I arrived in Thailand alone in 2007 to train Muay Thai at the then Siam No. 1, now Santai Muay Thai gym in San Kamphaeng, located in Chiang Mai province. I arrived injured and eczema ridden. I was in the worst health of my life. Doctors in my native Canada were unable to help me heal.
In 2002, I had been intentionally hit by a car while standing on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.
My then fiance was with me. After the impact, my fiance ran to pull the driver out of the car as others jumped on it. The driver then reversed and changed direction to drive over my fiance. He succeeded. My fiance’s left leg rolled under and over one of the car’s wheels. He was left on the ground, fearing for his life as he stared at his foot, enclosed in a brand new shoe peeking out from the top of the wheel. Thankfully the assailant reversed and exited the scene.
My fiance’s shin was crushed but his ankle and foot surprisingly survived intact. He now walks with a steel rod for a shinbone. I was essentially fine until three months after the incident; my right leg began to occasionally drag.
I was in chronic pain from that point on.
My marriage, which took place a few months afterwards, lasted eight months. They were a difficult eight months for both of us. We had lost our jobs months prior to the incident and the pressures of unemployment, chronic pain, and a first year of marriage were challenging. Additionally, he had moved from Detroit to Toronto and was having a difficult time acclimating. He also couldn’t legally work. I was eventually able to secure a temporary work contract, which in some ways helped our financial situation but perhaps nothing else. I was burned out in every way.
During my marriage my health began to decline. New allergies took form and as time progressed new sensitivities and allergies continued to confuse me. I no longer understood my own body. I would break out in rashes, eczema and I had problems controlling my weight.
I remember telling people that something inside me felt like it was dying, but I didn’t know what.
I just knew I wasn’t okay and no matter what research I conducted, what type of dietary regime coupled with alternative therapies I tried, and every mix I could possibly think of; my health was a mystery to me.
My doctors and various chiropractors were unable to help me as well. Some eased the pain, some increased it, but the issues persisted. I was sent to one of the top allergists in Canada, yet we were still unable to change my health. A number of people in my life, mainly comprised from those without allergies, kept telling me my sickness was in my head.
I was frustrated, scared and deeply saddened.
One thing that kept me going was the drive to change my life. As I worked on my health and dealt with the emotional baggage of my past, I began to do the things I hadn’t done before.
I began to systematically work towards my dreams.
Shortly before leaving on my trip, I was tested for rheumatoid arthritis and told that although I didn’t have it, my test results were dangerously close. I was told I’d have to go see a specialist once I returned from Thailand.
On December 31, 2006 I flew out of Pearson International Airport in Toronto and landed in Bangkok shortly after midnight on January 1, 2007. Within a day or two I flew to Chiang Mai and then made my way to nearby San Kamphaeng and Siam No. 1. Muay Thai Gym.
I spent six months living in San Kamphaeng and the experience changed my life.
I healed beyond what medical professionals told me was possible.
I was also struck by a Burmese child labourer on his way to work in a Thai factory while I was riding a bicycle in San Kamphaeng. The accident split my scalp and fractured my spine. I was misdiagnosed in the first hospital I visited. By the time I made it to the second hospital in Chiang Mai, the doctor was amazed at my recovery.
Truth sometimes is weirder than fiction, and more beautiful too.
Here is my story. It’s comprised mainly of journal like pieces that I had originally written to update my friends on my now terminated MySpace page.
If you’ve had a similar experience, if you’ve been able to heal beyond what you were told was possible, please let us know in the comments. If you have blog posts describing your journey, please feel free to link to them there as well.
“English is scarce here including anything written in Roman script. It’s all Thai, all the time. It’s alright, but Bangkok with all its hustlers and deviants felt a lot more like home. For me, that’s a good indication. I’m in the right place.”
“Found this place for the blind. A bunch of them live together and give massages as a living. I can’t speak the language and I can’t even talk with my hands, and they’re healing me. It’s incredible.”
“My krus push me hard. The owner pushes me hard. Now the manager does as well. For this, I am thankful but at times it can be hard on my ego. I have to get that in check. My ego. Just drop it and push my limits.”
“Instantly I knew something incredible had occurred. At present time of writing, I don’t recall if it was that evening, the following day, or perhaps the next when I felt for the first time in years, freedom from chronic pain.”
“Got my knee taken out sparring with a fellow Canadian. The guy pulled a move I’ve never seen before (tried to take both my legs out at the same time). I maintained for the .25 seconds before his shin hit my 2nd knee in the attack. Thigh went one way, calf the other. Pop.”
“Almost three weeks off from training and I’m not alright…If I can’t train my body, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to strengthen my mind.”
“There was no way I was moving. The pain at the base of my spine exceeded anything I’ve ever felt before and my head was leaking. I was clutching on to a fence and trying not to pass out and puke. I was dizzy and I was seeing lights.”
“My right side hit pavement, same side as last week. Tore my clothes, bruised and battered my foot, knee, elbow, pelvis….He looked at me and said, “Next week, you’ll be dead.”
“Bottom line is this: I found out I fractured my spine. He was completely confused because he can’t understand how I can walk, or have any of the mobility I have without being in hardcore pain.”
“Does this defy logic? Perhaps, depending on whose logic we’re speaking of.”