Melody Tardiff is a mom to two busy teenage boys, ages 16 and 13 and a wife to a wonderful husband. She’s also a daughter, sister and friend to many. She is fortunate to have a job, a home and as she says, “way too much food on their table all the time.”
Some may say she’s got it all…She has learned full force to never judge a book by its cover, but instead have compassion for the fact that we don’t ever know what hides behind one’s smile. She is almost always smiling and people often ask her, why do you always smile? It’s her cover up…it is her way of hiding what’s going on and what she is struggling with in life. Now Melody will share a bit more…
“My kids both struggle with health issues, one mental health and the other with a rare bowel disease where he has had 22 + procedures/surgeries over his short life on earth. We deal every single day with anxiety and worry, yet I can feel peace at the end of the day when I see my kids are happy and healthy.
My own health…well that’s a story! One cold January morning, 2 years ago, I woke up with numbness from my waist down. I knew this was a new symptom and so I called my husband to come and bring me to the hospital. I was already on surgical watch as I had a previous back surgery. When I arrived, the ER doctor did some initial tests which lead him to believe I was suffering from Quana Equina Syndrome. This was confirmed with an MRI. I had 24 hours, yes 1 day to have an emergent surgery where my lower spine was fused and held together with some bone graphs, screws, and rods. I asked if I had a choice and was told by multiple doctors that without the surgery I would completely loose function of my legs and be in a wheelchair for life.
How could this be? I wasn’t in an accident or have an injury that would cause such a thing. I’ve learned to always expect the unexpected. I ended up having the surgery, and it was realized that my damage was far worse than what was seen on the MRI. I awoke from the surgery and could not feel a thing.
It took me months and months of physical and athletic therapy to get me where I am today. I started off walking with a walker, graduated to a cane and then walking unassisted. This journey has sure tested my endurance, patience, and strength.
Today, I am still not back to 100%, but I am able to workout, with modifications, every single day. Remember those busy boys? Well, they are both black belts in taekwondo and just before I suffered my “injury” I started taekwondo after watching them since my oldest was 4. I am now back to regular taekwondo classes and will be testing for my red belt right around the corner!
I take pharmaceuticals everyday to help with the nerve damage and pain, I see a pain clinic doctor, and am followed still by my Physio and Athletic therapists. This maybe a lifelong disability, but I cannot allow it to run me all the time.
I am needed, my boys need me, my husband needs me, my family and friends need me. And I need all of them. Having my support system has been amazing through each step of recovery!”
Words of wisdom and empowerment from Melody:
I asked Melody what she feels has been the most valuable lesson she has learned in 2020, and this is what she had to share.
“I think the most valuable lesson that I learned in 2020 was how we can survive through a pandemic and come out stronger on the other side! Life throws us all so many curve balls and it’s all about how you deal and learn from each curve. You can use those lessons to continue on stronger in the end! Never did I think we would live through a pandemic in my lifetime, but here we are. So just remember to take each day as it comes and that everything truly does happen for a reason.”
I asked Melody to share her message of strength and empowerment for other women to start 2021 with a positive mindset, and this is her inspiring response.
“Now we are a month into 2021, I want to share that it’s ok to feel down or feel negative about a situation. You have to allow yourself to feel all the feels about something so that you can see why this is happening to you at this particular time and be able to see the light at the end of tunnel. Being positive all the time is very tiring, just as being negative all the time is too. So finding your happy medium between the two is the key to success. I have had so many difficult situations to work through in my lifetime, and while I could allow them to bring me down, I look at them as learning lessons, or simply steps through my life that have made me the person I am today.”
“Since we cannot hug due to the current pandemic, I want to send big “virtual” hugs to all.”
WOW! What an incredible honour to be able to share Melody’s story with you. Let’s all send her some BIG “VIRTUAL” HUGS too! She has truly found her warrior within and keeps going not only for herself, but for her boys and husband, family and friends. You read this, right??? She is working to achieve her red belt in taekwondo, and just two years ago was not sure she would ever be able to walk again…no matter the struggle behind the smile, no matter the pain with each step, no matter the fear that holds us back – we all need a little of Melody’s inspiration to go beyond our limits, to know that WE CAN DO IT! Thank you for reading Melody’s story, and let’s keep supporting and empowering each other as we continue our journey to live our best life!
MELODY YOU ARE PHENOMENAL!!!