It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. I don’t like that it’s been so long – but there you have it. I’ve been a little out of sorts lately – in ways I never imagined that I would be, and it’s created a ton of issues to work through.
Some of you might know, but many don’t know – that I lost a finger participating in a mud run in October 2013. It was one of those surreal moments that you never imagine that you would be situated right in the middle of – but I had about 30 seconds to decide to try to save the finger, or amputate.
It’s a scary thought to know that amputation might be the better choice, especially for a massage therapist. Here’s the scoop that happened…
I was on a wooden platform at the mud run. The obstacle has you climb up 15 feet and then the idea is that you jump into 11 foot of water. When I was on the platform and looked into the water, I couldn’t jump. (There’s more to the story, but that’s for another day.) I decided to go down the backside and essentially what happened is that my finger got caught in the wood bracing as I was dropping down. All tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerve and the muscle profundus was ripped out of my hand, all the way to my elbow.
I was transported to the hospital via ambulance and my 5th digit was amputated that day. The hand surgeon gave me 2 choices and I had to make a quick decision. The first one was that he would try to repair the damage, reattach everything (including profundus) and then he would open a pocket in my stomach and place my finger in the pocket for up to 2 weeks to see if it would regenerate skin growth – with NO GUARANTEE it would work. Or choice #2 was to amputate the finger.
He told me “if it was [him], he would say to take the finger.” I imagined it would take a lot for a surgeon to want to have a finger amputated.
I chose to have the finger amputated. He cut the bone down to where there was enough skin to cover the bone and sewed me up.
When I got home, I had a lot of pain in my forearm where the muscle was ripped. I chose to follow-up with a local surgeon to make sure that my arm was okay. He recommend a surgery called a Ray Resection, where the 5th metacarpal bone would be cut down to a stub and then the muscles in my hand would be “stuffed inside” and the nerve stuffed inside the muscles for protection.
On Monday, 10/14, I had the Ray Resection surgery and have been recovering ever since. The surgery was for practical, as well as cosmetic, purposes. Most people I meet cannot tell that I am missing a finger. My surgeon was very skilled and did great work on my hand.
I am currently doing about 10 massages a week as I work back into the full swing or providing my best to my clients. I started back at just 1 or 2 a week late last year and now do 1 or 2 a day.
I am learning an important self-care lesson as I have been overdoing it a bit. I teach my students, but it doesn’t hit home until it happens to you.
“Never put your financial needs ahead of your well-being.”
It’s really hard when you want to help people, and your hands have been a large part of your success – and when you need the money to keep your business going.
I met with a good friend a while back and his words to me were this:
“You’ll make more money using your head than your hands.”
He was right.
I took those months to work on my massage school, Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage in Olympia WA, and wrote many blog posts to drive up recruitment. For the first time since I bought the school in 2010, I have a full class starting at the end of April, and even have a waiting list! This change will increase my gross revenue for the year by more than $40,000. That’s huge.
I now know how I can increase school interest and get applicants in the door.
I am one step closer to helping others who want to run their own massage school do so.
I know I can make a living with or without my hands.
Life may not always turn out like you think it will, but if you focus on your goals, you can continue to help others.
I hope this finds you happy, healthy and living your passion.
Shari Aldrich, LMP
PS – my clients say my 9-finger massage rocks! Yahoo