Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


“You should prepare yourself for the fact that you’ll most likely be in a wheelchair by the age of twenty-three.”

I was nineteen years old when a doctor said those words to me. Nineteen years old, but life as I knew it was already over.

An abusive ex-boyfriend decided to vent his rage by slamming his mother’s station wagon into the vehicle I was a passenger in…seven times. While we were moving. The result: two badly fractured vertebrae, whiplash, and constant debilitating pain.

As strange as it sounds, I’d had no idea my back was broken. My pain began a day after the “accident”, but I blamed my waitressing job. Once the connection was made, I started seeing a chiropractor. But it wasn’t until I was back home in BC eight months later that I found out the awful truth…I had a broken back.

Thankfully, that doctor was not a psychic. Over a decade past her deadline, and I’m still not in a wheelchair, nor do I have any plans to be. I will always have issues with my back going out of place and with chronic headaches, but my pain is a lot better than it was. I am lucky, but sometimes it’s a challenge not to lose sight of that.

Last week I was on the bus, no doubt feeling sorry for myself because I was off to a double kickboxing class again, and I was tired. I just didn’t feel like working out. Then a woman in a wheelchair got on the bus, and I remembered how easily her story could have been my own.

A lot of people whine about exercising. They say they don’t like it, or they’re too tired, or they don’t have the time. Sometimes I feel tired, too, and that couch seems pretty tempting. But what if we looked at it another way? Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, why not look at it as a privilege? That we’re fortunate to be able to move our bodies. That life…and movement…is a gift.

The next time I’m too “tired” to go to kickboxing, I’m going to remember what the alternative could have been. And how lucky I am to still have legs that can run, jump, and kick.

It’s something I won’t take for granted. I hope that you don’t, either.

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  1. TS

    Good post! And funny timing as well. I’m still sore from Saturday’s class and not being able to work properly sucks. But I know in time it will pass, and that it is ‘good pain’ from me working hard.

    Now we’ll see how motivated I am to go to tonight’s class!

  2. Story Teller

    Hi TS,

    Thanks for your comment. What class are you taking? Sorry to hear about your soreness…I can certainly relate. My coach sells this oil from Thailand that smells like wintergreen and really works.

  3. Mystic_Mom

    Holli, GREAT post! You are a survivor and this is a great message. Our bodies are wonderful and the blessing of being aware of that is so important! Thanks for sharing and encouraging everyone who reads your blog.

  4. Lisa

    There was a time (a long time ago) when I used to use every excuse in the book to NOT go to the gym, to NOT go for a run, to NOT go outside and go for a walk and when I look back at pictures of myself from then I don’t see a happy person…because I wasn’t. I think a part of me just hoped that “fitness would happen”.

    It’s all about attitude – like you said.

    Today all I could think of as I headed for the gym was “I can’t wait to work out to the new songs I threw on my iPod!”

  5. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    Great post, Holli, and one I’m going to remember.

    I was knocked down and out by a 24 hour bug recently and it reminded me how good “healthy” feels.


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