29 years in to this life, and in 60 seconds that seemed like eternity, the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis slipped out of his mouth. It passed through his lips in another-day-at-the-office style. As if nothing had happened. As though she would stand up and walk out and just deal, just continue on. For him, it was a basic truth to be told. For her, life as she knew it shattered and the fragments of what was and, what could be, lay surreal and sparkling at her feet.
Krysta was no stranger to physical adversity shaking one to the core in the blossom of youth. Seven years earlier, on the cusp of pursuing her dream to become a police officer, she suddenly lost all feeling on her right side and ended up in a wheelchair. There was nothing known of the ‘why’, but they were pretty sure of the ‘how it would play out’…she may never walk again.
A medical professionals’ anomaly, Krysta took her cue to join the lot of the eternal optimists. “Oh yea, watch me” became the motto of her life as she taught herself to walk, run and in record time became a powerful force to reckon with as a personal trainer and an advocate for ‘everything possible for those willing to ante up’.
Now, nearly a decade later, here she was once again wondering how she would ever conjure the strength to endure it all again. In fact, inevitably endure it all again, and this time for keeps.
She cried. She researched. She withered. She crumbled. She refocused. She shifted and made a clear decision that although this time she couldn’t beat this, she could in fact use this. Within 48 hours she died and was reborn to a more powerful (in moments) version of herself. She began to envision a future of personal training and hope-building for MS patients and her finding the strength to design practical programs to empower those knocked from the cue of normalcy. Krysta never was one for normal so “Bring it on” became mantra #2.
Ah the torrent of emotion, from resistance to submission that comes with ebbing and flowing with the tides of life. But she just knew she could ride the wave to a better place if she just got busy.
So, she refused the meds, helped family and friends adjust to the life to come for her and for them, and kept up the routine of a tried and true ‘health-nazi’(as she is endearingly referred to). What more could she do, but just keep on keeping on?
4 ½ months later a trip, 1000 miles plus, to the specialist who would make a clearer prognosis and lay the MS path to guide her through the journey of deterioration and coping ahead. Krysta had adjusted her heart, her mind, even her business, but she knew she had more, much more, to learn. The statistics didn’t have to be her story, but she at least needed to know what may be so she could determine how she was going to rewrite her own.
She was tested, she answered, she listened and she reported every miniscule detail that may somehow play into the picture of what and how – a full day of rigorous interrogation. Spent, she entered the specialists’ office and surrendered, once again, to what may come. “Sorry Krysta, I can’t say I have good news for you.”
The fragments scattered further, the room shrank and breath was hard to come by. Tears pooled in her heart, in her eyes.
“Seriously? The news is worse than what’s come already?”
“Well, I’m not sure what you mean exactly, but after all this testing, I can’t give you a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. It just doesn’t add up, with your health, your abilities, your stamina. A few lesions on your MRI doesn’t make it so and your spinal tap was negative for MS.”
Krysta only registered the first sentence as she nearly burst out of her skin. She leaped out of her chair as an alternative. “You’re kidding me? You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s f***ing great!” She gathered herself quickly. “Sorry, oh… my. I just can’t believe it. I’m just… so happy.”
I suppose the doctor was used to patients who wanted definitive answers. He had obviously never known anyone like Krysta before. She likes uncertainty. It makes life an opportunity rather than a predictable box. I suppose he was used to dealing with those who looked to a doctor for answers. He wasn’t familiar with young girls who believed they held the answers to even life’s toughest questions.
Is there a chance that one day the diagnosis might come? Perhaps yes, but not necessarily. Is there a chance that she could have another attack and find herself faced with such challenges once again? Yes.
But today Krysta gets to wake up thinking about how she can take what she’s learned and benefit her own life and the world around her. She can strive for life balance and stress-free living, and powerfully impact the lives of those who have the MS ‘talk’ without the follow-up release from the sentence. She can take the personal power she’s used to fuel her own success and health and empower others to unleash their own potential. She is a girl with a free pass. She is a girl with a ticket to choose to live life with a keen eye on quality, no matter her time here on this planet.
Is Krysta any different than you or I? No, not really. Each of us has the opportunity to see the gift of the moment, to overcome adversity with an in-your-face attitude that serves a higher purpose. Each one of us could receive news like Krysta did. Would we embrace it with the same courage, hope, strength, raw pain and ability to shift that anguish to serve the greater good? I hope with all my heart that we could.
Krysta is a Super HERo with Xtraordinary powers, not created but remembered. The defining moment of ‘diagnosis’ forced her to take a good hard look within and determine for herself what she was really, ultimately, made of. She indeed stepped in, dug deep and discovered her power to transform, much more than the outcome. She realized her genuine ability to look adversity square in the eye, see her mortality and with the gift of a second chance, recognize her ability to add new life to her years whatever they may be. We have much to learn by way of her story and the Superpowers she reveals…
Courage. Courage comes to light in one not when life is flowing and filled with sunlight, but when the darkness is thick and vast and endless. A Super Hero grieves and then desperately and deliberately takes hold of brilliance and eradicates the shadows. Yes, even in the midst of gripping fear. Somehow, someway they see the hope that is possible, that is there.
An ability to transform adversity into possibility. When told ‘No’, we must listen carefully, weigh what is with what could be and then, consulting the innate wisdom within, determine for ourselves what the truth of it all is for us. When we know and are clear about our desire and determination to do whatever it takes to shift and deliver, we simply MUST shout, “YES!” and never, ever look back.
An authentic desire and drive to make this world a more hopeful place to be. No whoa-is-me. No gripping sadness that debilitates. No excuses. A simple, distinct burning desire to find the meaning in it all and leverage it for creating and being, simply more for ourselves and for others…this is Heroism at the core.
Do I believe that Krysta possesses Superpowers of an unordinary kind? No. Do I think Krysta possesses qualities that shape a world of tomorrow that I can feel blessed and elated to send my children into? Yes. Do I think each and every one of us has the chance to choose to create that kind of life, that kind of world? You bet.
The Phone Booth Project, this movement to inspire and empower conscious transformation to perceive and achieve greatness within ourselves and the world about us, is to See and Celebrate Super Heroes like Krysta and hope that in their wake we too can step inside, secure that cape around us, and come out flying.
Thank you to Krysta for allowing me to share her story and for allowing me to walk alongside, as you Wow the world. Aren’t we all so very anxious to see what comes next!
I am proud to have teamed up with this remarkable Krysta Olson of Staminize Training, and our other dynamic partner Dr. Heather Robertson of In8Wellness to launch…
Fuel4Life – a facebook page and community designed to ignite & leverage ideas and inspiration to take the Body, Brains and Being to new levels of WoW! Check us out and by all means, please, ‘like’ us at http://www.facebook.com/fuel4lifeconnect
In awe of the stories of life that ignite the Xtraordinary journey,