The Ripple Effect

Toss a pebble into a pond and you see the “ripple effect.” In 1982, falling 40 ft. from a cliff was like a boulder plunging into a lake. The waves created were immense and they endured for years. As a matter of fact, recently retelling the story of my fall to a client, I felt the waves of the past crashing into the present. When I spoke of my friends observing my fall and their involvement in my rescue, her eyes filled with tears. She couldn’t believe how many lives were touched by what happened to me. In fact, 35 years later, she became part of the ripple effect.

Ern, an east coast cousin said, “I’ll never forget the day I got the call.” Working for a doctor in Philly, Ern was a “go to” for my parents. Ern’s sister Sandy lent us a station wagon to transport my paralyzed body from St. Louis to Chicago. So many people jumped in to help.

It’s always surprising how far ripples spread. In 1984, while touring Europe with my elder sister Kathy, we arrived on the island of Krk, our grandfather’s homeland. A relative met us at the bus stop. With a language barrier, after we pleasantly greeted each other, we quietly walked to her home. After exiting the WC, it was as if an ocean wave swept over the island. Our cousin grabbed hold of me and vigorously slapped my back, saying, “Nancy, Nancy, Nancy!” Bug-eyed, I looked over her shoulder to see my sister in shock. I mouthed, “What did you say?”

Kathy responded, “I guess she just figured out who you were.”

Family near and far received word of my fall. I could have done without the back slapping, however, the love and recognition were welcomed.

When I think of others, I see how what happened to me impacted so many. The ripple effect certainly played on the sea of my life. It doesn’t take much to see how each of us touch this world. Just look at the surface and the waves we create. Be well… Nancy T

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Others

In 1982,I was a confused nineteen year old with a large chip on her shoulder. When I gathered friends to explore Little Grand Canyon for the day, I never considered how my actions would effect others. As I slid from the cliff’s edge, collided with a boulder, and became paralyzed, my friends were seriously impacted. In fact, our lives became intertwined.

Excerpts from Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life ~ by Nancy M. Turcich

~ Over the years, a few people shared their memories with me. Davey easily shared his perceptions of the fall. He recalled my search for something to grab as I descended the cliff: “Once you started to slide I looked up and locked onto your eyes. They were desperately scanning the terrain but there was nothing for you to grab hold of. Then the edge of the cliff swallowed you up and you disappeared into the trees and shrubs.” Davey’s candor settled my feelings of helplessness. I was relieved to have someone witness my attempt to save myself.

~ Dawn, my friend and roommate, couldn’t talk about my fall for many years. She said, “It was the worst thing I ever witnessed… what more is there to say?” I continued to probe for answers for myself and hopefully, to bring her peace. I’m not sure the latter will ever happen, but Dawn eventually shared a few important tidbits. As they watched me fall, everyone reacted individually. The guys all scattered, but Dawn froze. “My insides were shaking and I was unable to do anything.” Dawn and Dee Dee remained in a cave-like amphitheater on the canyon floor until they were stable enough to move, to climb. Then they managed to scurry through the rough terrain to get to me. Me and my punk attitude.

Teary eyed, Dawn spoke of hearing a scream and then watching me fall. She said, “There was definitely a scream, then the sound of falling rocks—gives me the chills to think about it.” She defines the event as an image and sounds that she will take to her grave. Something core deep but difficult to describe. Dawn felt the group responded with an overall sense of denial. They told themselves that I would be okay, that my injuries were bad but nothing to warrant my imminent demise.

~ Decades later, my friend Christine enlightened me, filling me in on a hidden past.

“Oh yeah, I was there. I remember you falling and when I reached you, I saw your eyes were open. That’s my last memory of that day—your open eyes staring up at me.”

“Nancy, I don’t remember the days around that time. I guess I blacked it all out.”

~ Guilt nearly smothered Michael—he thought he should have stopped me. “After you slid in front of me, I rose from bent knees to stand.” Though he stretched his near six-foot frame to locate me, I vanished from his sight. “At that point, I decided not to follow you. Instead, I climbed back up the cliff and went down the way we originally ascended.” Once Michael reached my side, he assessed the situation. Helpless, angry, and fearful, Michael ran until he was out of earshot. Then he screamed and cursed at the top of his lungs. I’m sure the trees shook from his emotion. “After I gathered myself, I rejoined the group.” Michael and the others formed my rescue squad.

That day in 1982 remains etched in all of our bodies, minds, and, perhaps, souls. However, each of us holds on to different aspects, different feelings, and different ghosts.

Be well… Nancy T

  • Go to http://naturalmassagetherapy.com/books/ to purchase your copy of “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” by Nancy M. Turcich, NTS, BCPP. For a limited time, take advantage of a special offer (only available by email: nmt1@naturalmassagetherapy.com)$12.00 plus shipping and handling.
  • eBooks are available on Amazon, iTunes, & Nook.

Trauma & Healing

In 1982, as I described in the Emotional Flurry blog, acquiring a body cast was the worst of times. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maslIQxqKsg) To this day, that experience, from start to finish was the most rotten thing I experienced from my fall. The plaster hardening on my skin, the spasms forcing my head to retract as my limbs jolted into the metal bars, the lack of empathy from my doctors, and lastly, the pressure along my ribcage as my weight increased and the cast no longer fit my form combined to create a miserable stew.

The other night while watching The Best of Men, I flashed to my body cast removal. In the film, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann arrived at Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire, England toward the end of WWII. Upon his arrival he was appalled by how the partially paralyzed men were heavily sedated and how rancid bedsores riddled the men’s bodies: some hidden from view by plaster casts. In one scene, Dr. Guttmann requested a pair of pliers and proceeded to cut through the plaster, freeing the men from their cage of misery. Although I was upright and a saw was used to crack open my plaster shell, the procedure ended with my digested insides on the floor. The PA’s couldn’t exit the room fast enough, leaving my mother to clean up after her 19 year old baby.

It was inspiring to watch Dr. Guttmann fight for his patients and treat them like human beings. He helped them to rebuild their body, mind, and spirit. Athletic competition added to the recovery of the men in his charge. In this true story, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann is credited for starting the Paralympic games. With modest beginnings, the event has grown to more than 1,000 participants.

With my 35th anniversary approaching in October, I chose to read, The Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer. On the back cover Packer asked, How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or weakness to walk away from someone in need? As the casualty of the fall, I was intrigued.

Mike, a main character, fell and broke his neck at Clausen’s Pier in Wisconsin. The following is a conversation between his doctor and Mike’s family about his paralyzed condition: “You’ve been waiting and worrying for four weeks, and now that he appears to be resuming consciousness, you’re understandably thrilled. The last thing he knew, he was having fun with his friends. You can’t expect him to be happy or relieved or grateful to find himself alive.”

Mike’s father: “He’s waking up to bad news, even though his waking up is good news.”

When I read this exchange, it gave me pause. My mind jetted back to the instant my life changed. Although my life was far from perfect in 1982, the moment the damage to my body registered, I asked for all of my troubles to be returned to me along with my body sensations. If only I could feel my body again, if only I could get up and walk, if only . . . . However, just as it was laid out in this book, it was all bad news to me, even though good news was right around the corner. One minute I was having fun with my friends, the next my body was splayed out over a boulder. From the chest down, life was literally vacating my body.

At one point, I put Clausen’s Pier aside as a hospital scene ignited my discomfort. However, the next night I picked it back up and continued to read. In my life story, no one walked away from me, although there were times I wished they had. Being surrounded by people when things were at their worst disturbed me. Even as nastiness emerged from every pore, family and friends remained by my side.

To truly release a trauma, the charge diminishes or it no longer captures your energy. Most of the time, my fall is like that. However, occasionally something pricks the old wound. Fortunately, it is short lived and it doesn’t consume me. These days, memories from my recovery bring gratitude. Both the book and the movie gave more to me than they took from me. I realize I am one of the fortunate ones. That’s why I share my story, to help those who are paralyzed in life; whether they can walk or not. Be well… Nancy T

From Chaos To Order

After being on the road for a few days, I walked into the kitchen where chaos prevailed. In the laundry room, chaos reigned as clean clothes hung to dry and dirty garments laid on the floor. Every room I walk through contained some form of disorder. Moving from one room to the next, I started to puts things where they belonged. Eventually, the table was cleared, the laundry was sorted, and the mail was organized. Order outweighed the chaos.

Dr. Stone, the founder of Polarity Therapy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4vSLvebH_U ) referred to the concept of chaos to order in the healing process. When there is an energy blockage, chaos is apparent. It compares to clothes scattered on the floor. Things are not orderly. However, when the body settles, chaos is replaced by order. Initially, this may feel awkward. It’s like going from slouching to sitting up straight. It’s uncomfortable because we get used to the chaos, to slouching.

The body is constantly working to maintain order. In fact, it’s a job, 24/7. When something goes astray we are jarred. Many times we say, “I must have slept wrong,” or “I just feel off.” Behind the scenes, the body is creating order out of the chaos we subject ourselves to on a daily basis.

In 1982, when I fell forty feet and landed on a boulder my energy system became chaotic. Just as my bones shattered, my energy scattered. It took me many years to understand the severity of the experience. It’s not that I was clueless, but what was truly happening behind the scenes escaped me. All I wanted was my body to return to me. Being paralyzed, I had no idea what that meant or what that would take. Looking back, I recognize the concept of chaos to order at work. I see how I didn’t feel like myself to the point that I thought they gave me someone else’s body at the hospital. Things were extremely unrecognizable.

Through natural therapy, I discovered the beauty of chaos to order. Each step of the way, my body showed me how it could, it would, put things in order. What an incredible gift! The process wasn’t always easy, in fact, many times it was so uncomfortable that I wanted to crawl out of my skin. By hanging in there, I discovered more pieces of me and peace inside. It’s not a one step process, it is a constant work of art. And it is so beautiful. Be well…. Nancy T

  • Go to http://naturalmassagetherapy.com/books/ to purchase your copy of “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” by Nancy M. Turcich, NTS, BCPP. For a limited time, take advantage of a special offer (only available by email: nmt1@naturalmassagetherapy.com)$12.00 plus shipping and handling.
  • eBooks are available on Amazon, iTunes, & Nook.

Heart & Soul

In this world, there’s a whole lot of trouble baby,

In this world, there’s a whole lot of pain.

In this world, you have a soul for a compass and a heart for a pair of wings.

Why take when you should be giving,

Why watch as the world goes by?

It’s a hard enough life to be livin’,

Why walk when you can fly?”  ~ Mary Chapin Carpenter

Songs play in my head on a daily basis. Many times the song helps me solve some issue that has troubled me for days. I may wake to a song, or as I am processing, the melody plays in my head. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s lyrics, “You have a soul for a compass and a heart for a pair of wings,” stick with me. I find them quite beautiful, and they fit like a warm coat on a cold winter’s day.

In my “Emotional Flurry” blog, I spoke about my anger. Anger wasn’t simply projected outwardly, it raged deep inside me. In fact, I was pissed at my soul. The lyrics above state, “You have a soul for a compass. . . .” Due to the severity of my injuries, spinal paralysis, I thought my soul abandoned me. How could it guide me to such a miserable place? Decades later, I recognized my soul’s wisdom as countless presents arrived on my doorstep all at once.

With every breath I take, my soul is there, With every move I make, my soul is there. With every word I speak, my soul is there. Just like my heart beats without my telling it to do so, my soul has its own rhythm. In 1982, my soul took flight and kept me afloat through all of the turmoil.

The fall broke open my heart in order for me to soar. The collision of my body against the boulder scattered pieces of my heart. Over the years, I gathered what supported me and left behind that which took too much energy to contain. The wings of my heart emerged and carried me in a loving direction.

This journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding. Knowing I have a soul for a compass and a heart for a pair of wings gives me a sense of peace now. I’m happy to fly high and give back to this world. Be well… Nancy T

  • Go to http://naturalmassagetherapy.com/books/ to purchase your copy of “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” by Nancy M. Turcich, NTS, BCPP. For a limited time, take advantage of a special offer  (only available by email: nmt1@naturalmassagetherapy.com): $12.00 plus shipping and handling.
  • eBooks are available on Amazon, iTunes, & Nook.

** 10 % of the proceeds from “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” benefit the   Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation.

Why Write?

In “Honoring My Life” blog, I acknowledged that I wrote, “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life,” to share all that I have learned about natural therapy with a greater audience. After years in private practice, I recognized my reach was limited to the number of people entering my treatment room. Although a memoir, “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” was also written as a therapy guide. Helping others to help themselves has been richly rewarding.

Writing never came easy to me. In fact, throughout my academic career it was my worse subject. Instead of feeling encouraged, I felt criticized. A college professor actually sent me for a hearing test figuring my lack of writing skills must be related to insufficient hearing. After the tests showed normal hearing levels, I approached my professor to reveal the findings. A hat covered his bald head and a shock of white hair protruded from his ears, perhaps an internal reshuffling of follicles. My eyes honed in on his bushy ears as I shouted, “My hearing tests were normal.” It was rather comical in a disturbing sort of way.

Years later, in order for people to better understand Polarity Therapy, the modality that calmed my nervous system, I wrote articles. Initially, my partner Beth assisted me. Beth guided me in the development of a proficient use of the English language. AND, she did it with kindness, patience, and ease. In turn, Beth became my first editor. Eventually, I stopped asking Beth to edit every single word or phrase that I created. However, without her kind nature and her understanding of the written word, I’m not sure any of this would have been possible. Although I acknowledged her in “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” & “One of Eight––my perspective of our brother’s suicide,” I would like to THANK Beth L. Meyer again.

In 1989, my life changed with the suicide of my eldest brother Ronny. Ronny was a character; a person liked by everyone. It was the saddest day of my life when I saw him a few months prior to his death. The Ronny that I knew and loved was so lost. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find his way back in life and on September 22,1989, his departure from this world shook me to the core. When I contemplated taking my own life, I took to writing. With pen and paper in hand, I headed to Morton’s Arboretum to hang out in nature. Perched against a tree, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. What I learned that autumn day was that journalling is a gift that keeps on giving. Once I finished recording my sorrow, my anger, my loss, I leaned back and cried until my well ran dry. From that day forth, journalling has helped me through countless difficulties. It provides a place to document what I am feeling. To take it from the internal to the external changes everything. I don’t have to worry about how it sounds or if it flows. In fact, that day at Morton’s Arboretum I felt possessed. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. Page after page poured forth. Years later, my journal entries assisted my writing, “One of Eight–my perspective of our brother’s suicide” as well as “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life.” Quite honestly, writing saved my life.

Why write? Well, you never know where it will lead you. As the woman in Questions & Comments blog stated, “We all have a story.” Sharing is healing. Be well… Nancy T

  • Go to http://naturalmassagetherapy.com/books/ to purchase your copy of “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” by Nancy M. Turcich, NTS, BCPP. For a limited time, take advantage of a special offer (only available by email: nmt1@naturalmassagetherapy.com): $12.00 plus shipping and handling.
  • eBooks are available on Amazon, iTunes, & Nook.

** 10 % of the proceeds from “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” benefit the   Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation.

Questions & Comments

As a virgin to the publishing world, I did a few local book signings to promote my books, One of Eight–my perspective on our brother’s suicide & Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life.* At one book signing a young woman posed this question: “How did you overcome paralysis?”

Given her interest, I surmised that she had someone in her life who was suffering with paralysis and she was looking for answers to a very complex situation.

After gathering my thoughts, I said, “I never thought of it that way. If my nervous system didn’t kick in, I never would have been able to walk again. I’m not sure you overcome paralysis. It’s really up to your nervous system.” Seemingly in a trance, she nodded. Although she eventually walked on, her question spun in my head for a long time.

Why did fortune shine upon me and not others? Some questions have no answers.

Another woman commented: “Your story was interesting, but you know we all have a story.” This comment took me for a loop. At first, Catholic guilt kicked in;  What makes you think you are “special?” Did others think I was discounting them? Each and every one of us has a story to tell. Yet, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation** website, 1.2 million Americans are living with paralysis from spinal cord injury. Thankfully, my cord remained in tact, yet my body had to recover from paralysis. Does that make me special? Perhaps a better word would be unique.

As I wrote in “Emotional Flurry,” if Dr. Rendee, an intern, did not suggest waiting to operate, I have no idea the direction my future would have gone. Had they operated immediately and not waited to see what my nervous system might do, who knows what would have happened? So many things factor into the end result. Living it, however, I questioned everything. Thankfully, ignorance and the desire to reclaim my body yielded a favorable outcome.

At a presentation I led at the Soma Institute in Chicago,“Paralysis is like a BIG eraser. It wipes away all of your muscle memory.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnEGwBOfWoY ) Although I wished, hoped, prayer, begged, and bargained, my toe would not move without muscle memory. Believe me, I did all of the above from day one. Simple tasks were impossible.

My god daughter Maggie Claire asked, “So, when you fell did your friends call for help on their cellphones?”

The year was 1982, cellphones were a futuristic reality. I replied, “No honey, two guys ran out of the canyon and found a house where they asked to use the phone. Once they knew help was on the way, they had to wait in the parking lot in order to show the paramedics my location. It took them hours to reach me.”

With her eyes jetting from their sockets, Maggie said, “OH!”

Remember, “Bad decisions make good stories.” ~ author unknown

Be well… Nancy T
** 10 % of the proceeds from “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” benefit the   Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation.

  • Go to http://naturalmassagetherapy.com/books/ to purchase your copy of “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life” by Nancy M. Turcich, NTS, BCPP. For a limited time, take advantage of a special offer (only available by email: nmt1@naturalmassagetherapy.com): $12.00 plus shipping and handling.
  • eBooks are available on Amazon, iTunes, & Nook.