Oct 27, 2012 by Danelle Umstead
2 years ago today… I woke up partially paralyzed on my right side. I was diagnosed a couple months later with Multiple Sclerosis. (MS) My life and skiing career changed and I knew it was not going to be good.
Everyday was a struggle… I fought like hell, but felt like I was getting worse. I had 3 relapses; my body and mind were falling apart. There was no connection between the two. I believed MS was taking over my life. On the outside I tried to appear strong, on the inside there was a horrible battle I was loosing. I cried myself to sleep every night after every ski race, and felt like a failure in life and sport. Everyday I was going through the motions but never getting ahead. There was a constant stand still in life.
After being sent home to the states this past February, from a World Cup in Spain, from yet another MS relapse. I was done fighting. I was exhausted from the consistent struggle with ski racing, my inner battle, and my body/mind. I felt sorry for myself. I was treated with steroids through IV for my MS attack. The fighter in me decided to try again. I was going through the motions of what once was my favorite thing to do… SKI RACE.
I finished most of the season with the possibility of never coming back to the sport.
Now I could not breathe, I felt like a failure, and was spiraling out of control.
The sport of skiing has always been my outlet, my fun, excitement, and independence. It brought a true-life smile from the inside out. The sport that helped me find pure freedom 12 years ago, when my life was in a similar, but much worse state of mind realizing my life without sight. (My eye disease Retinitus Pigmintosa)
Fast Forward to Summer 2012.
WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!!!!
I cannot give up, I have to get better and I knew it was not going to be easy. My summer focus is to find my inner warrior. Do not let outcome-oriented goals define who I am.Push my body and mind further than I ever have. To really understand my body and mind and being happy.
Look how far I have come in 2 years. I learned how to walk again, ski again on the right side where my body and mind has had to relearn everything. I continued to ski race and maybe it was not my personal best outcome…. I believe it was my personal best.
I did not give up…. Maybe gave in a little… but never really gave up.
I have the most incredible family, friends, and support group.
Rob and I are even stronger now than we were before. There is “ NO WAY “ I will stop doing what I love. It is not always going to be easy but I will remind myself to enjoy the journey.
Teams Vision4Gold intends on representing USA again in the Paralympic games and be better than before.
2014 Sochi Russia, is our Vision4Gold.
In September, we trained on snow with our team in Valle Nevado, Chile, and know all our hard work is showing up in our sport and our lives.
I feel strong, healthy, alive, excited, and full of gratitude for everything in life.
This Summer Transformation is not only for Sport but life :)
Thanks to all the support from….
Who is by my side every single step of the way.Who worked out with me, did plyometrics in the fields until I puked, laughed with me. Encourages me when I tried to give up, and pushes me when I believe I am weak.
He continues to love me every minute of the journey no matter what.
My Chiropractor Doctor Gary Zetterberg of Green Apple Wellness, Park City
He knew he could help me without a doubt. He continues to help my nervous system, alignment, and wellness. A dedicated doctor and person to wellness
He even comes to my home when I was at my worst.
My Sport Physiologist Doctor Lauren Loeberg from Pyramid Performance Consulting , Park City.
She helps me to realize mentally how strong I am. Helps be understand and retrain my mind to be even stronger and happier. She also is helping me not to be so hard on myself. No matter the outcome …enjoy the journey and know I can be my personal best. She continues to help stay focused and real.
Alan Schoenberger from the Ski Studio
Which has helped train my brain/body to understand skiing, visualize, and have fun.
Vision4Gold Sponsors who believe in our
AND YOUR CONSTANT SUPPORT!!!!!!