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Isabel's Journey

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Dear Wellness Glow Life Community,

Thank you for allowing me to share. Share what? As I would tell myself, “Isabel giving up is just not an option”. I experienced abuse in various forms: Trauma, I am an emotional eater, life, and death of family members too young and old, close family members having mental health challenges, and recovering from spinal cord surgery. I had severe spinal stenosis and nerve damage. Walking was to a bare minimum, 500 steps before I would fall. I like to call this, “life just does not stop happening”, or say as I look up at the beautiful blue sky or when I am out enjoying the tranquility of nature “I just need a small break to catch my breath”. I never stopped having a thirst for life, for a better life, an internal spirit shining bright and a kind heart. That was my saving grace I believe.

I was born on a very small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Azores Archipelago. The youngest of six girls, older dear brother and a mom widowed at 50 years of age. I should have introduced myself already, please excuse me. My name is Isabel, and I am a member of the Wellness Glow Life Community. I am blessed and grateful for our community.

My wellness drive began a few years ago. I was certain of one thing and that is that I wanted a holistic approach. I can attribute that to working at the Canadian Institute of Naturopathic Medicine for almost ten years. I observed and learned so much in my day-to-day encounters with ND’s and students, their extensive seven years of studies and willingness. Helping the staff opened my mind and heart to this approach of wellbeing.

First, I went to see an Certified Wellness Coach and Reiki Practitioner, Karen Virdi. What a gift those sessions were. This is where it started initially. I dealt with depression, anxiety, and lack of self worth. I was just going through the motions of existence. I would not dare allow myself to feel for myself out of fear of not being able function. I felt like a fake to myself, however to others I tried to be kind, compassionate, a good friend, a caring sister and unconditional mother, and that I truly believe and stand by. Not a good approach to say the least because my physical exterior and interior was still immensely negatively affected. One thing that I promised myself very early on in my life was that I was going to not become bitter or allow my heart to be unkind to others. I was able to accomplish that, with God’s guidance. I soon realized that I needed to work on my physical wellbeing. By chance I came across Wellness Glow Life two years ago. I believe a higher power, for me God, knew exactly what he was doing. I began with Wellness Coaching with Bradley Hurst, speaking out loud to someone listening as I shared my fears, then slowly being introduced to physical activities, and understanding that working on my mental wellbeing and body would be a one-mind and body must. Was it too late for me at 54 years old? Absolutely not I was told, and that it is never too late. I adopted an exercise route whether it was resistance training, a walk out in nature and or mindful movements. I received guidance from our Registered Dietician Nutritionist, Francesca Powers, and videos that are provided by our Yoga Instructor Stephanie Banach, which I also practiced. Everything was at my fingertips and when needed I was able to reach out to them. It went beyond that. The Wellness Glow Life’s community provided additional support as we are all on a journey. Being there for each other is very important.

I was informed in the beginning in August that my surgery was going to be on August 16th. My spine was very unstable, and it could not wait. I was scared and relieved all at once. I was grateful for all the science research and technology as tests were conducted that I never knew where possible. From all the blood work and each heart test I was told, “Isabel, you are in good health and that helps us a lot”. You see, twenty years ago, I had spinal surgery, however, that was for two herniated disks on my lower back. I am now 54 years old. This time it was a larger portion of my spine and although extensive testing was done, until the surgeon made the incision, only then would he really be able to accurately access the amount of damage.

Throughout my early long days, I had severe pain, walking to a bare minimum. I continue to incorporate movements that are beneficial and safe. I have kept up with mindful and nutritional eating and breathing techniques I learned from the videos provided in our library. The surgery was close to six hours. A group of thirteen medical professionals, each one with their expertise now had my life in their hands. I had my faith and belief that God had my back, and he did. The day after the surgery the surgeon came to see me. He told me the surgery was a success, that recovery would be 4 to 6 months, and that he was extremely pleased. He went on to explain that indeed there was more damage to the spinal cord, more nerve damage, and more work was done than anticipated. Two metal rods were placed on more than half of the spinal cord, and a metal cross as well, like a ladder. Further, some wire mesh was needed for nerve repair and protection. I was sitting up on the hospital bed when the surgeon again told me, “Isabel, you were in good health and that was and is very important”. He further explained that my body cooperated. I was happy to hear this and grateful that I had made lifestyle changes in the last two years, and that helped.

Thank you again for allowing me to share this story. I leave you with this: It has been exactly fourteen days after surgery. I am going through my healing and doing well, even though I am reminded that although I am doing well, it will still take four to six months to fully heal.

I am living proof that adopting a healthy lifestyle will benefit you in so, so many ways. It is never too late. My days are far from perfect. I have good, beautiful days and still challenging days with my current routine. I still have emotional eating days but for the most part I have better and healthier days. It may be one small thing, or one small step but it makes a difference. Be kind to you mind and body. You are worthy and deserving of this gift.

Sending love and light,


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