Finding Gratitude in Unexpected Places

March 14, 2016

PhysiotherapyBy Shannon Stoby, Physiotherapist

My journey to alternative treatments began three years ago as a patient.

I thought I was doing everything right. I was as fit as I have ever been: exercising regularly, eating well, had removed all medication from my life. From the standpoint of my health, things should have been good. But, most unexpectedly, things started happening with my body that neither I, nor any type of doctor I sought out, could explain.

Predictably, I did what just about everyone does nowadays: I took to the internet. I don’t recommend that, by the way. It’s terrifying. But, I was on the quest for answers. At least when you can put a name to it, you know what you’re dealing with; there’s a semi-predictable course of action to be taken, right?

Every test run on me came back negative. I never was diagnosed. I was either dismissed as being anxious, or offered medication to make my symptoms go away. Few granted me the respect of saying, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with you’; it was typically, ‘there’s nothing wrong with you’.

At the time, I was very frustrated. I was anxious—having unidentified health problems is very unsettling. Finding no answers, and no reassurance in the condescension I was receiving in the health care system, my next plan was to just try to put it out of my mind and move on with my life—that was basically the gist of the medical advise I’d been given.

Needless to say, that was only moderately useful. The longer I went without dying or deteriorating certainly helped assuage my fears, but trying to ignore the issue was not overly helpful on the symptom front. As a physiotherapist and looking to distract myself with work, I took a course in Myofascial Release that changed not only my career, but also my life.

I learned about the fascial system and how everything is connected. I learned the concepts and the techniques. But, it has been so much more than that. I learned about the connection between the mind and the body; the past and the present. I learned that sometimes there is no one answer. I believe there is never one magic pill. There are often layers to pain and, as you peel them back, they are often not what you thought. The path to healing is seldom linear progression; everyone is different. I learned that there really is ‘nothing wrong’ with me, just layers to heal like most everyone else.

For myself, I am grateful for this journey; for the highs and the lows and the lessons I have learned—even the ones that weren’t fun. I am grateful for the opportunity to know myself on a deeper level and explore my own healing. I am beyond grateful that I never got a diagnosis, I never took the medication, and I listened to my own body. I am grateful for having my mind and my heart opened by this work and for the opportunity to share it with others. I am grateful for the people I have met along the way, some fantastic friends and colleagues whose contributions to my life have been immeasurable.

There’s always something to be grateful for…even when it is not immediately clear.

By: Shannon Stoby, PT, MScPT

Shannon is a Physical Therapist with an interest in helping her patients achieve holistic healing from whatever ails them and achieve optimum functioning in pursuing their passions.

Shannon graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Physical Education with distinction, and followed with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy. She is licensed with the College of Physical Therapists of Ontario and is a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Shannon has trained extensively in John F. Barnes Myofascial Release (MFR), and this is the focus of her practice. She has worked with patients with mental illness, has trained in women’s health treatment, and is a sports enthusiast; MFR allows her a means to assist with all of these issues in a meaningful way. She has also worked across the lifespan, with experience addressing the health concerns of older adults. Through her experience in work and in life, she has come to understand that there is more to healing than just the body. While physical health is paramount, the roles of the mind and the soul in health and healing are of equal importance.

Shannon is excited for the opportunity to work with the talented team at IHI, and looks forward to working with you, in wherever the journey may lead.


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