A Little Bit About Me

Written by Julie Kuskopf

Ok here goes. My first ever BLOG!

 A few of my clients have asked me to write about my experiences that led me to taking up massage as a career, but in order to do that I need to give you a run-down on my life so far. 

I’ve done a number of things workwise including working in childcare, woolies check-out, and working in various registered training organisations. I’ve also dabbled in a lot of different hobbies and one of these was competing in triathlon. Now, when I say competed, what I really mean is that I completed the courses and came last most of the time. Oh well, at least I got out of bed, did the training and became quite fit. 

 Personally, I have had an awesome life so far. I’ve been married for almost 30 years and have 5 wonderful children and 5 gorgeous grandchildren (so far). We started off in North Queensland and moved to Kalgoorlie in WA for a little while, which is where I started doing triathlon. I loved living there and made wonderful friends. It was while I was living in Kalgoorlie that something happened to change my life. 

On Sunday, 8/03/10, I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon. Woohoo! I wasn’t even last out of the water OR off the bike. I felt fantastic. I was 41, had just lost 25kg and had finally found an ‘inner athlete’ I didn’t know existed. My training was coming together nicely and I was looking forward to competing with my friends and my husband and son while our girls and youngest son cheered us on. On Monday, I decided to have a rest day from training. On Tuesday morning, I went to the pool for our regular training session. During the cool down, I felt a sharp pain in my chest and felt a bit dizzy. I didn’t think anything of it because when you do that much training something always hurts. I finished the cool down and went off to work that day. I felt like I had pulled a muscle under my left shoulder blade so I kept trying to stretch it out. I tried to do a run that night and then a bike ride the following morning. In both instances I didn’t feel well and aborted the training sessions. I eventually went to see the doctor on Wednesday afternoon. He took a blood test and said I would hear from him if anything was wrong. On Thursday morning he rang me at work and told me to get to the hospital immediately as I had had a heart attack. WHAT???!!! 

 

Because we were in Kalgoorlie, I had to be airlifted with the Flying Doctors to Perth because they couldn’t treat me in the Kalgoorlie hospital. I had an angiogram which showed that I had had a SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Arterial Dissection), a type of heart attack that mainly affects young fit women. I had 2 stents inserted into the rear circumflex – an artery that wraps around the back of the heart. I didn’t really understand what it all meant at the time, maybe it was the drugs I was on or maybe it was a form of denial. Anyway, I asked the heart specialist if I was still able to compete in the half ironman as it was still 6 weeks away. What was I thinking? 

I was released from hospital and we did the 6 hour drive back to Kalgoorlie on the Sunday. On Tuesday (what is it about Tuesdays?), I had a sharp pain in my chest again and my hands went ice cold and then my left arm felt heavy and achy. I knew this time I was having another heart attack. Back to Perth with the Flying Doctors I went. This heart attack was different, more like the traditional blockage, as a clot had formed and was blocking the opening of the stent.

Once it all sank in, I was devastated, and just wanted to move back to Queensland to be closer to family and what I felt familiar with. I felt like I had lost myself and I ended up suffering depression for 3 years and still struggle with it from time to time.

This led me to start thinking about what really made me happy. I have always been interested in complementary therapy such as naturopathy, aromatherapy, nutrition etc. and have never understood why the medical profession and complementary therapists don’t work more closely. To me it just makes sense for the recovery and health of the individual. I thought very hard about what I would like to do that is in the complementary therapy industry and that would have a huge impact on the health of people. This is what led me to massage and specialising in chronic pain and disease and massage for the elderly. 

I don’t have any restrictions on what I can do anymore and am living life to the full. I am exercising again and enjoy hiking and bush-walking and going to the gym and of course having a blast with my friends – I joined a group called Hash House Harriers, which has been amazing as I exercise and socialise at the same time. 

 What have I learnt from this experience? Stay positive, do things that make you happy and relaxed and reduce the things in your life that cause you stress. I have also learnt that your health, family and friends are the most precious things you can have in your life. 

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