Originally published on May 29, 2019 and updated March 8, 2022
The Nike folks say “Just Do It.” That has always been my life philosophy. Find the things in your life that make you happy and just do them. I love to ski, hike, travel, scuba dive, climb pyramids, climb to the highest point in any city or town just for the view, and explore medieval towns on foot. I hope I can provide travel inspiration for everyone through my story.
There have been long periods of time in the last few years when I couldn’t see myself doing the things I love. But instead of being sad and accepting the situation, I have worked hard to overcome these constraints. I feel compelled to share my personal story with you for the express purpose of motivating all of you to live life fully, regardless of your health or physical obstacles.
About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). In addition, I have moderate osteoarthritis from genetics and numerous skiing accidents.
A few years ago the DMARDs or Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs that I’ve taken since my diagnosis stopped working. So, I had to move to next-level drugs that require quarterly visits to the lab for blood work. For the most part, things have been stable.
Last year, because of arthritis in my back, I couldn’t ski without extreme pain and I could only stand or walk for 5 minutes at a time. Not my usual healthy, active state. So, I took the major step of having back surgery that resulted in the fusion of my L4/L5 and L5/S1 vertebrae. For me, there was no choice because I couldn’t do the things I love and make me, me. The surgery was a success, but the recovery has been an ongoing process involving pain, hard work, physical therapy, and a personal trainer.
Then, earlier this year, it became clear that my knee, which had been operated on four times over the last 25 years, wasn’t going to get me around the world for the next six months. The solution: a total knee replacement. I figured I had four months to get my knee in shape before we started our world tour. Again, I felt I had no choice because travel and walking are so integral to my happiness. Thankfully, this surgery was also successful, made more so through hard work and perseverance.
In November of 2019, I fell down in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, and broke my femur very high up and all the way through. I was airlifted to Johannesburg for surgery. After months of rehab, my leg wasn’t healing so I found a doctor in Scottsdale who did two surgeries to repair my leg. Then I spent another 6 months rehabbing. In 2021/2022 I spent 18 days on the slopes of the US, Italy, and France skiing. Admittedly not like I did 20 years ago but I can still enjoy the experience.
“Just Do It”
I wanted to tell you this story because people always ask me why I still ski after two broken bones, two shoulder surgeries, five knee surgeries, and back surgery. The answer is because I love it and I’m determined to keep doing the things I love. I would encourage all of you to go ahead and live the life you want to lead even if other people say you are too old, injured or you just shouldn’t do certain things anymore. I have learned in my 60-plus years that life is short and unpredictable. So as Nike wisely says, “Just Do It.”