Happy Mother’s Day!
I owe a great deal to my mother, who I also call “Mama Sue” or “The Suze”. Not only did my mom give me life at age forty, she also helped set in motion my journey to becoming an acupuncturist. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, in a town with two street lights and three thousand other people who all knew you and your business. If I felt a cold coming on or aches and pains anywhere I learned to head down the street and get an adjustment from my Uncle Doc, a chiropractor. After high school, I moved to Boston for college and began to experience severe back pain. I called a chiropractor there who used the Graston Technique (called “Gua Sha” in Traditional Chinese Medicine) on my low back, a myofascial or tissue scraping that causes bruising, but allows the body to heal itself afterwards. I was blown away! For months at a time, after each treatment, the pain I had experienced was gone.
After college I moved to Panama for a handful of years. My parents and I owned and operated a small hotel together. I lived there year round while my mom and dad were snowbirds and joined me during the Pennsylvania winters. While living in Panama my back pain flared again, and as fate would have it, I met an acupuncturist who taught me more about Gua Sha, the technique that had helped me so much before. I began seeing her for treatments and again was thrilled with the results. Concurrently, my mother was having back pain in Pennsylvania and considered surgery. Instead, she decided to give acupuncture a try and to this day, nearly a decade later, she continues to have acupuncture tune ups to manage her pain. She lives nearly pain free. I couldn’t believe my mother and I were seeking the same treatment in two very different countries!
I had such great results with acupuncture, I decided to see if it was something I would want to pursue as a career. I flew to New York City and sat in on classes at an acupuncture school. Once I learned Chinese Medicine could be used to treat more than pain, I was fascinated and wanted to know more. My mom and I went on an adventure together; we visited schools in Washington, Colorado, New Mexico and New York. At each college, I would observe classes and listen to a lecture while she got a treatment at the college clinic. She and I were both in agreement that Southwest Acupuncture College (SWAC) in Boulder was the best. I chose SWAC for its focus on women’s health as well as its diversity of specialty clinic offerings such as Boulder County Aids Project, Cancer Support, Sports Medicine, and Senior Living Center externships. Along the way, my mom has been my biggest supporter. I am so grateful for her helping me along the way.
Two months ago she broke her ankle in three places when she slipped on black ice. She was not able to put any weight on it for two months. My mom is normally a spitfire and is constantly on the go, taking care of most everything for herself and my dad. She is a pillar in our home town community. I recently flew back home to check in and help out. She was not her normal self. Being non weight-bearing for two months had taken its toll. Using crutches and wheeling around was difficult, cumbersome, and limiting. It was also depressing. I got to work cleaning, cooking, and giving her acupuncture treatments. I think one of our best times was when I gave her a pedicure. By the time I left, her spirits were so much better! It made me realize all the different ways my mom has cared for me and supported me on my journey. It also made me realize, it is a lot of work! It was an honor to help my mom out, especially on my birthday, which I realized through this experience, should be a celebration of her every year in every way. She was just cleared to walk again last week and is feeling so much better.
Words can’t express the love and gratitude I have for my mother. With her inspiration and support, I have the opportunity to help others along their journey to better health and wellness. I am so grateful and fortunate.