Christmas Law Firm - March/April 2019

March/April 2019

O n P ersonal G rowth and the V alue of E mpathy A s we dive headfirst into spring, growth is on everyone’s mind. For some, this means heading out into the garden to plant a variety of flowers and vegetables. For others, it means a moment of reflection, looking back over challenges they faced and how they

primary avenue for treatment. For years, I struggled to find a physical

therapist who could help me. The pain I woke up with every morning scared me out of participating in any of the physical activities I had always enjoyed so much. I was so nervous that I

were able to overcome them. While I certainly enjoy homegrown produce, I’m definitely one of the latter. One of the greatest mental and physical challenges I’ve experienced began when I was 28. I was in what insurance companies call a “low-impact” accident. I clipped the cement foundation for a light pole that had been recently removed, and the unfortunate angle at which I hit it caused my right leg to jam into my pelvis. I suffered immediate debilitating back pain. Since I was young, I never imagined the pain would be permanent, so I took a couple of days to recover and went on with my life. At the time of the accident, I was the most physically active I had ever been. In addition to constantly snowboarding, wakeboarding, playing soccer, and going to the gym, I had taken up taekwondo. While in class one day, my sensei made the mistake of telling me that I had one of the best sidekicks he had ever seen. What does that do to the male ego? I showed up every day kicking as hard as I possibly could. Unbeknownst to me, I was causing repetitive trauma to my already injured body, which eventually caught up with me one day when I helped a friend move furniture. I saw the best surgeons and medical providers in the state, all of whom recommended that I try physical therapy as a

would cause more damage that my back muscles started to atrophy. After several years of intense physical and emotional pain, I finally met a rehabilitation specialist who gave me the advice I needed to be able to get my life back. He told me that my physical therapy regimen was helping but that I needed to fix what treatment couldn’t by working out. He encouraged me to start with Pilates. While the fear of further injuring myself lingered in my mind, I found a Pilates instructor who had struggled through her own back injury and empathized with my initial trepidation. She helped me gently and carefully ease my body back into activity. After the first three weeks, I didn’t notice any improvement, but both my instructor and the rehabilitation specialist said, “Keep at it. If it’s not causing you more pain, keep pushing forward.” Miraculously, after just three months, I couldn’t even tell I’d ever had an injury! While I now know that I will have to continue with Pilates for the rest of my life to keep the pain at bay, in a way, I’m thankful for the injury. I believe God allowed it to happen so that I could empathize with clients who have suffered their own injuries. I would never want to compare my suffering to theirs, but for years, I felt angry, depressed, and miserable trying to find a solution for my pain. I know what physical therapy is supposed to do for clients, but I also know why it fails. While I feel blessed that I was able to find a way to manage my pain when so many people in the world don’t have that option, I’m also thankful for my experience (even the bad parts) because it has helped me approach my cases from a much more understanding perspective. It helped me learn the value of empathy. –Gary Christmas 1 843-535-8000


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