Sondra Saylor

Sondra&Kris (2)

When you meet this cheerful, vivacious, outspoken women, you would never imagine she is living every parent’s worst nightmare.  Sondra has a son Kristopher who was born a normal, beautiful bouncing boy.  At 14 months of age that all started to change.  How Sondra has approached that challenge in her life has proved inspirational to all who know her.  Here is her story about Living Life Stronger:

“I’m leaving out a lot of details AND the last 20 years. When people ask, I give them the really short version which is… he had cancer when he was a baby, had numerous complications that left him with multiple disabilities. He remains medically fragile and requires 24/7 care.

Sure, I could be grouchy and depressed. 21 years ago, when they told me that he had three months to live, I could have curled up in a ball on my bed and cried, but I would have been there for 21 years. I could have eaten 7,000 plus packages of cookies, but I would weigh 600 lbs. You always have choice. I chose to make the best of the situation.

I got up from the couch after a night of broken sleep, got medicine ready, did a respiratory treatment, cleared his airway, changed and fed Kristopher all before I even got to brush my teeth or get a cup of coffee. I don’t deserve any donuts or slushies because I didn’t run 3. whatever it is miles and I won’t even get to walk the dog outside. I will try to make healthy choices when I drag myself back to the kitchen, but really I just want to eat an entire tray of brownies.

What keeps me motivated to NOT eat that tray of brownies? The answer is really quite simple, yet very complex. I realize how very lucky I am to simply still have Kristopher with me. I would literally give my life to let him have his (whole) life back. He is the one who was robbed of his childhood. How unfair it is that he doesn’t just get to be a normal kid, play, have friends, fight with his brother, drive a car, grow up and get a job? So unfair, that at the very least, as his mother, I should make his life as healthy and happy as I possibly can. In order to accomplish that, I need to be at my best.

In order to accomplish that, it didn’t take much to figure out that I had to keep moving and eat right. I don’t want to feel like a big cupcake. There is much truth to the statement, you are what you eat. The big secret is to follow through, stick with your plan, and know that you can have a bad day. Since I can’t go run or physically go to the gym right now, it would be pretty easy to just not do anything at all, right?

As drained as I feel, I know that I will be energized when I climb on that elliptical. I might barely make it through the first 7 minutes, but then it will be all downhill from there. I will get Kristopher ready and breathing well enough that we can go outside for a few minutes, it might only be for a few minutes but something is better than nothing. SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. Is it worth the effort? Damn right, it is.

So basically, Kristopher keeps me motivated. Sure it helps that I have this underlying vanity that comes from some psychological manifestation of something or other. I want to look good, more importantly, I want to feel better. It only takes one thing; one deep seeded reason to motivate yourself to be the person you want to be.

When Kristopher is doing well and Sondra has enough help, she will go to the gym or simply walk on the beach.  Sondra spent years in gymnastics as a youth and will pull from those skills to perform body weight strength training and flexibility exercises at home.

Being healthy enough to care for Kristopher is Sondra’s motivation. So, dig deep and find your ONE THING to inspire and motivate you to Live Life Stronger and be the person you want to be.

Go Sondra!

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About Natalie Conway PT OCS ATC

Natalie Conway PT OCS ATC is currently the Area Manager for the Gloucester/West Point area of Pivot Physical Therapy (Formerly Tidewater Physical Therapy Inc.) including three physical therapy clinics and a performance center. Natalie lives in Williamsburg and coaches at Williamsburg Gymnastics in her spare time. She is married to Todd and they are busy raising three very active children, Mikey, Peter and Kayleigh.

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