By Shannon Stoby
There can be a lot of fear associated with illness or injury. Fear of pain. Fear of the prognosis. Fear of the recovery process. Mostly a fear of the unknown. And when faced with a health issue it may feel like your own body has become the unknown.
At this point we seek medical advise. We look to the experts to tell us what is wrong with us and what we should do about it. Someone who can make the unknown known again and provide us with the answers to our problems.
It is important to be able to trust your health care practitioner; to have faith that they know what they’re doing and can guide you through. But, there are a couple of things that it is not reasonable to expect anyone to be able to tell you:
1. What this ‘should’ feel like. Whether it be physically or emotionally, no one can tell you how to feel. What you actually feel is what is important, and being able to honestly communicate that with your practitioner is part of building that relationship and helping your health care team help you the best they can.
2. How long until you are better. I understand that we all want to be able to plan our lives, and certainly we don’t want to be strung along. But, no one actually has the capacity to accurately predict how long it will take you to feel better. No matter what research or statistics we apply to understanding your health, every person is unique. I have had clients get better much sooner than expected and some that take longer than anticipated.
Everyone’s healing journey is different. Each person brings their own medical history, attitudes, traumas, fears, and expectations to the rehabilitation process. All of these things factor into what their recovery may look like. People with the ‘same’ ailments, even when they occur under similar conditions, can have very different processes and outcomes. There may be guidelines, but there is no ‘one-size fits all’ protocol or script that works in the same way for everyone, and learning to trust your own body is part of the process.
There is a saying that applies to healing as well as to so many other things in life: Expectation is the thief of joy. Celebrate the days that you feel better, have faith that there are more of those days coming, and recognize that temporarily feeling worse does not always equate to actually being worse—sometimes it’s just part of the healing.
My goal as a clinician is not to be able to map out exactly what your journey will look like. Despite the fact that we would all like those reassurances, I’m afraid it’s not possible. My goal is to be able to apply individualized care to my clients and to find out together what works best for each one. My fondest wish for each person I treat is that my expertise and experiences on both sides of a healing journey can help them to become more aware of themselves and to become their own expert. The healing and mastery of self is, after all, part of why we’re here.
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.