When I hear people tell me that they don’t think that they can’t write a book or can’t manage to exercise because something is stopping them, or just simply making excuses for why a person can’t get the job they want, or why they can’t improve their lives and so on. I think you get the point. It makes me feel that all you are doing to yourself and your well-being is letting an excuse hold you back. People make excuses for all sorts of reasons. I get it life is not easy, and my life is not by any means perfect. Everyone at one time or other experiences difficulties and I too am guilty of making excuses. We all must think about the last time we had a bad day or why we can’t get out of this horrible rut we might be going through in life. Sometimes we tend to blame it on the people around us and try to convince ourselves that we were dealt a bad card in life and we are just doomed!

So, I challenge yourself whatever you are feeling right now and if you are one of those people that have goals and feel like you will never reach those goals, you can! Set realistic goals for yourself. I never thought in a million years that I would ever be able to write a book and I did. I used to think that I could never step foot in a hot room of 105 degrees with 40% humidity and do 26 postures in 90 minutes, and I did. Once again, I will admit I am not perfect, and I know I never will be, but I strive to be better. I aim to change my life for the better; you too can start to change your life as excuses are just a waste of time.

I get it as we all have some form of excuse to justify our behaviors. Before I started practicing hot yoga, I used to be in the gym working out with a personal trainer. I had all sort of excuses why I would not step foot in a hot room and try this yoga practice that was sweeping the nation. Before my accident, I had started doing hot yoga to combine weight training into my workout schedule. I started practicing yoga sometime in the later part of 2012. My sister had first told me about the practice and about the benefits it had to offer. I could not get past the idea of the heat. When she told me, it was a 90-minute class in 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity, the thought of working out in that kind of heat, well I could not wrap my head around. Not to mention the fact that I have asthma and I believed that kind of heat would somehow trigger my asthma. Again, people — all excuses and I thought I had some pretty good ones!

Until one day my life was turned upside down. On October 12, 2013, I attended a P!NK concert with my family celebrating my daughter’s 16th birthday, I was crossing the street and was unfortunately hit by an SUV limo in front of the Los Angeles Staples Center. Looking back and now realizing the seriousness of the accident I feel fortunate to be alive and telling you this story. Despite the fog clouding my brain while I was lying on the pavement, what I remember was all the people that gathered around me.

My poor husband was beside himself crouching over my body trying to scoop me up, and a voice yelled, “Don’t touch her…I am an RN, and you don’t want to move her.” She quickly bent over the top of my head and looked into my eyes and kept telling me that everything was going to be all right and help was on the way. The next thing I heard was sirens, and then there were paramedics all around me. I looked up at the RN and remembered asking her, “Am I going to die?” She said, “NO, you are going to be fine.” She was quickly pushed out of the way, and this excellent paramedic cradled my head and told me I was going to be Okay. The next thing I recall is that they started cutting my clothes off. I was not happy about that and began hitting the paramedics to stop. They explained that they had to check for any compound fractures. I began moving my legs and told them my legs were fine. They cut my jeans off along with my shirt. They then started an IV on me and administered morphine; little did I know I had a dislocated left shoulder.

I was impacted on my right hip as I flipped over the hood of the SUV limo and landed on my left shoulder. They were holding me like a limp rag doll, and they lifted me onto the gurney into the ambulance where I was rushed to the nearest trauma center no less on skid row in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. One of the paramedics held my left arm in a way that helped relieve the excruciating pain a bit until we arrived at the trauma center.

I was worried about my kids because they had witnessed seeing their mother flipping over the side of an SUV limo going at a speed of 25-30 mph. When I arrived at the emergency room, I wondered where my family members were. I kept asking for my husband, and the medical staff told me he was in the waiting room. The morphine was not working, and the pain was unbearable. They said to me that they had to do an MRI and I had to be very still. Mind you my left shoulder is dislocated, and for whatever reason, they decided to tie my arm down with a sheet. I was sobbing at this point. To this day not sure why they did not pop my shoulder in place before they did the MRI, but I am sure they had their reasons. Once the MRI was over the next step was to pop my shoulder into place. I was petrified at this point as the pain was horrific and I couldn’t imagine them pushing my shoulder back in its socket.

Unbeknownst to me, they gave me propofol, and the room felt like it was moving in slow motion, and the physician looked me in the eyes and said, “Okay we are going to pop your shoulder in place on the count of three…one, two, three, POP! All I can say is thank the good lord for propofol. I asked for my husband again, “Where is he?” It seemed like hours. Finally, they brought him to me. When he came to my room, I professed with tears, “I want to go home.” I looked into his eyes, and I could see the worry. He was trying to stay calm for me. I was worried for the kids wondering where they were. A friend was so kind as to take them home for us. Amongst all the chaos, what was so amazing is a security guard from the Staples Center witnessed the accident and came to the hospital to ensure that I was going to be all right. My husband said he approached him in the waiting room and introduced himself and said he saw what happened and he was genuinely concerned and wanted to pray for me; when my husband told me that it made me realize that there are sincerely decent people in this world.

Being that it was now getting closer to midnight, they were not going to release me. I was admitted and scheduled for surgery the next morning. I had the following injuries repaired: left dislocated shoulder, left fractured humerus (pin), left torn rotator cuffs, SLAP repair, Bankart repair, crushed joint capsule. Since the accident and my initial surgery, I have had a total of 3 operations, to remove the hardware, manipulation under anesthesia and scraping of excess scar tissue. I have also had live stem cell injected into the joint capsule. I additionally have a bursa on my right hip where the SUV impacted me.

To date, I see a pain specialist regularly as well as I saw a physical therapist. I saw the physical therapist for nearly three years, and I feel fortunate for having great health care providers helping me along the way to recover.

As I mentioned, I had my reservations about doing a hot yoga class and resisted until one day I decided to give it a chance as my muscles were starting to take a toll and sore from all the weight training. I felt that by integrating yoga it would help balance out the muscle recovery process, and it did just that. It also seemed to help with my breathing and my asthma. I remember my first visit like it was yesterday. I was anxious when I entered the hot room, thinking to myself, “How am I going to be able to withstand this heat for 90 minutes?” The teacher sensed my anxiety, and she immediately put me at ease and told me, “Your only goal is to stay in the room. I don’t care if you have to lie down on your yoga matt for the entire class, get through the heat and breath through your nose.” That was probably the best advice she could have given me because I would be lying to you if I said I got through my first class without lying down. However, I will tell you this; I did not walk out of that hot room!

I currently practice at Sweat’NGlow Yoga in Temecula. The owners and the staff are terrific. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and at ease. I have practiced at several different studios, and I find this studio to be top notch. For me I now expect the temperature to be at a set point of 105 degrees and I want to feel the humidity. This studio’s heat is regulated very thoroughly throughout the room. I have practiced in other studios where the temperatures fluctuate and do not maintain their accuracy, and I can tell you it can be frustrating. I say this because the heat is excellent for allowing the body to stretch, detoxify, relieve stress, tone, help with arthritis and for me, it has significantly improved with my chronic pain in my left shoulder, back and my hip. When my muscles are tight, and I am feeling stressed this yoga practice gives me the therapeutic effects and more. I have gained more range of motion in my left shoulder and have accepted that my shoulder has a limited range of motion and always will. I have also recognized that I will live with chronic pain for the rest of my life, but at least I have found a form of exercise that is beneficial and therapeutic. I am not saying that hot yoga is the right form of exercise for everyone; however, if you are so lucky to have a hot yoga studio in your area go out and try it!

I made my pain specialist aware of me going to hot yoga and, my pain specialist wanted to learn more about the practice and asked me about more information about the method of practice. He, in turn, encouraged me not to stop. Now each time I see him which is once a quarter, he asks me, “Are you still practicing yoga?” and it is always a YES! The worst thing I could do for my body is — NOTHING! I like to remind myself that we all have good days and bad days. My bad days might look like a day where it is a little harder getting out of bed because I might ache a bit more and had trouble sleeping that night. However, I try not to let that get in the way of stopping me from getting out of bed. A good day for me is getting a good night’s rest and feeling more energetic, and I hope I will then achieve something or do something enjoyable that day.

So, whatever your goal is if it is writing a book, or stepping into a hot room and practicing yoga or you just want to make a better life for yourself. Do it! No more excuses for why it is you can’t reach your goals or your dreams. Only you can change your life! For all the times I forgot to thank you Mom, I want to thank you from the heavens above for teaching me and inspiring me for never giving up. I am a strong woman because a strong woman raised me!

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Dawn N. says:

    Hi Mrs. Henderson! Reading your short stories about your accident always motivates me and to remain positive regardless of any “struggle” I am facing, from studying again for the MCAT, medical school application, to my first break up recently which made me really sad. Every time I get these emails from you, I read them and it always pushes me to be positive and to think that whatever I am facing is no where near what you and your family have gone through during your accident and that I can get through it!

    • Candy Henderson says:

      Nice to hear from you. You too are an inspiration. You will persevere and become one of the best doctors in our society. I know it has been a challenge for you taking the MCATs, but whatever you do, don’t give up!

  • Holly says:

    I love this post Candy!

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