M3 PT - December 2018

WEST HILLS 7230 MEDICAL CENTER DRIVE, SUITE 401 WEST HILLS, CA 91307 WEST LOS ANGELES 10474 SANTA MONICA BLVD, SUITE 435 LOS ANGELES, CA 90025

WWW.M3PT.COM / LA · 310.275.4137 / WEST HILLS · 747.888.3562 / DECEMBER 2018

M3 AND ME

Well, it’s that time of year when our car radios declare “Let It Snow” as we sit in 68 degree sunshine on the 405. Personally, I’ve never missed having a white Christmas. I’ll take commuting through traffic over risking black ice any day of the week. However, this holiday season, my family and I will seek out a winter wonderland as part of our growing tradition of skiing and snowboarding. Having grown up in LA, I never imagined I’d be in a skiing family. When I was young, my parents took me up north to experience snow for the first time, and my wonderment only lasted as long as it took for my fingers to get cold. In high school, I made it up to the slopes at Mammoth a few times to teach myself to ski, but I was never really taken with the sport. It wasn’t until after I became a physical therapist that I really discovered the joy of carving through fresh powder. LESSONS FROM THE SLOPES HOW OUR FAMILY BECAME SNOWBOUND

not done much skiing in her adult life, so this volunteer opportunity was quite the adventure for both of us. I took the time to learn to snowboard and really fell in love with the sport. I’ve never known something to be so tranquil while still being an incredible adrenaline rush.

After that experience, we made the trip up to the mountains almost every winter. While Munesha stuck with skiing, I got more and more into snowboarding, becoming quite the speed demon. I had my fair

share of wipeouts and even needed physical therapy myself from time to time, but the thrill was worth it.

The year our first daughter was born, something strange happened. I was flying down the ridgeline on a board, getting ready to take a jump I must have done a hundred times before. But at the last moment, I swerved away. In that

split second, I saw my little girl’s face. “What am I doing?” I asked myself. “I’ve got responsibilities now.” On that quiet, snowy ridgeline overlooking the world, the understanding of what it meant to be a father hit me like a thunderclap. I haven’t gone off a jump since. Now that our kids are older, they hit the slopes with us. We start them out skiing, but it seems like once they get old enough, they gravitate over to snowboarding, where it becomes my turn to be the instructor. My youngest daughter is the only holdout, preferring to stick with skis. She has, however, picked up my love of speed. Between her low center of gravity and general fearlessness, I have a hard time keeping up with her! Nowadays, we head up to the slopes every time the kids have winter break. We travel with a group of family friends who all have children around the same age, so it’s a great experience for everyone. With the way our schedule works out this year, our trip will happen in the latter half of this month, so it looks like I may get that white Christmas after all. Whether you spend the season here in LA or travel farther afield, I hope it’s full of joy, warmth, and the comfort of your loved ones.

“ON THAT QUIET, SNOWY RIDGELINE OVERLOOKING THE WORLD, THE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IT MEANT TO BE A FATHER HIT ME LIKE A THUNDERCLAP. I HAVEN’T GONE OFF A JUMP SINCE.”

The children’s hospital that I worked at had a program designed to help disabled children learn to ski. The participating resort had special ski chairs and instructors to facilitate the actual lessons, but they needed volunteers to actually take the kids up and down the mountain. It just so happened that my wife, Munesha, had also been working at the time with children with disabilities, and seeing that we were ideal candidates, we signed ourselves up as chaperones. One of the perks about being chaperones was that we were allowed lift passes for the day while the children learned to ski. Like me, Munesha had

Happy Holidays,

–Dr. Raul Lona

LA · 310.275.4137 / WEST HILLS · 747.888.3562 | 1

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