“Life is no longer a mystery.”
~ Dr. Joanny Liu.
I never thought I’d be doing what I do today. And what I do today is more important than I ever dreamed. I’d never thought I’d be treating concussions here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada at Calgary Concussions.
I was a practicing Professional Engineer here for 24 years. I am a mother to two adult sons, a wife, a professional career woman since 1979 and since 2007, a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and now a doctor of Classical Chinese Medicine.
My life has taken many turns
In my mid 30s, I was miserable and very unhappy with my job. I felt unappreciated. I felt underemployed. I felt used. I was angry and frustrated. I blamed other people for my unhappiness.
At the time, I didn’t know that being deeply unhappy was being out of balance, and would seriously jeopardize my well being.
One day I got the bad news of a so-called Positive Pap test result – they found something abnormal. I reacted in my usual way. I got mad and I was mad as hell. I was so mad I cried all the way home, driving from work that day.
Why was I so angry? How dare my body betray me when I was taking care of it all the time – my diet and my exercise routine. Later I would find out that these are NOT enough to ensure good health. It seemed to be the last straw to feel betrayed by people and then by own body. What was going on!
In my rage, I somehow became introspective too. Something changed inside me that day.
I decided that I was going to take control of my health and my life. My research about cervical cancer at the time told me it was very rare and that it occurred most often in women who had multiple sexual partners, who also had multiple sexual partners. In other words, the nurse said, “it’s mainly a disease of prostitutes.”
“That’s not me!!!!!”
I didn’t know I had let other people tell me what to do. I didn’t know that being obedient was killing me. I didn’t know that by denying myself, I was killing myself.
So that was the day, I decided no longer to be a victim. I decided to live.
The circumstances in my life began to change. I finally had the courage to ask for the things that I wanted. I finally had the courage to leave things behind that made me unhappy. It wasn’t easy.
I became a consultant and a contractor for a few years. There was fear and opposition to that. Like, what about your pension? What about benefits?
Later I decided to leave corporate life altogether. I wanted to do something really meaningful. I told my boss at the time and he seemed to understand. He said, “Joanny, go out there and get that piece of paper and you do whatever you want with it!” I went for it and that’s how I went back to school after 24 years as a Professional Engineer and became a Doctor of Chinese Medicine.
But in the ensuing years after my cancer scare, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I just had this general idea. I had become much less tolerant of the status quo. I was still having a stressful time, but it was better than before my cancer scare. So I was inconsistent. I was successful sometimes and unsuccessful other times. I didn’t know why, but I was definitely searching for answers for questions that I didn’t know I was asking!
I found my answers in my first year class, Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine. My professor taught that day that a few minutes of anger hurt you more than whoever or whatever you were mad at. O. M. G! Little did I know then that I was preparing myself to create Calgary Concussion.
It was ALL that negativity that I carried around with me, on my shoulders, on my upper back. In modern terms, it’s called STRESS. But stress is such a general term that it is meaningless.
My definition of stress is simple
Harbouring long term negativity. That’s called SUFFERING.
I’m just like you. It wasn’t easy for me either. I had to figure it out. I had to dig myself out of that hole that I call a cancer scare. But I did it alone. It took me almost another two decades to get to where I am today. I’ve spent a lot of time, effort, reading, studying and 10s of thousands of dollars going from seminar to seminar, learning bits and pieces and finally putting it all together. You don’t have to go through that.
I began to understand the missing link between sports injuries and disease and the expected results that people want from their doctors. Comprehensive treatment plans that MUST also contain a huge element of psychological involvement. This is the difference maker at Calgary Concussion Answers.
Why I Do What I Do
Possibility thinking moves you forward. Not mere problem solving. You can no longer afford that. Much of modern medicine these days is more like battlefield medicine to get you out and going as soon as possible. But it provides only temporary relief with a wish and crossed fingers that the problem doesn’t come back to bite you later.
Not good enough! You need sports medicine that is comprehensive that moves you forward in order to heal definitively. So, let me ask you this:
1.Have you been fired, released or forced to quit since you’ve had your concussion?
2. Are you still suffering from awful headaches long after your concussion?
3. Are you putting off your plans and the things you want to do since your concussion?
4. Are you depressed?
5. Are you having ANY suicidal thoughts at all?
It was February 2015 and I was doing a course on speaking from the stage. One of the questions asked up front was this: “What do you imagine would have been the cost to the client had they NOT accepted your offer?” Immediately the answer came to me:
SUICIDE! Then I cried. That’s what drives me. I’m in this game because I’m saving lives! AND the fact that parents and maybe their kids are having second thoughts about participating in their favourite sports.
I believe in mental fitness because mental health is everything. If you are fit mentally then you know what’s right for you. You will not indulge in doing things or eating foods that harm you. Instead you make the choices that make you happy and healthy – in mind, body and spirit. You can read more about what my values are and what I believe in here.
The state of concussion “treatments” in conventional sports medicine is non-existent. The NFL paid a group of the brightest minds in neuroscience ($100 million) to come up with answers. In the summer of 2015, they announced the answer: exercise.
Really?! Are you kidding?
Man, athletes EXERCISE for a living!
No wonder the thought of concussion happening to a young brain has parents panicked.
So let’s cut the crap. Sport is not at fault. The NFL is not at fault. The NHL is not at fault. Premier League and UEFA are not at fault. World Rugby is not at fault. What makes the brain weak in some and not others?
The answer is in the piles of research on neuroscience, neuropyschology and neuroplasticity just lying on shelves gathering dust. But I’ve got GOOD news. I studied the research, put two and two together and it suddenly dawned on me why my clients were getting better faster and recovering at record pace – it didn’t matter what injury it was – but ESPECIALLY concussions.
The brain is easy to heal. Period. If you know what to do. If you know WHY the brain was weakened in the first place. If you know how to trigger the right type of brain plasticity that grows and repairs brain cells. You see, brain plasticity can work both ways – it can grow or it can shrink. A healthy brain grows.
I figured out how to apply the science in my sports medicine practice.
Following the Return-to-Play Protocol makes sense. However they don’t have a way for you to actually advance through every step. The CONSEQUENCES are DIRE!
They have you wait on the sidelines. Have you ever wondered if there is anything you can do yourself to improve the odds of passing their “test?”
Psychological health IS the mainstay of Chinese medicine. Understanding the human psyche and helping you to become the best version of you is what we do at Calgary Concussion Answers. It naturally evolved because we’re talking about the brain. Unfortunately too much emphasis is put on the BIG part of our brain.
At Calgary Concussion Answers we practice THE WHOLE brain approach. You’ve got questions. Calgary Concussion has the insights. You must consider the emotional parts too, because the emotional state determines behaviour. Got to go MUCH deeper!
Concussions and Post Concussion Syndrome are temporary. You never ever have to have another one. Because prevention is also in the recovery process.
If I didn’t know what I know today, I wouldn’t have been able to help my own grown son deal positively, proactively and constructively with his severe concussion that nearly blinded him.
Today, it’s over 5 years since that concussion. My son never had a relapses. No headaches. No eye problems. He’s stronger emotionally and mentally to deal with situations that he would never have thought possible before his full recovery.
Once you’ve made up your mind to be well, then you go about it ruthlessly (AKA relentlessly) until you reach your goal. Then you recover.
In all the cases I’ve seen, there is one TRUTH: all concussions are preceded by a traumatic MAJOR upset. Shock. Deep disappointment. It could’ve been days ago, weeks, months later.
The work I do and the process I developed have proven results. In my work, there’s ALWAYS a way to end pain and misery. I start with the end result, the one that you want. That’s what you and I focus on. In end you get what you want if you follow the PROCESS of Calgary Concussion Answers.
So let me save you lots of time and heartache. Let’s tone down and even eliminate the stress in your life. That’s what resilience is all about.
Because that’s going to determine what you look like and feel like right now and in the future. It’s going to determine how you perform everyday, whether it’s in your career, at home, and your finances. Because there’s a universal truth: How you do one thing is how you do everything! It’s already happening right now.
Cheers, Dr. Joanny, TCMD (Doctor of Chinese Medicine), RAc (Registered Acupuncturist Alberta), B.CivilEng