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Ep.2 Christa Was Unknowingly Injected With A Radioactive Solution

Ep.2 Christa Was Unknowingly Injected With A Radioactive Solution


Christa is living proof that “you place yourself where you want to be.”

At age 41, she was told she had two months to live…The Drs were wrong.

Following a horse-riding injury as a child, she was unknowingly injected with a radioactive solution while undergoing surgery. Every day, the toxic effects of this disaster became more and more apparent. But Christa had an uncanny ability to adapt to these changes!

In this episode of Be Stories, Christa shares her experiences with medical specialists across the globe, and how it feels to be given a few short months to live. Her palliative care doctor got more than they bargained for when, more than a year after her diagnosis, Christa still refused to believe her time had come. That’s what you call a challenging client! 

Whether it’s down to her rigorous athletic training as a child or the blistering cold of  Switzerland winters (yes, she actually skied to school), Christa is always determined to overcome limitations and defy the odds. In this inspiring conversation, we discuss living beyond diagnoses, the benefits of exercise physiology, and using the power of our minds to create our lives.

We’re so thrilled to be able to talk with this incredible  woman; Christa is living proof that “you place yourself where you want to be.” What a woman.
 

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Transcript

Hello, and welcome to B story series two of the underwear podcast by B physiology. As we get to sit down with some of our favorite people, clients, and role models, people that have really opened up our awareness by sharing their stories, their journeys. We are two EPS who work with people, living with the disability every day, helping them to achieve happier and healthier lives.

We are coming at this as professionals, but also as friends trying to get a better understanding of the people that we work with. So sit back and enjoy this episode. Of B stories where we get to chat to Christa, a Swiss Olympian, about her story of misdiagnosis and define the odd.

Krista. Thank you so much for joining us here today. Um, we are delighted that you come in, cause I know that your story is quite amazing. Thank you. So, but first of all, first question that we start off with everybody is what would be the name of your autobiography? My name would be throw out the rule book.

Live your life. Beautiful, right. I like that one. This sounds beautiful. Yeah. that’s great. Okay. And we’ll definitely move into the questions and I’m sure people will, will realize why that is the name. Yes. explain itself. Yes, yes. Yes. So we’ll also let everyone know that Christa has a couple beautiful.

Guide dogs, uh, with her at the moment, Simba and RJ Simba being a labradoodle, six months old labradoodle, six months old. So he’s the newie, he’s learning, he’s in training at the moment he is. And we have RJ, the old, uh, old guys. He is 10 years old. 10 years old. Yes. Yes. And this is kind of a changing of the guard in a way.

Yes. Yes, because RJ is becoming just. Good time, dog relaxing at house, not maybe in 18 months, time, 18 months. Ready? Okay. Yes. Beautiful. So will RJ just take on that role as in like, he’ll just let go of the role and then just become a good time dog that, um, I hope so because it’s the fourth time we raising a puppy around the existing dog.

So, um, we hope so. I don’t know, but he really proved himself to be a fantastic teacher so far. So, um, good track record. Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. So give us a little background about yourself. Christa start, wherever you like wherever you think is the most, uh, Poignant for you, but, uh, yeah, it would, it would bug me if I was listening and you didn’t, uh, explicitly stay, uh, what your accent or where your accent derives

my accent. I don’t have an accent. so you think waiting for that? Okay. Originally I’m from Switzerland. Mm-hmm we moved here 36 years ago. So my. Childhood everything happened in Switzerland. I grew up with three brothers, two older ones, one younger one, uh, in a very, very active family. And my parents always said they had.

Three girls and one boy. So I was definitely the boy and I, I was climbing trees. I was running around. I just was unstoppable. Mm. That was just me. Three girls one boy. Yeah. So, and my mom, all she ever wanted was a girl. Hmm. And I did turn out to be the boy she had . Okay, lovely. So growing up, uh, over there, what, what kind of fundamental differences did you find growing up over there as to what you see kids, uh, uh, growing up here?

Well, it’s probably, um, It was a different time back then as well. But particularly in Switzerland, we had very, very cold winter. So I went to school on my ski. So I was, I was going down on my skis. To the school. And then we walked back skis on our shoulders back home. So that was what we did daily. That’s awesome.

That sounds like, that sounds great. That sounds like the lie. I used to tell people when I was overseas and be like, oh yeah, we ride kangaroo to schools. Absolutely true. Absolutely true. That’s amazing. It, it, it was, it was lots of fun. It was really exciting. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So big time skier when you’re.

Big times kids started young, obviously. Yep. I can’t even remember the day I learned to ski. So my two older brothers stayed scared. I ski, I still remember my younger brother learning to ski, but myself, I have no re recollection when, when I started. Um, skiing. So I just it’s something I always did. Yeah.

Yeah. Right. So that athletic aspect kinda led into your, you know, the following years you, um, uh, really going for the athlete, uh, category or pathway or not at all? Not at all, not my mom. Please talk to me. My mom had totally different intentions. Oh. Being the only girl and having three sons, she put me at the age of seven into classical ballet, which was a total disaster, of course.

I mean, in, in the five years from age seven, To 12, I had to do classical ballet. I was the only student from the ballet school who never had any public performances that should have taught my mom enough because all I ever wanted was to show people how high and how far I could jump. I, I, it, it was actually embarrassing.

So, and my mom thought ballet would teach me grace mm-hmm and, and, and become a lady. It didn’t turn out so I can see

I still thought graceful that’s now. And then when I was 12 years old, um, I think I was old enough to voice that, that, that was definitely not for me, classical ballet. It just, it was just holding me back. And then I went into track and field and then suddenly I was the fastest, I was the best long jumper.

I was the best high CHM and I just found my way through athletics. So from the age of 12, For many, many years, I trained at least six, six nights, um, a week. Oh wow. At least. Yes. And that, that was, that was my thing. Athletics. Yes. And what was the extent of that? How far did you go? I made it as far as I would’ve made it.

The, I qualified for the Olympic games in Montreal, 1976 in high jump. And, but I had to make a decision back then there was no incentive. There was no financial incentive, nothing. All I would’ve got, would’ve been to travel with the Swiss national team. Mm-hmm um, and an airplane track suit, high jump shoes.

We didn’t have sponsors back then, but the university I went to, um, they, they actually, they made it quite clear either you start, when everyone starts, there will be no delay accepted or you just wait another year. So, right. And I decide that it wasn’t worthwhile. And back then we were all competing against the east German girls, which.

All on, on, on, on drugs and hormones. So we were literally keep at, um, um, competing against men. Yeah. Right. Okay. Yeah. Right. They, they had facial hair, they had male voices say. Yeah. So, and, and sure enough, the girl who actually won. In 1976, she was a east German girl and she won. So we, we had no chance of food.

So yeah, the decision was basically like, I can go there, but it’s more for the experience and the trip. You’re not really going gold. Exactly. Yes, yes. Sorry. Did they ever get, uh, done for using like they, they didn’t have the testing back then, so that wasn’t like, um, did you ever think about juicing. Big one.

Did you ever think about using steroid yourself then it wasn’t even available for us? No, it was really just now the east Germans. They, they, it was their lifestyle. They, they looked after their families. They looked after the athletes who took the drugs. So, no, the. The definitely the Europe, the other European country athletes, we didn’t even have those drugs available.

It was predominantly the east Germans and the Russians back then. So you stayed at uni, sorry. Oh, no, go. Yeah. You stayed at uni. Did you? I start the journey. Yeah. So I had to make a decision before I start the journey. Oh, okay. So I start the journey and what I did was a brand new program back then and really unheard of, and it was actually exercise physiology.

Oh, okay. Yeah. Exercise physiology. So what year was that? Very. That, uh, that was in 19 76, 76? Yes. That was in 1976. Yes. And that’s based on what you were like, obviously into athletics, you had a passion for exercise anyway, and it was just sort of like a natural progression of yes. Yes. And, and it, it was exciting.

It was a combination of science and of sports and. I never want to become official therapist because even in Europe now, official therapist has a different function. They mainly work in hospitals. They don’t have private practices. Okay. So they, they only do rehabilitation for, for people in hospitals mainly.

Right. Okay. So that. That, that didn’t really interest me at all, so. Oh, okay. Yeah. So I want my own clientele and I wanted to travel, see the world and, and learn new things. Yes. Right. So give us a little rundown of, I guess, is a little while ago now, but what are some things that you’ve remembered, I guess, from back then in your times at university studying exercise physiology.

Okay. What I remembered was, and, and without. Making much comparison to what will be available. Now. I remember the university I went to was the first university where it was compulsory to live on campus. That was unheard of back then. Unheard. Wow. Okay. But it was so intense the whole program that they insisted that all the students had to live on campus.

So we had lectures. It was full time, so we didn’t have like come and go. It was full time and we even had. Just, uh, up until, um, 10 o’clock at night. Yes. Wow. Yes. How long was the degree? Four years. Four years. That it was that intense. Yes. Yeah. Oh my God. It was unheard of that. That you’d had like, part-time come and go.

Yeah. Yeah. It was just so it, wasn’t your carefree uni lifestyle that, uh, a lot of us to live. Yeah. No, no, no. And, and, and. To be alert because we weren’t, we could take notes. So what we did and the university I went to was in the French and German speaking part. So I had to learn to take shorts in French and in Germans.

So to take notes because there were no tape record, this available, there were no computers, nobody even heard of a computer. So that’s how we took our notes in shorthand. Yeah. Right. Right. Yeah. I always forget that. Like when, when you were talking about studying and it actually never crossed my mind that that would be the way that you would take notes.

And I just, I still pictured somebody in front of a screen.

Yeah. And we couldn’t talk, we couldn’t Google things and yeah, exactly. And the act, the only access to knowledge we had was going through the library university library that. all we ever had. So, yeah. Wow. I know you said you did wanna make the comparison between exercise physiology now and then back then, but, uh, it been the first sort of year, or it’s obviously yearly introduced to that stage.

Do you remember how significant some of the research was in terms of the, what they were? Oh, look, if, if, if I make a comparison to how it was St to what it is now, it was very, very basic. The word cancer. We didn’t even mention that word cancer. Mm. I mean, we heard of the word cancer obesity was non-existent right.

Existent. Yeah. There was no obesity. We never had clients who were obese. Mm. It was nonexistent were people. And this is, this will sound like a joke, but I actually mean this. Were people still smoking as if it wasn’t bad for you at this stage? Oh no. Everyone was smoking, right. I mean, they didn’t even know it was bad for them.

Every God that sounds smoking. Oh God, everyone. I never smoked. But smoking it wasn’t a hazard. No, it wasn’t a health issue at all. Yeah. Okay. No, there was nothing. And, um, yes, the only thing I, I know, which is still the same. The fat measurements when you take their, their calibers, the calibers. Yeah. It’s still the same.

And I thought, oh, these days they would’ve improved. So that’s still the same, but you couldn’t back then you, you could hardly pinch a person with the fat. So is that a geographic thing you think is, uh, no, no, no, no, look, no. That has changed will, right? Yeah. So, no, no, no, no, that, that was, everyone’s getting a little bit too comfortable, I think.

Yes, no, no. A little bit too comfortable in their own. You. Situation and environment and, and we definitely didn’t have any education in diabetes. There was only type one diabetes. That’s what we lost. Oh, right. Of course. Yeah. But no, no lifestyle type two diabetes, nothing like this. So what was the focal point of exercise physiology?

Was it still healthy populations for the most part or? Yeah, very healthy population. He was. Prevention prevention of, of, of entries and, and, and. Get you make you fit that that’s really healthy. Yeah. Okay. And fit more prevention than anything else, vastly different from what we do now. Because we would say like, as a description, if somebody asked what we do, we would say specifically that we don’t tend to work with healthy populations and we more, we’re more in line with the clinical side of things.

It’s interesting. Yeah. That’s the shift that’s being made. So for those listening, yeah. Uh, Christa has entered our beautiful. Um, podcast studio today using a power chair. I just wanna start on how you, and I know it’s a long story too, but where does it start? How does, uh, you using this chair now? Where does that begin?

Okay. My story probably started at the age of eight or nine. I was a, um, I was riding a horse. I had a horse riding accident. I had a bad fall. Uh, I was unconscious. They took me to hospital and it was very, very serious. They knew, uh, they, they thought it might be spinal entry. Um, they didn’t have the same knowledge than what they would have now.

So back then what they did to get really clear x-ray pictures, they checked it a solution to get much better pictures. Mm. And in my case, unfortunately, instead of using what would’ve been available, um, they used a radioactive solution unbeknown to anyone. Nobody knew that this happened, oh God. And that caused all sorts of problem.

I eventually woke up out of the coma about, uh, a day or two later. And ever since then, I can remember. The first thing I noticed was my vision was gone. I’ve never had the same vision again. I, I couldn’t see people faces. I, um, I saw 10 faces. Everything was disor distorted. Sometimes the light felt like there was a demo set in the room and, and.

And suddenly I just couldn’t see print properly anymore. Everything was, was wobbly or, or. I just couldn’t see it, but this was a complete accident. So they basically like they’ve like grabbed the wrong jar and, and used the wrong. Yes. So that, and then that, that story will continue on when, with my diagnosis.

But back then, no, nobody put my vision loss and vision impairment together with what they did, then nobody had an idea, nothing it’s they said, oh, it will get better. And. it came and it went, and that was the funny thing. It wasn’t like constant, but it got worse and worse and worse over years. So what I did and that’s all I remember.

As far as I can remember, I was very, very lucky to have a photographic memory because suddenly I was eight years old and, and in Switzerland back then we started school at the age of seven. So I was just starting to read. Right. So. Um, so I probably would’ve been one year into learning how to read and, and of course I just couldn’t look at, at the print anymore.

And, and quite often I could look, I could see a clear print. Looking at the book for a few seconds. And I just took for snapshots and I taught myself, but it was a skill. My dad had, I developed both my sons. I developed the photographic memory. Oh. So I never, ever, ever had to, to go page through page. I just went from page, took like snapshot.

And then I, in my mind, I could. Wow. Get out. Yeah, there you go. That, and this is study how in seventies, this is how I actually disclosed the actually I, I covered up my, my whole disability. Yeah. Right. And I thought everyone does it. that’s what I thought. So your vision, sorry, just to clarify again as well.

So it’s sort of like you, you would have like an impairment and then what it would fade away and then it would come back. It would be once. Yeah. And, and that could be within. 30 seconds. Mm. I saw something clearly for 10 seconds. Mm. And then it just, it was blurry. Couldn’t see a thing. Mm-hmm and then it was just, just gray.

It was never black. My vision has never been black. Mm-hmm it’s just gray. I can see light, really bright light mm-hmm I can see colors mm-hmm but print or, or depth perception I don’t have at all. Mm. But, but back then, yes. I had a always moments and I always took this and I put myself through university like this with photographic memory.

And I could, I could, I could still tell your books what page it was on, what paragraph it’s still in, in, in, in my brain. That’s just like to, to me insane, it seems like the best living superpower that you could have. I feel my dad, I know, was genetic. My dad had a most brilliant photographic memory and none of my brothers had it and both my sons have it, not as good as, as, as I do.

Yeah. They both have it. Yeah. And they both put themselves through university with the same yeah. Same abilities kind of. And you trained that abilities that day? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I, I was forced to probably enhance it. Yeah, I’m sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. The more of you more relying on that a little bit more, and that’s how I.

Put myself through and, and I think looking back, um, being a high jumper and I was on a lead level, I was so fortunate enough. I never had that mental barrier where. I, I, I knew, oh God, I couldn’t even see the bar. Yeah. So I was always focused focusing on the run up. I was counting my run up. I couldn’t even put markers down for the run up.

So I was so naive. I just jumped. So I, I had no idea how high. the how jump bar was. That’s great. Yeah, that’s thing. It’s just like psychologically, I think a lot of, a lot of, of my friends in the same athletic club, they had this mental barrier, they looked at it as soon as they put the bar up, it looked too high.

I can’t jump over that. Yep. Yeah. So I never had this, that, that was a big, every time you just jump in as high as you can. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Was that honestly the approach, every time jump as high as you can. Yeah. Or would you like. No, I just, I just jumped so that, that the height was never a mental barrier for me.

Mm wow. Growing up with that visual impairment, did you find anything else was just extremely tricky for you? Something that people wouldn’t really, you know, think of. Was there anything that you were like, ah, it’s just annoying. No, it wasn’t tricky. It, it was challenging, right. Because. The same. I had, I had a massive problem with numbers.

I was a mathematical genius, but even now I can’t see numbers. I see colors. So every time when I voice to my teacher, well, one is black and two is blue and three is yellow. And so I, I, I can do Al Al Al algebra and, and, and all mathematical quotes, all in numbers. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. And I remember everything in numbers.

Yeah. And they, and, and I remember the primary school teachers and the high school teachers, they all thought I was a big cuckoo because unfortunately I voiced what, what I saw. Right. Yeah. And they didn’t like this. There was a, a color. Yeah. Yeah. And it has a name isn’t there. Yeah. It has a name. It’s not very common, but, but with telephone numbers always remember telephone numbers.

Yep. Color, color, color. I’ve heard about that with music. And do you get it with music? Is that a thing or is that a separate thing? I’ve heard? Um, watch something where they talk about. Um, like a color association with sound and using, hear the song in that song is orange. And it was, that’s what I, I, I, I can see colors, colors, talk to me, but, but if, if, if you tell me your phone number, I see it in colors.

And I just, I quickly translate. Yeah. One if it’s oh, for one eight, I just quickly see the numbers. So I’ll quickly translate it into, into a number. Is that still a skill you use today? A lot. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So if I give you a number right now, you could tell me the color in which you, so if I said 3 8, 4, 7, 3 8 to it, 8, 4, 7, okay.

Three is yellow. Eight is purple, but it’s 3, 8, 4, 7, 4 is red and seven is light green, light green. There you go. Right? Wow. Get on that’s that’s cool. Yeah, I’m just trying to get my head around that even. Yeah. That’s. That didn’t really, that wasn’t beneficial for me at school because teachers couldn’t understand, I was weird enough already, so they couldn’t really understand.

Yeah. Yeah. That’s so I could just like have light green seconds to get into the classroom, but, but really I put myself through all grades in school. I put myself through university and. I’m not bragging here, but I never studied because I thought that’s what everyone does. So in the morning, I just quickly went through all the books cuz we, we didn’t have computer then.

And I just went into the exam room and internally I just page by page, just scrolled, flick the page and. I knew dance and I thought everyone had had the same skills. So at this stage, though, your vision is obviously still like, well enough that you are able to like, have those moments of like, if you want to.

Oh yeah. I mean, I was driving a car mine too. I was still driving a car, which probably I shouldn’t say MRGO no, no, yeah, yeah, no, no. In Switzer. Yeah. That was in Switzer. All good? Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So they’re still looking for me over there. So it’s. That’s fine. So the progression of the visual impairment.

Very interesting. How about the motor impairment? Okay. At the same time always had like funny tingling feelings, but then I did. Extreme training. Mm-hmm I was very young age 12, so I really, I did a lot of training and they said, oh, it’s probably all related to our use. Um, that was fine. Then we came here in 1985 and, and, and we started the new again, art that knew again, and, and then suddenly in 1997, my body started collapsing, uh, and there was a reason and I come to this reason, um, soon.

Um, my body just, I, I, I couldn’t, I, I used to be a 10 K runner daily, 10 K runner. Suddenly my left leg was just lagging behind and. Barely run the 10 K. I was exhausted. My vision started getting worse and, and then my breathing, I suddenly couldn’t breathe anymore. Um, I felt like I couldn’t use my di frame anymore D how to use my intercostal muscles to breathe.

And then I. Going to see neurologists. And they said, well, it’s stress it’s as a woman, you shouldn’t really be working this hard it’s stress related. And it got worse and worse and worse. And we are talking short months. And then we went back to Switzerland and we went, I saw two of the leading neurologists and they said, look, I think all the symptoms you have.

Their clear indication. You might have Ms. At that time I was 41. Yeah. Female. I just fit that category. Yeah, exactly. So they said, look, it will cost you fortune to have MRIs done here. So just go back and get MRIs done. And, and so I did, they did a brain MRI and it looked shock. They, they saw hundreds and hundreds of dots in my MRI.

And then, and that’s on your brain? Yes. Yes. And then, and then they, um, they said it doesn’t look like lesions like Ms, but, uh, let’s, let’s just call it Ms. So, um, but then it got worse and worse and then not the neur neurology said, I don’t think it is. So then my. Younger son started, uh, his degree at Stanford university in California.

Mm. So he just started the first year and he said, mom, I was able to get a, um, an appointment for you with one of the best doctors in the world neurologist. So I went over there and then he did. He actually, and I paid for it out of my pocket, all three section of my spinal cord and the brain MRI. And he said, oh my God, you have tumors everywhere.

Your spinal cord, your brain, it’s just covered with tumors. So he said, Go back and, and sort this out. So I came back and then I saw neuro search and he said, oh, we have to operate straight away. That is bad. So there were three massive tumors on my spinal cord. So in 90 September, 90, 97, they opened up, they removed the three tumors was eight, eight hour operation.

They said, look, we probably will damage some of the spinal cord, but, but we have to take it out. We have to find out, is it SRU? Uh, or is it, oh, they benign tumors. So that’s what they did within two days. I was back because I deteriorated, I wouldn’t wake up and then they finally had the biopsy result and.

Nobody could understand what he was. And the tumors day removed was actually crystallized cerebral spinal fluid. So it wasn’t a cancerous cell. It was something, it wasn’t different cells. So what happened. Then then, um, then that neurologist he’s retired now he did some research and he found there were five only five known, medically reported cases in the entire world.

And all only from Europe who had the same injection, what I had by mistake. Oh yeah. And before everyone was state. So do you know how quickly, uh, or how? Oh, very, very shortly. They, they, shortly after they had the injection, they died. Right. So mine was already years, decades back. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, and then he said, look, it is such a mess.

I removed three massive tumors, but it is such a mess. Nobody will touch your brain. I have hundreds, hundreds. So what, what that, what that solution. Still does it crystallizes the cerebral spinal fluid. So it, it renews itself all the time, but it’s poisonous. So it crystallizes. And when, when it crystallizes, it forms like snowflakes and the snowflakes, they always find other snowflake.

So. They actually crate tumors and the cerebral spine fluid baths, your entire brain. Yep. It baths your spinal cord. Yep. Everything so daily, it just generates more, more tumors. Yeah. Right. So what he then said is look, um, technically I dunno why you’re here. You should be dead. So I probably would say two, three months maximum.

I couldn’t accept it. So then we went back to wait. So at this stage you are 41 years old or you’re in your forties. Yeah. You’ve obviously lived to your forties. Yeah. You’ve gone and had this consultation with the neurosurgeon in California. You’ve gone back to, it was another thing he found when, because when, when they took specimen from the super cerebral spinal fluid, they actually noticed that I had Gelbar syndrome a few months earlier.

And. Still, it was still present a little bit. And you said that might have just tricked the whole thing. Oh, that might, that might have actually just be the push. So that’s where they, the, where I was going is how did they get two to three months after living for 40 years? What was it about two? I have no idea months because firstly, I deteriorate.

So they definitely, it definitely. Damage to the spinal cord. That’s for sure. Because I mean, I had designed the document, they were attached to the spinal cord. So we, we knew, we knew, uh, that, that it could cause damage, but. Suddenly I had a diagnosis and the diagnosis was steadily and I thought, this is just ridiculous.

So we traveled and I, I was still recovering from, from the major surgery. We traveled back to Stanford university back to the same doctor and he said, oh my God, no, I’m so sorry. There’s really nothing we can do. So, uh, Go home, get to a fair order and, um, maybe six months. Wow. So he gave me four months more.

Yeah. Right then we sent because, um, then we sent everything to Switzerland to the, to the two specialists, second opinion types. Same, there was the third opinion, same opinion. Oh, no, no, no. With the cerebral OID, it’s deadly. It’s you can’t okay. So everything went into action. Then my GP, my neurosurgeon, my neurologist, they all organized a palliative care doctor because they gave me between two and six months.

And I still remember he came and saw me three times a week, the palliative care doctor. And so he prepared me to. So we, we got the will, everything in order, he prepared me to die and I still remember he, he mentioned our five steps of dying and I never comprehended step one. I just, it never really ended my mind.

So palliative care should never go more than, uh, three months. Mine went for 13 months and then I called the quits because I never, I never graduated from stage. Right. Yeah. So you didn’t call it quits from life? No. You called it quits from the palliative care. Yeah. Amazing. What was third one? Like what did they say?

The stage one was that like, I don’t even know. It’s it’s like, it’s, it’s like you, you get angry or whatever. I don’t know. It’s anger then accepts. Turns, and then, so that the five stages, 98, we need to sit in that chill, getting ready to die. And I, I just never felt step one. I just, and, and I felt for that doctor, because I’m sure he changed his profession after me.

Cause I had him for 13 months and I just couldn’t die. so, yeah. Hey, and then, and then. Just to keep it very short. They had a few more MRIs. Every single one was worse than the ones I had 12 months ago. So I decided enough is enough. Yeah. I went to see a neuro ophthalmologist and, and, and he could clearly see because my, my blindness is not eye blindness.

I have brain blindness. Mm. So I. Numerous tumors on my exhibital lo and that, that what makes my, makes me blind visual, right? Yes. So my eyes are held and that you, you did say so just to go back as well, that your eyes, the, the effect on your eyes that was immediately after the initial injection. Yes. Yeah, because they checked it and, and they checked it into the spinal canal and that.

Just being gone right into, and probably the first tumors would’ve been created within days of the detention. Do they think that essentially like it crystallized immediately the, oh, it’s it was radioactive solution. They put in it just killed it straight away.

and one in five. Did you say like, are you like one? Yeah, there were only five look, maybe back then. You couldn’t really do 1997 Google. So it wasn’t that big, but it was never repeated. So that was, it might have been a bad batch. Nobody knows, but it’s only people in Europe. Yeah. Okay. Didn’t have didn’t happen anywhere else.

Tell us about the progression of you, uh, now using the chair, how, when did it start affecting your legs? When did you notice that? Straight, straight after surgery? I just, I just, I knew the damage was done to the spinal cord. Yes. Straight away. I knew that. Yes. Um, because that was after the three tumors were cut out.

Yes. Yes. But I had two, two surgeries within two or three days. Right. So they had to go in. Twice. Mm. And, and that definitely did the major damage to, to my legs. Mm-hmm and, and, um, so I, I just, I. Couldn’t walk and I was very weak. And, and then you progressed very, very quickly. Enormously fast. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

Very, very quickly. And this is at this point, it’s purely motor in the sens. So you’re losing strength, but are you losing sensation, sens sensation, everything. And, and I was still able to walk. And I remember we went down to the gold coast, walking on SC and coming back late afternoon. Um, I realized I have open, uh, foot, uh, my soul was just blister, just open.

So I was walking on hot seat, not realizing, yeah, right. That it was hot. So that was one of the first signs. That was one of the things that, and then, and then it suddenly just. Really went, went downhill. So slippery slope from there. So this is, this is really what happened and, and, uh, yeah, so that’s amazing, but everything because I didn’t fit into a category category.

So, um, I never went to the PA, nobody ever taught me because it affected my blood or my bowels. Mm. I’m all self taught. I never ever had any assistance in this. So, and then later on years later, thanks to spinal life. They introduced me to special nurse and special people. Mm-hmm and it, it. Looks like I did a great job all by myself.

I taught myself how to transfer, how to, and you are good at transferring. I can, yeah, I can, uh, you’d have to much, I mean, like, obviously you can, it’s all self taught because, and luckily, probably it is because, well, I was gonna, I mean, you, you could speak for this, but I think that having come from a sporting background in an individual sport athletics, like where it’s all on you, like surely that has to play a role in your ability to.

to train yourself to do all those things. Yeah. Where you were at no point in your life. Were you relying on anybody else? You was sort of always that an independent R individual athlete. Cause I just didn’t fit in. There was no category for me to fit in. So talk about carving your own path. Like. From a young kid.

Yeah. To now incredible. In terms of people that you came across along the way, are there any other kind of, cause obviously we’re exercise physiologists and we do particular things together, um, and mainly all around, uh, exercise and movement. Well, is there any other health professionals that you’ve come across along the way, um, that, you know, Good experiences, bad experiences, anything like that?

Yeah. Beside medical doctors, which I don’t see anymore. Yes. I’ve probably used dozens of fitter therapies. Some were very good. Some were okay. The problem I always had with physiotherapists is they treat a diagnosis. They treat the condition. Yeah. And I never like this because I, the diagnosis I have means nothing to me.

It’s it’s, that’s my problem. So I wanted to, I wanted them to be more. Show more initiative and, and, and, and, and start working with my body, but they they’re all just treated my condition and not the function and my diagnosis. Yes. Right. Yeah. That, that’s what I never liked with visa therapy. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Yeah. It’s yeah. It’s interesting. You know, the more I’m, you know, the more I do this job, the more I realize it’s just movement. It’s all about move. Patterns of movement for us anyway. Yeah. As professionals. How’s this person moving and how can we get them to move in a way that they want to move? And if you go nice and simple like that, instead of going into the diagnosis of everything, or like, you have to put a label on every little thing, it’s what this person can and can’t do.

And then let’s try and make it happen. It’s interesting. You say this, I. Unfortunately, I couldn’t apply my knowledge to myself, which still makes me mad. I thought, why didn’t all that time? Why didn’t I come up with the same idea? I mean, I should have known, I should have known. So when. Kristen. Who’s a support worker from spine life.

When, when I started seeing her mm-hmm she then mentioned Harry and, and then she mentioned ex because Kristen knew that I used to be an excise physiologist, said, oh, you know, I’m working with this guy called Harry from be physiology. And I said, oh, an exercise physiologist. I didn’t even put the dots together.

Like me. With an exercise facilities, which I probably shouldn’t say, but. I didn’t do it. Yeah. Until then. And then Harry came along and so that was the first time you used ANEP was with Harry after studying and everything. I had dozens of Fisher therapists. Yeah. Dozens. Yeah. And, and Harry just treated me like a human being.

So I was the first, first experience heart. Like he couldn’t care less about my, my diagnosis about what. Could and couldn’t do so. And that was liberating. That was, that was something totally new for me. Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s, I mean, meeting you all those months ago now, uh, you have shown such a talent or a knack for, and it, it perfectly describes what you were talking about already ability to do your own thing.

So we. We practice something and then you go and do it nonstop. And then you make some modifications and I look, and I go good modifications. You know, I make modifications all the time. I I’m, I’m not a newy client. And I, I, I said just Terry from day one, it’s, I’m a challenging client because I wanna get something out of it.

And I wanna. What I have learned again with the help of how is to visualize movements again, movements I haven’t used for 24 years. And, and if, if, if I, if I have it in my brain and I can visualize the movements, then I can do it my body. Like I, I can use my apps technically I shouldn’t be able to use the apps, but with.

Visual, uh, I just do the movement and it works. How hard is it? Is that easier set than done? Or does that play into the photographic memory as well? In some way it probably helps look. My photographic memory helps me even having one now two guide dogs. Yeah. Because you need to remember where you have been before.

My photograph memory helps me every single day. Yeah. With the same with the exercises as well. Yeah. Yeah. No, it’s, it’s amazing to see. You know, we actually put a little video of you up on, uh, our socials last week or something, just showing the, your ability to now lie back onto the bed and then just sit right back up.

Yep. Which someone with your diagnosis in quotations, uh, you know, shouldn’t be able to do no that no, because my interest, when they removed the, the tumors, there were Hights, they, they. It’s not possible. You shouldn’t have any, any, any, um, innovation or, yeah. Yeah. It’s just amazing to see how, you know, if you.

you just never really thought, as you said, you never really thought to look for improving that particular thing I never did. Yeah. And I knew had weaknesses. Like I remember one of the earlier sessions Harry asked me just, just lean sideways and I would’ve just flopped out of the chair because I just.

Didn’t have the stability to hold it or even get me back up. And now the timing couldn’t be better. Now. I have a young puppy now I have two dogs who, who guide me. So I need those core muscles to actually hold me in a chair. Otherwise I would just fly out. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. So in the end, um, or leading into seeing Harry, would you say that, uh, inactivity or just like a lack of use of those muscles was.

Really the main culprit for why your function went that way. I mean, obviously I’m, I’m not, it was definitely the inactivity of using the muscles, but I think Harry. the only person who actually went inside my brain and he unlocked something I did for all my life. I can do crazy things with my mind. And he unlocked the ability that if, if, if I can visualize the movement, how the movement should be, then I can do it.

yeah, it was amazing. Figuring that out together. Yeah. Then I can do it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s just, it’s, it’s not through repetition that, that I build that I will build up muscles, but so many times I tell you, I have to understand the whole process, the whole movement first. Yeah. And as soon as I understand it, mm-hmm I.

Put it into practice. Give you a few cues to relate, to give you a few images in your mind to move along. Exactly putting all those things together. Creates an actual. Movement like a, a coordinated movement. Yep. It’s amazing. Exactly. Right. And this is, and, you know, just, and you might not be aware of it, but, um, I don’t even know who came up with the name B physiology, who I think it was kind of what does it’s stand.

It actually stands for Brisbane exercise physiology, but that’s apparently already a, well, I think exercise physi. Brisbane might already be now I’d like be, and to know, do you know how I visualized the be how it’s okay. There are three things and I had this from day one. Yeah. Yeah. This is not something I just I’m interested.

Yeah. Three things. The word be to me means you can be whatever you wanna be. It’s identity. And then it, um, it is, um, quality. Because you create the B it’s quality identity, quality mm-hmm and then it’s position because you place yourself where you want to be that’s. So B that’s great physiology. Someone will record that physiology.

Crates a new pathway. Yeah. It’s funny. We were having really cool yesterday where we’re like, we wanna lean more towards just B physiology and it not standing for anything else. Cause we like B physiology. Yeah. B physi physiology. Let the people be, be what they wanna be. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Now that’s I think you, you have the tools.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Identity, quality and position and position. Mm. Because the position is the last. Yeah, missing thing. The last link. Yeah. Gift puts you in a position where you want to be. yes, I’ll my brains. Now throw me off and you see, this is why, when you ask me about my autobiography, mm-hmm, throw out the rule book and live your life.

This is really it’s like a diagnosis is a diagnosis. Yes. And mine was a deadly diagnosis and he was confirmed. For many, many best professionals you can find. Mm. So if, if, if you don’t live by diagnosis and, and you throw it out, mm-hmm , um, and particular palliative care, they put you in a box with a manual.

with the rule book mm-hmm and you have to follow the rules. Mm-hmm and sure enough, you will die with the timeframe they give you. So, and this is my philosophy. Yeah. Like throw out, throw it out the rule book and live your life. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So we are unfortunately running outta time. This has really has been amazing.

I do have a question for you though, before we go. Yes. Um, No, I’m not gonna marry you. Oh no. What? No, no. I was just about to jump off the chair. Yeah. I, I, to say no. Okay. My heart is broken now. My tongue, Kris. I dunno if you can see, but I’m down on my knee at the moment. Was he proposing? Yeah, he was, but he was on two knees.

It was weird. It didn’t feel alright. I’m glad you said nice. I was right. Yeah. . Okay. So, um, obviously when you first met me, you thought I looked a particular way. Can you quickly just tell the people what that was? Okay. I still see you the same way. You’re tall. You have blonde hair, not short tear. No, but, but sort of like some waves even, cause you look like a.

Correct? Yes. Fantastic. I love yes. Yes. That’s exactly what also quite tan, but almost disappointed that I was

told that’s not

big case. Yeah. Almost getting closer to the right down to the water. No, no, no, no, but this is my vision half of you. Yeah. So that being said. This is the first time you’ve actually talked to AJ. Yeah. What is the picture that you have in your mind of AJ? Aha is, well, I already found out he’s not blonde. I was really hoping he will be blonde.

He probably has like dark blonde hair, not light blonde hair. Um, Very tall, very muscular, very strong built. Yeah. Yeah. And, um, yeah. Yeah. Okay. If I can just, I just wanna point out that you made no mention of Harry’s muscles when you described him, but for me, obviously, because blonde, blonde and muscles slowed together with me, but I already knew.

You’re not blonde. So I had to, I had to throw pretty much it now, Harry, to me, he’s a surfer. He’s tall. Strong blonde. Yes. Yep. And I’m gonna stay that way. so what, what are you, uh, what are you AJ? Well, I’ve, uh, dark hair. Dark dark hair buzz 10 is dark, dark, dark, dark, dark. Yeah. Very dark. Yeah. Yep. Ah, yeah.

Dark brown. Um, Greek heritage. Yeah. So Greek mm-hmm um, and on not on the taller side, probably on, not sure side, not sure. Leave them that way. If anyway, at all, must. Oh, I like to think so. Take the shirt off enough shape. Yeah. Yeah, that was good. I’ve been shirtless the whole time.

So people are, yeah. . That is perfect. Thank you so much, Christa. It’s been amazing having you come, uh, all the way out here and, and share your story with us. Uh, so thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. That was great. Thank you.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of B stories, the unaware podcast by B physiology. Don’t forget to like and subscribe and all of our socials check out the podcast and our other episodes. And if you like it, leave a comment, let us know how much you love it.

Meet the hosts

Be Physiology

At Be Physiology we focus on exercise and movement for the management and improvement of neurological and chronic conditions.

Related Podcast

Trent Brock | Mobile Exercise Physiologist

Trent Brock

mobile exercise physiologist
I have had 3 major passions throughout my life; exercise, competitive sports, and a strong will to help others. Those 3 factors made it an easy decision to pursue a career as an exercise physiologist. By encouraging and facilitating evidence-based exercise rehabilitation, I can help individuals living with various chronic conditions, particularly those living with neurological conditions.
I see exercise physiology as an extremely beneficial practice that enables clients to experience an improved quality of life. Personally, being able to provide insight into exercise and other tools that can equip clients with helpful skills and wellbeing improvements is extremely fulfilling. Being able to improve not only an individual, but their support network’s day-to-day life fills me with great joy and motivates me to continue to be better so that I can do better. I understand that everyone has a different view of exercise and there is no one-size fits all approach, so I operate with an open and adaptive mind, supported by evidence-based practices. If you or anyone that you know is looking to improve their quality of life and begin a journey to improved living, or just have any general questions, get in touch and let's have a chat!
Michelle Marais AEP

Michelle Marais

mobile exercise physiologist
My passion for movement, health, and helping others led me to become an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. Through this role, I facilitate exercise-based rehabilitation for individuals with various chronic conditions, with a primary interest and area of expertise in neurological conditions.
To me, exercise physiology is about equipping clients with valuable skills that make daily tasks easier and empowering them to achieve their goals while enjoying the process.I take great pride in being a part of my clients' rehabilitation journey and exploring new methods with them to find the optimal exercise approach that works best for them.If you have any questions or are interested in starting your journey to a happier, healthier lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to me.
Angus Sullivan AEP

Angus Sullivan AEP

Mobile Exercise Physiologist
As an accredited exercise physiologist, I see my role as an opportunity to facilitate a safe and effective environment for my clients to explore their physical capabilities, identify areas where they would like to improve, and then prescribe meaningful and appropriate activities to achieve these improvements.
I currently work predominantly with individuals living with disability and have a keen interest in acquired brain injuries (ABI), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), cerebral palsy (CP), spinal cord injuries (SCI) and rare neurological conditions.
To me, exercise physiology is not only about achieving narrow objective goals (eg. 1 Rep Max bench press), but improving an individual’s lifestyle and making activities of daily living easier (mobilising, transferring, feeding, and more).
I love what I do and enjoy learning new methods and discussing different opinions about exercise. I am always happy to chat about it so please get in contact if you have any questions or knowledge that you wish to share!
Our team of mobile exercise physiologists

Walter White

manager of good vibes
Being active has taken on a whole new meaning and I am 100% here for it. I like to fink I'm pretty active, and I keep up de vibes during team meetings - just making sure everyone's hands are always moving (across my butt) because I know dat any exercise is good exercise.
I keep close to everyone, real close, just to keep dem on their toes when dey walk by too.
Fings are always better when I am der so if you need some good vibes, I will be der for you.
Brb just going to have a snooze.
Love and licks,
Wally
Brittney Kenward

Brittney Kenward

co-founder / Operations manager
I’m NOT an exercise physiologist, but I do take my hat off to my team and get to admire the work they do each and every day. Be Physiology means that we’re able to apply our passion, and our experience, to make exercise physiology more accessible to the people who need it the most.
You might hear the team describe me as ‘the person who does everything else’, and that can be translated to ‘marketing and operations'. My background is marketing and business, which I’ve lived and breathed since 2011. I’ve worked in both the agency and corporate spaces, across many industries, with many amazing people and now with Be Physiology, I get to explore the health industry further and continue to meet the most incredible people who are the ones to define motivation.
If you’ve met Harry and Aj, you’d know that they don’t really need marketing - they’re genuine, have ridiculous amounts of charisma, knowledgeable, and extremely passionate about helping people to be a better version of themselves. But, sometimes getting an introduction is the hardest part and that’s where I come in.
If you want to chat, a coffee, a laugh, I’m always here to make one or all of them happen.

So call me and let’s keep sharing the love!
Keegan Betts AEP

Keegan Betts AEP

mobile exercise physiologist
As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, my work is driven by my passion for movement, health, and empowering others. With my experience working with individuals of all ages who have neurological conditions such as autism, stroke, and cerebral palsy, I focus on delivering activity-based therapy to optimise their independence.
Seeing people empowered and handling daily tasks easier is incredibly rewarding, as well as being able to give others the tools to improve their mental health and prevent secondary health conditions.
I know the importance of creating a welcoming and safe environment particularly when improving our health and I always strive to ensure everybody feels supported by the team around them and receives the highest level of care.
Get in touch today and let's make it happen.
Kristen McCluskey

Kristen McCluskey

Mobile Exercise Physiologist
If you spend as little as 10 minutes a day exercising, it will still make a huge difference to your overall physical and mental health - this is a fact and it is very often underappreciated! The benefits of exercise don’t discriminate and the rumours are true, exercise is medicine.
Spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions and women’s health are areas I find to be very dynamic and that I am particularly passionate about, but all aspects of exercise physiology are unique and have a significant impact on people’s everyday lives and I want to continue bringing it to those who will benefit the most from it.
I'm passionate about learning new methods and learning what my clients enjoy and how they approach exercise. I am always happy to chat about the many benefits and outcomes of exercise physiology so please get in contact if you have any questions or knowledge that you wish to share.
If you’re interested in learning more about who I am or want to ask any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch at .
Charlotte Gill

Charlotte Gill

marketing assistant
My name is Charlotte, and I'm a sports enthusiast currently studying for a marketing degree. Although I am not an exercise physiologist, I have a passion for sports having a background in ski instructing and adaptive skiing. Like the team, I believe exercise is medicine and share a similar passion and values to help and motivate others I meet.
I've been fortunate enough to work globally with a background in event management, ski instructing, administrating, and climbing supervisor. However, working alongside the Be Physiology team as my dream role in marketing is a highlight. If you have had the pleasure of meeting the team, you will know their genuine, funny, knowledgeable, and passionate to help others. These are values that I also pride myself in, and I am so fortunate to be surrounded by like-minded colleagues.
Harry White AEP

Harry White AEP

co-founder / supervisor
Exercise physiology combines two of my favourite things: health and helping people. As an accredited exercise physiologist with more than seven years’ clinical experience, I have treated people presenting with a wide variety of health conditions and concerns, postural issues, chronic injuries and rehabilitation needs.
My expertise is spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders and helping my clients to achieve an improved quality of life through rehabilitation and functional training. Rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders can be slow but incredibly rewarding for clients when results are achieved, no matter how small. Assisting people through learning useful skills and functional training is the most important role that an EP can play to help people lead a more fulfilled life.
Working for many years with people who have suffered serious injury or live with a disability, I know that taking a proactive approach to your health changes your life. If you care for your body, it will take care of you.
I’m passionate about helping people live a long, healthy and active life, so call today.