my backpack ready, grab my water and be ready for breakfast no matter what.  In the back of my mind I would think to myself, “maybe later tonight I will be able to finally sleep”.

The thing is, I felt miserable inside in those moments.  But there are 30 other women maybe feeling just the same or having some other experience just as miserable.  It didn’t do me any good to complain to anyone.  I would get in this mode of I need to do what needs to be done right now, which was strap my boots on and prepare for the day ahead.  Even though it would have felt good to at least express my stress and frustration to the staff, that didn’t matter either because the trail heads in one direction, it isn’t an “out and back”.  We start on one trail and continue to another one for the descent.  Forward momentum is vital.

It didn’t matter how much I slept that night, or the night before, or the previous 6 nights.  It didn’t matter how sore I was, how foggy my head was, nothing mattered but forward momentum and so I knew I better get started.

Endurance, the whole “put your big girl panties on and step forward“ness of this trip was such a powerful lesson in surrender.  I had many logical reasons to resist what was happening and most people in that position would have similar self-talk going on about the whole scenario.  But pure surrender, strapping on my boots and getting after the task at hand for that day was my only option.  There was no turning around, no turning back and only one way to move.  FORWARD!

When I equate this to things in my life back home, I see how this lesson has served me so well in the past few months.  I have a different view on life.  I have spent a lot of my years paddling upstream.  I have spent so much Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Surrender Hikers - Dr Erica Peabody Mt. Kilimanjarotime and effort pushing against the current going in the other direction.  The past three months I have spent more time setting down my oars, surrendering and allowing myself to be pushed in the direction that life is trying to naturally take me anyway.

I have always had high and lofty goals for my life and I always will.  Though I have goals and the “WHAT” I want to accomplish figured out, I don’t have to be so wrapped up in trying to control the “HOW” it all happens.  I set some really powerful intentions at the beginning of April this year and life has unfolded more beautifully than I could have ever imagined.  I am in shock and awe sometimes knowing that the most powerful move I can make is keep surrendering my own plan for the bigger plan of the Universe.

Maybe surrender in your mind means “to give up”, “to give in” an “to stop progress”.  To me, it means to “let go and let God”.  It also means to set the goals you want to achieve but surrender to the process of how it all unfolds.  Our thoughts about how we want things to be or how we want them to look is usually a limited view of what is really possible.  I have been taught this lesson over and over and over.

My action of surrender in the mornings on Mt. Kilimanjaro was the moment I strapped my boots on.  From that point I would stand up from the tent, put my arms through the straps of my backpack, embrace the unknown for the day ahead (have no idea exactly what the day would hold, which direction we were going or how long it would take) and start stepping one foot in front of the other.

“Surrender isn’t about being passive, it is about being open.”  -Danielle LaPorte

For 8 solid days, this strategy worked and I realized it would work for my life when I got home as well “Have a goal and a destination ahead, surrender to the process of the steps in getting there.”  Yet another humbling life lesson and a huge THANK YOU to KILIMANJARO!!!

 

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Surrender - Dr Erica Peabody

 

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60 EXTRA HANDS

Most of you know that I grew up with 3 brothers. If I could possibly explain to you my childhood in 3 simple words, I would call it “three against one”. Always…and I was on the losing side of that scenario.

I am not used to being around women for extended periods of time.  Of course I have a lot of incredible women in my life, I have personal time with them in doses.  The thought of spending and entire 8 days together with 30 other Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - 60 Extra Hands - Dr Erica Peabodywomen was an intimidating factor of my trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  However, in retrospect, those 30 women changed my life forever for the good.

I would say probably around a third of the women on this trip had children at home.  Women, in general, are naturally helpful and the “mom” energy of the crowd ran strong and deep.  If ANYONE, and i mean ANYONE, needed ANYTHING, someone was stepping up to help out, assist others and offer additional supplies.  And when I use the word “someone” I am actually talking about 3-5 “someones” because the generosity of this particular group of women was palpable.

We were in this trek together.  And when I look out at the broader picture of life, we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.  

I am not one to ask for assistance, I have been able to accomplish a lot in my life on my own.  When I am exposed to 8 solid days of really intense activity with such an incredible group of women willing to literally give you the shirt off their backs, it changed me.  The consistency of having those 60 extra hands willing to share, give and serve me in the time of need with anything they have to spare…I am forever grateful.  I learned from them it is okay to ask for help as I stand shoulder to shoulder with such willing souls to offer help.  Of course the culmination of this I wrote about already (click here–>>) “Don’t Die With Your Daypack On”.  Such a POWERFUL lesson!!!

I returned to my normal life back in Fenton with a different perspective about asking for assistance.

I know that my willingness to accept help from others has also taken me to a different place as well.  I have some amazing friends, a couple specifically I am referring to, that stand shoulder to shoulder with me as I progress through my days.  When I ask for help or need assistance with something, their consistent support has continued to help me evolve to a new version of myself.

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  -African Proverb

The picture I have added to the post is not a picture I took, however it is a really good representation of how I view this helpful world now.  To have 60 extra hands ready to assist in making this life and world a little bit easier for me, what a gift.  I love you Kili Dadas!!  Thank you for everything!!!

 

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STUNNED

Absolutely stunned.

I cannot believe what just happened.

I am pretty sure most of you know that the high altitude training I did leading up to my trek up MT KILIMANJARO was done at a gym that is set up in the packing plant of the orchard where I was born and raised.

My brother set this gym up last fall and I remember my first time training out there and how cool it was that I was working out in a room we used to store apples in when I was growing up.  It was our family’s livelihood.

I also remember training day after training day how grateful I was to have that access to that gym and the concept of being able to train at 8,000-12,000 ft above sea level right here in Fenton, Michigan.

Dr Erica Peabody - Stunned - High Altitude Training Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

high altitude training in Fenton, Michgan

Kelly, my mountain sister and training/trek/tent partner, and I would meet out there a few times per week.  We would text each other during the day and share our nerves and how we were feeling and then we would get together regularly and talk each other down from the anxiety during our workouts.  This happened over and over and over, week after week.

We also met each other out there 2-3 nights per week to spend the night at high altitude (which is really where the magic in high altitude training comes from, endurance at the altitude which is what is happening while spending hours sleeping there).

The training days were pretty brutal yet gratifying, but the slumber parties were more like mild torture…for me anyway.  I would sleep for about 5-6 hours and then I would wake up and not be able to get back to sleep.  When you sleep at altitude it is as though the body is working out all night long, and for me it was very difficult to rest.  Couple that with the fact that my comfortable bed in my precious tiny home is roughly 3 miles away and here I am sleeping on a cot in my sleeping bag.

I remember one morning after a difficult night at the gym, I called Kelly in tears that “I am going to fail the sleeping portion of the trek, I just know it!”  (funny thing is I DID FAIL that part if you had a chance to watch my short documentary video log<<—click link to watch.  Ugh life is such a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it?)

Hours and hours and day after day I spent there prepping my body to handle the 19,341 feet summit that is MT KILIMANJARO and because I don’t have a current need to suffer excessively, I sort of boycotted trips back to that gym since I got home a month ago.

Today is a beautiful sunshiny day in Michigan and my brothers and I spend a lot of time out at the orchard when the days are like this.  I was there all afternoon.  I was more focused on the sun, getting a heavy dose of vitamin D, playing with my nieces and nephews, Jeeping and hanging out today that I didn’t go inside.

At the end of the afternoon, I gathered my things and sat down in my vehicle to drive away and then my subconscious chimed in and said “just go and walk in the gym.”

And so I did.

Do you remember the smell of your grandmother’s house when you were little?  I remember the soap smell she had and anytime in my entire life, when I smell that, I warp right back to being a child and all the memories of being in her home (which I always had a great time there with my cousins).

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - stunned - high altitude sleep training chiropractor Fenton Michigan

high altitude sleep training

The gym has a smell.  It is a distinct “PEABODY HIGH ALTITUDE” gym smell.  It is sort of a rubbery, apple storage, air compressor air kind of smell.  Ok, maybe it really doesn’t have proper descriptor words to tell you about it.

Anyway I walked in, the gym is at 8,917 feet today and I instantly choked up and then burst into tears.  In fact, I cannot stop crying as I write this.

It isn’t a sad cry, it is a “HOLY CRAP!!!  Because of this place, all the training, all the conversations and all the hard work and shitty sleeps, I MADE IT TO THE TOP OF MT KILIMANJARO!!!”

All the planning and plotting and scheming that Kelly, my brother and I did in and around training for the trip GOT ME TO THE TOP!!!  

But then the other layer kicked in…because I was born and raised right here and am part of this incredible family, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  Because my family had a vision a few generations ago for this orchard life and this land and building that they built, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  Because my brother is such a crazy out-of-the-box thinker I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  And because I am a Peabody, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  

Every single day on the mountain I had my brother’s gear on, something of his that I would be proud just to have and I would gather strength knowing that he was rooting for me.  That would then extend my thoughts to the family, the orchard and my many blessings of having Peabody blood and the perseverance that runs far and deep through those bloodlines.

So I sit and think, “could I have made it to the top if I didn’t have that gym to train and sleep and learn the deep meaning of embracing the suffering?”  Yeah, I may have been able to, probably would have found success regardless, however I will never know for sure.

What I am certain of, I am stunned and shocked that a gym could choke me up like it did…and I am blessed to be a Peabody because as a family, we always MAKE IT TO THE TOP!!!

 

 

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A SUNDAY SHARE

I was driving back from Chicago this past Sunday and deep in thought about life and living.  Here is a Sunday share…

I hope this message finds you happy and healthy and enjoying your week…and your LIFE!!  I was realizing as I was sitting in the car for all those hours that we really do have a lot of power in the intention we set for our own lives.  I hope you are making the most of it all!!!  As the title of this blog says…we only get one chance.

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DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON

“DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON!”  they said.

These words stuck in my head from our briefing after dinner on summit night.

Every evening after dinner, they would come into the mess tent, do our medical examinations and share with us how they thought we were all doing and what will happen the next day, or later that night in this case.

Dr Erica Peabody - Don't Die With Your Daypack - Chiropractor Cafe of LIFE Fenton

Me (Dr Erica Peabody) Ready for Summit Night

We had 12 guides with our group for our normal day to day and about 50 support staff.  The porters were the ones that carried all of our gear, food water and tents and such.  Everyday they would pass us on the trail and get to camp ahead of us and have everything set up for us for when we finished our days.

The intensity of summit night required the assistance of our normal 12 guides along with 18 additional porters in order to have one to one support for the final hike to the very top.  Having this one to one support for the final summit is the reason this particular company has such high summit success rates.

I woke up nauseated and although I ate a tiny bit of food, I really couldn’t manage to stomach much at 15,000 ft and almost no sleep.  So the climb begins at 1am.  We line up in our hiking line and start to make our way up the trail.  It was the most beautiful night with bright stars in the big African sky.

As we begin to hike, the phrase “DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON” came back in my mind.  What exactly where they talking about?  I feel absolutely fine.   Were they really serious when they said that?  I am surprised they made such a point to make sure that was clear and that if we needed to hand over the load on our backs to a porter, we could easily do that.  “I won’t need to do that, I feel super strong.”

An hour goes by and I had already overheated once and had to strip my outer expedition-weight goose down jacket off.  The guide warned me to keep it close because I would want it back sooner rather than later.  As I thought about it all, it is close to zero degrees and I should not be overheating at this point.  Then I got the chills.  Then I got goosebumps from head to toe.  Then I got hot again and then the chills.  What on Earth was my body doing???  It felt as though my body was confused and couldn’t regulate my temperatures.

I felt my stomach start to gurgle (which will be an entirely separate blog post) and just after the first hour I realized I was not going to be able to do this summit with the current situation I had going on.  I tried and tried and tried to remain calm and keep pressing on.  I tried so hard to the point I got blurred vision and lost all my strength.  Unfortunately for me my camelbak water hose froze and I no longer had easy access to hydration.

Dr Erica Peabody - Don't Die With Your Daypack - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

Me (Dr Erica Peabody) Finishing Kilimanjaro Trek

I fell to the ground.  I needed a break and I needed help…and THIS is exactly what they meant when they said “DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON!”  I understand now.  Sometimes that extra 10-15 pounds, although comfortable and distributed evenly on my back, was just going to be too much, and for me, it was.

Now let’s back up a minute and discuss this concept.  I am not one to ask for help from others.  Of course in my office, I cannot do that alone and have hired help.  But life in general is manageable and when I focus my mind and efforts on something, I almost always can be able to come out on top.  I rarely ask for help, I guess maybe I was raised that way.

There was absolutely no way I could have gone on from that point which is common in those circumstances, hence them having one to one support for that part of the trek.

The greatest thing happened when I fell down.  I was in tears and yelled “I NEED HELP!!!!”  The next thing I heard was “Erica we got you covered.  As I lay on the ground, those from the group that hiked past me put out their hands for a high-five and I heard things like “Erica you are my hero.”  

I realized in that moment that I wasn’t a hero because I was so strong and powerful, I was a hero in that person’s eyes because I recognized that I needed help and asked for it.

Sometimes our admitting defeat is where we really grow into the person we are supposed to be.  Admitting defeat and receiving the help we need is a sign of vulnerability and inside vulnerability is where true power lies.

Turns out that not only did I need my assigned porter to carry my pack, the final 50 steps to the summit, I needed him more than ever.  When it got to the very end of the climb, I would take 2 steps and lean over so my chest would lay on the top of my trekking poles and take a few breathes.  Then another 2 steps and lean over my poles.  You guys, there is a reason NOTHING LIVES THAT HIGH!!!  It was so void of oxygen I didn’t know how I was going to do it.  My porter took my left arm and put it up over his shoulders.  He then took my trekking pole and he took the final 50 steps as the left side of my body (picture the 3 legged race during field day in elementary school).

Even as I write this right now, I get goosebumps from head to toe as I re-live the intensity of that scenario (again, sorry Mom).

“DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON!!”  I get it now and I am so glad that my subconscious took good note of that when it was said that night.

 

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MT KILIMANJARO

That is a CRAZY IDEA but I LOVE IT!!!” was my response when a patient invited me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Yes you heard that right, MT KILIMANJARO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The invite came last April 2016 and I am pretty sure both of us suspected something would stop us in our tracks prior to making this happen…but it hasn’t.  And so WE WILL!!!   Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Dr Erica Peabody - Mt KilimanjaroAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

In March of 2015, this beautiful woman named Kelly started chiropractic care in my office, Cafe of LIFE.  She is just a year older than me and had gotten a cancer diagnosis just a couple weeks prior to starting care.  I was in shock and awe that she could have such a bright, shiny composure with so many unknowns ahead.  If I remember correctly she already had a huge scar from one biopsy they had done the week prior.  Kelly was bright and energetic and positive and she had made the connection that chiropractic is going to help her body process everything that is ahead of her.  And it did just that.

She made all kinds of lifestyle shifts as well as underwent heavy chemo and radiation treatments and kept with her chiropractic care all along the way.  Because she was so regular with her care, I was able to follow her step by step through all of the radical changes that those heavy drugs had on her body.  I have worked with many cancer patients over the years however none so vulnerable to share every little detail.  Of course I learned a lot about the cancer going through school but experiencing it with her, from the patient’s perspective, was eye-opening.

And through it all, we became friends.

She did the entire treatment process quite gracefully and came out on top!  She has been clear for a while and one day back in April of 2016 I got added to an email thread she started with a list of other great female friends of hers, that invited us to climb MT KILIMANJARO.

Let me just start by saying that I was ABSOLUTELY HONORED to be included in thread along with her close friends.  My stomach sank at the possibility of taking on the challenge and my head started spinning with excitement as I really pondered what it would be like!

We started a conversation that went on for about 6 months while she waited for her final scans and clearance from her doctor.  In October, we pulled the trigger on putting a deposit down to hold our place with the adventure company.  We continued conversations trying to digest this whole idea and the first week of January we purchased our airline tickets.

Now life is officially in “CHECKMATE” status and this is happening.

There are bits and pieces of logistics to figure out and each day one more thing comes together.

I will continue this blog as I progress through all the details and training and of course share the entire journey with all of you.  Please stay tuned right here as Kelly and I make our progress.

…as we work towards CLIMBING MT KILIMANJARO!!!!  

 

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