Whenever someone has asked me in the past why I became a chiropractor my answer has been a pretty uninspiring one. My answer has been, "I worked for a chiropractor in high school, I thought it was cool, I majored in something else and did other things and then came back to chiropractic because something about it resonated with me." That's it, in a nutshell. I've never thought a whole lot more about it. This is what I do, this is what I love, and that has been enough.
Apparently seminars (and the shower) are where I do my best thinking because at an ICPA seminar this weekend on special needs kids, it dawned on me why I REALLY do this. Everything in my life has consciously and subconsciously led me to this. Luckily, I have followed my heart and my gut and ended up here.
This is our sister, Andrea. Our big sister. Our big sister who has been an incredible force and teacher in my life, more than I have ever realized. Andrea was born in 1979 and has Rett Syndrome, a genetic mutation found almost exclusively in girls. You can read more about Rett, if you so choose, at www.rettsyndrome.org.
I never really thought my childhood was a whole lot different from anybody else's, but it was. When I was very young, we spent a lot of time flying to Philadelphia to the Institute for the Advancement of Human Potential. There were people at our house all the time helping do exercises and 'patterning' with Andrea. I assumed then that it was all for my own entertainment. That room was my playground and those people were my audience. Puzzles, flash cards, crawling, climbing - AWESOMENESS! We spent lots of weekends at Special Olympics where Andrea would bowl. We had a tribe. A tribe of people in our family, community and church who helped us and worked with us along the way.
Looking at it now, I need to give my parents credit for being the warriors that they are. It would have been easy to give up. This girl, this woman, who they said wouldn't make it is 35. This girl who wouldn't walk, walked (although she can't now). This girl who they wanted to medicate into a stupor is a laughing, crying, dramatic, alert human being.
So how does this come back to chiropractic? Do we have some miracle chiropractic story? No. But the second I learned chiropractic philosophy, I knew it was for me. The basic philosophy is this: The power that made the body, heals the body; above down, inside out. This speaks to every fiber of my being. I've seen it. I've seen incredible things happen in my practice and in practices of every other chiropractor I know. What if she had gotten regular care as a child? Do I think chiropractic care would have cured my sister? No, but what could it have helped? Do I think every child, special needs or not needs chiropractic? Yes, I really do.
All of the things I have been drawn to, all of the things I am passionate about, have been shaped by Andrea and I never saw it. All of the decisions y parents have made for her have shaped the thoughts, beliefs and philosophies I have about life, health and the human body.
I do this because I want people to know they have choices. People need someone to listen, to love them, and to help them find their tribe, even if it's a smal one. I do this because chiropractic is truly aweseome and it's so much bigger than back pain.
Every time I hear Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days are Over", I get choked up on the part that says, "...run fast for your mother and fast for your father. Run for your children, for your sister and your brother..." because that's why I do this.