Tag Archives: Toronto Rehab

Never Give Up!

I spent last week in Miami at my company’s annual customer conference and sales kick-off. While I had hoped it would be something of a respite from the challenges of the past five months, Tracy was never really far from my thoughts — especially after listening to the inspirational words of Nando Parrado our keynote speaker.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the story. In October 1972 a rugby team from Uruguay was flying to Chile for an international match. Their plane crashed high in the Andes Mountains and the survivors endured 72 unmanageable days of hardship, starvation, frostbite and even an avalanche.

Nando told us about how those two and a half months changed his life completely. His mother and younger sister passed away in the accident, and Nando made a superhuman effort to survive including a hellish 11 day mountain trek across the Andes to find help for the other survivors.

Nando told his amazing story in a best-selling book called “Miracle in The Andes” which was recently made into motion picture called “I AM ALIVE.” His story really resonated with me. It’s a message about perseverance, choices and never looking back. He told us to “never ask why,” because there are no answers, and it’s not helpful. Our family continues to try and be strong for Tracy, but there are days when our “humanness” overcomes and our emotions take over – anger, sadness, despair and more recently exhaustion.

Nando signed books after his talk and I was eager to get a copy for Tracy. We were asked to write the name of the person we wanted the book inscribed to on a little yellow post it note. I wrote Tracy’s name and when I reached Nando he smiled, looked up at me and asked “who is Tracy?” He could clearly see my conference name badge – Lesley Dort. I was overcome with emotion in that instant and sobbed as I retold Tracy’s story. He leaned over and very gently held my hand. We talked about Tracy and her will to live. It felt to me like we were the only two people in that room, even though there was a huge long line of people waiting behind me.

His inscription to Tracy was “Never Give Up.”

Nando’s story is inspirational and the message of resilience and a positive attitude gives me hope. If he could survive two and a half months in the Andes and live to tell his story, we can help Tracy to transition to her new life as a quadriplegic.

My husband and I continue to believe that she has a calling. Her story, just like Nando’s, will inspire others to be better and do better in their own lives.

A Very Different Birthday Party

Tracy turned 42 last Saturday. It was obviously a very melancholy day for our family. Here’s an email that Tracy’s friend Tammy Comish sent me about a party her wonderful girlfriends organized for her at Lyndhurst Hospital. I loved her note and thought we’d share it with you.

 

[box] Hi Lesley, I wanted to share with you, my thoughts on Tracy’s birthday! As I was driving to attend Tracy’s birthday party on Friday night, I found myself flashing back to a year ago, when I was attending Tracy 40th birthday (for the 2nd time, lol!)

Tracy Dort-Kyne Birthday Party

 

What a difference a year makes.

Last year we celebrated with a yoga class, snowshoeing, a trip to the Spa and dinner. Then the following night a big party at Shirlee’s!

This year was so different, but so much more meaningful.

I was so happy to be among 10 incredible, caring women who have shown what a true friend will do when things get tough! These friendships are a testimony to what an incredible person your sister Tracy is!

I continue to be thankful for your incredible family and all these “true friends” for carrying and loving Tracy — the same way she would if it were one of us that was hurt.

I am still not convinced there is a reason that this accident happened. But on days like Tracy’s birthday it makes me thankful for Family and Friends.

Love Tammy[/box]

Life Goes On

It’s the old cliché that we’ve heard a million times, but sadly it is true. The clock nor the calendar stand still for anyone! People must get on with their lives, their work, their families, their day-to-day routines, their social gatherings, their celebrations, their appointments … their “busy“. Slowly the impact of Tracy’s accident is fading for some. Priorities shift. It’s amazing to think that it was only 3 months + 1 week ago on labour day weekend that Tracy’s life changed – along with our entire family.

The difference for Tracy is that the impact of that fateful day is more real than ever. Each day brings unknowns. Each day brings new challenges. Each day staying healthy, well, strong in her mind and her immobile body is paramount to survival. Each day she is completely dependant on others for every aspect of her life. Just imagine.

HOW TO LIVE LIFE at LYNDHURST

Tracy’s inspirational attitude comes from within her. She is tenacious and driven, but during this tragic time she has drawn great strength from the positive and powerful energy, love and compassion of people.  Visitors: families, acquaintances, work colleagues, fitness fanatics, school buddies, neighbourhood pals, ….FRIENDS….

True Friends Strengthen and Help Each Other
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)

GRACIAS, MERCI, GRAZIE, DANKESCHON!

A VERY BIG note of appreciation to Jane Roos and her husband Conrad for opening up their gorgeous Gallery on November 29th for a spectacular evening of art and friendship. Thanks also to a very special group of women called the MINOES (mother in need of entertainment) who have found the key to “happiness in the hood” and hosted a fantastic night of fun and fellowship Thursday December 1st.

WHAT IS CHRISTMAS?

I asked Abby today if it was OK if we didn’t put up a Christmas tree this year. I know how much she loves the tree, the ornaments and the amazing smell. I felt guilty. I explained that I just didn’t have it in me to take on this task. She paused and then she said “it’s OK Mom, the tree doesn’t actually matter.”  Of course! She was right, the tree doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are all together and Tracy is alive and every day we should be grateful for small miracles each day.

GRATITUDE

Words cannot express our sincere appreciation. Here is a growing but not inclusive list of those we wish to acknowledge and express thanks to:

  • Crestwood Preparatory College and all of Christian’s teachers
  • Peter DeMarco of Demarco Peprich Canada’s leading florist
  • Super-start realtor Carol Anne Warrington for taking care of the sale of Tracy’s home and providing a full commission deduction
  • Michael Kalles from Harvey Kalles Real Estate for graciously returning the company’s commission on the sale of Tracy’s home
  • Uptown Landscaping – Daron Robertson and his team of green thumbs for looking after Tracy’s house
  • Greg Clees at Clees Catering and team of foodies
  • Suzanne Martin – Speech Language Pathologist
  • Robyn’s Cookies makes of Toronto’s best chocolate chip cookie
  • Bedford Park School Moms
  • Stevie Krupski and Silvia Prime
  • Victoria Williams
  • Snowhawks – Heather and Mitch and their amazing ski and snowboard school
  • The incredibly talented Jane Roos of Jane Roos Gallery for a beautiful art-filled fund raiser
  • Track Fitness for hosting a great spin fund raiser
  • Moksha Yoga Uptown for sharing their studio for a sweat and spin fund raiser
  • Pure Fitness and Deirdre Casey aka Irongirl for a fantastic spin fund raiser
  • Extreme Fitness and VP Jaqueline Walters for their continued support and ongoing fund raising
  • MINOES for a very touching and heartfelt fund raiser
  • Milton Davis and the team at Davis Moldaver LLP
  • Sue Henderson from Suetables and her beautiful necklace fund raising effort
  • Mike Bullard and his team at Newstalk1010 for turning his show into a laugh-filled benefit for Tracy
  • Rick Hansen and his 25th Anniversary Relay Team for including Tracy in the Toronto leg of the relay
  • Craigleith Ski Club for supporting our family
  • Michael Carmichael from CityBuick for incredible spin fundraiser for Tracy at his dealership
  • 11x Ironman champ Lisa Bentley for leading CityBuick Spin for Tracy and for  reaching out to so many of her friends and clients

Love and joy, les :-) xo

 

I Wish I’d Never Met You

THANK YOU

First of all a HUGE shout out of THANKS to Deirdre + all the “spinners” at PURE FITNESS yesterday!!! What an awesome fundraiser with truly special, loving & generous people.

“FAMILY MEETING”

On November 15th we were all invited to a “family meeting” at Lyndhurst in the morning. We weren’t told very much – other than it would be an opportunity to have all of Tracy’s medical and therapy “team” around the table in one room. Lynn, Mom, Dad, Robert, myself & Tracy of course – all cleared our calendars and prepared our questions and notes for the big day.

Finally, we would have an opportunity to discuss the many questions, challenges and struggles in a mediated and managed forum with professionals giving us input and collaborating on the solutions. Sounds great, doesn’t it?? HA!! Well, what actually happened was not what we had anticipated – what actually happened was a very formal and rigid – 30 minutes – of each professional around the table stating the facts about Tracy’s entrée to Lyndhurst and their prognosis relative to their line of work.  There was physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, psychology, nursing, recreational therapy, Dr. “B”and Dr. Judy. Dr B lead the meeting and it was at a fast pace. There wasn’t much time for questions or interactions as it was made very clear that there was another family coming in at exactly the 30 minute mark!!

It was a whirlwind – disappointing to say the least. We felt ripped off. My poor mother just wanted to say something at the end and was cut off as she sobbed an incredibly heartfelt “thank you.” The real goal of the meeting wasn’t for “us” but for them to give us “the date” – of Tracy’s discharge. The actual purpose seemed to be for them to check all the proper bureaucratic “boxes,” and communicate the date that we should be ready to assume Tracy’s care!

DR. LEO DA COSTA

On Tuesday November 22nd Tracy had an appointment with Dr. Dacosta at Sunnybrook Hospital. He is the neurosurgeon who operated on Tracy’s neck and spine the day after her accident – the person responsible for “putting Humpty back together again.”

I volunteered to go with Tracy to Sunnybrook to meet with Dr. D, because I knew she wanted to start at the beginning. She wanted to see all the scans and xrays that we had seen pre-op, post-op and now. She was on a mission to educate herself on her spinal injury. To gain some understanding and figure out why she’s favouring her left side? Was her head on an angle because of the surgery? Would another operation fix it? What was the deal? We finished getting her ready to go that morning and got into the Dignity ‘van’.

We first went to the Xray clinic because they wanted to take another xray of her neck  After that we made our way to Dr. Dacosta’s office – which by the way has two sets of doors WITHOUT handicapped buttons or automatic door openers!?? Huh? He called us into his cramped quarters and gave us his FULL attention. He listened, replied and interacted with Tracy with admiration. I could tell he was amazed, maybe even in awe of her. He shared the details about the hardware holding Tracy’s neck together.

There are 8 screws/bolts – 4 on each side of the front of her neck with a bar going horizontally across the middle section. On the back there is a plate going vertically holding the graft from her hip in place between the vertebrae. He went on to explain just how badly torn and ripped apart her muscles and tendons in her neck had been, and how difficult it was to put her back together again. He seemed to marvel at the fact that she is breathing on her own. It became clear that he did not want to operate again. The risks are way too high. She would need to focus and work through the pain in her neck and start building up strength in her right side. He reminded her that she’d been lying in a hospital bed for the past 2 months and even an able-bodied person would need time to rejuvenate the muscles and work to gain strength. She should be patient.

She was unbelievable during this appointment. Just before we got up to leave, she said “thank you for saving my life,”  to which he replied “I wish I’d never met you.”

DECISIONS

Where to live? Sell, buy, renovate, build… stay or go? So many questions and so many decisions. Have you ever thought about the considerations and accommodations needed for a wheelchair? And then, take that one step further and think about the added accommodations or technology needed for someone in a wheelchair who cannot use their arms or hands? Imagine the myriad of simple tasks that become overwhelming feats. And then layer that with 3 young boys who want and need mothering, nurturing, discipline and care…Now add that to the mix!! I know in my heart that we will work through all of this and find the solution, and Tracy will continue to amaze and inspire us all.

GIFTS

Christmas is fast approaching – the stores, TV, magazines, radio, and advertisements are all telling us to shop, buy and spend on “gifts.” This Christmas has taken on new meaning for our family. I definitely don’t have the same motivation to buy “things.” I seem to be questioning what it’s all about. Is it really about the “stuff?”  If you knew you could ask for any gift this Christmas – anything you wanted, what would it be? My response today would be much different than it would have been in Christmases past. Today if you asked me that same question…. I promise I wouldn’t be greedy and ask for Tracy to be able walk, or to rewind the clock and take away her injuries. I would say “please God give Tracy strength, courage, peace and hope” …I might say “please let her have some movement in her hands, or her arms” … “please let her find happiness and purpose again.” Those are some of the “gifts” I might ask for today. This Christmas celebrate the “gifts” we all take for granted every day.

Les

Hoopla

Media Attention

CBC, CTV, Global, Rick Hansen, NewsTALK 1010’s Mike Bullard have all interviewed, videotaped, photographed and spent time with Tracy over the past few weeks. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s National Newspaper, even put her on the front page as part of a major report on catastrophic injuries. She has become an awesome spokesperson and advocate for those living with spinal cord injuries. She enjoys the limelight, thrives on the attention and rises to the occasion each time. It is what has fuelled her each day. It has given her a reason to have her hair blow dried and her make up applied. It keeps her mind occupied and off of the pain, the paralysis, the prognosis and the future.

So, what happens when all the “hoopla” dies down. Where will her thoughts go when the lights, the cameras and the reporters go away? What “stage” of grieving is she really in? Could it be denial? We talk of her strength, her spirit and her being inspirational. But are we – her family – also in denial? Are we fooling ourselves?

September 4th to November 13 – 70 days, 2 and a half months, 10 weeks – that’s all it’s been since she had her accident. Is that enough time to process that for the rest of her life she will be confined to a wheelchair? Is it enough time to understand how dependant she will be forever more on others for everything. Can she really have grasped the notion of her “new normal”? And how will she cope if or when she does? Or am I wrong, and she’s already moved past this? I do hope that’s the case.

There’s always Hope

There are many people we’ve met since this happened, some who have been injured or paralyzed themselves, some who practice in the field of SCI patients, and others who are related to, or know someone with paralysis – but one common thread in the conversation is you’ve gotta have HOPE! It’s the “Secret” – that life is a self fulfilling prophecy. If you believe and put your mind into a positive space you will achieve your goals. The doctors are not always right and have often been proven wrong by tenacious, strong minded, determined patients who overcome the odds and can now use their arms, use their hands or even walk!! We have hope for Tracy and I know she has the drive to prove all the textbooks wrong!

Gratitude

I realized that I have not said THANK YOU in my recent posts. I want you all to know how incredibly grateful we are for the generosity and compassion of everyone around us – friends, family and strangers. We can’t thank you enough for your: donations, your visits with Tracy, your support, your prayers, your notes, your calls, your willingness to pitch in and your caring. It is this positive energy that helps us all to keep going. We could NOT do it without you! Words don’t seem to express our enormous feelings of gratitude and appreciation. God Bless

Lynn

I want to send a shout out to my sister Lynn Pang. The oldest of the Dort girls. Lynn has moved to Toronto from St. Louis, given up her life to become the main caregiver for Tracy’s three boys. She has been cooking (so good!), caring, driving, nurturing, nursing and loving Tracy’s boys since the accident. She helps with homework, meets with teachers, organizes activities and plans ahead for all things kid- related. She has become their advocate and their protector. I don’t know what we’d do without her selflessness.Thank you Lynn! xo

Robert

I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention how much my wonderful husband – Robert Lendvai - has done to help Tracy. He’s the marketing genius/social media expert behind this website and her Twitter profile. He’s the one who set up the online donation mechanism, he’s become the finance manager, the car salesman, the PR/Media Manager, the go-to for all things fundraising. He has lifted me up on the bad days and cheered me on, on the good days. He’s always thinking about how he can help and what’s next on the list. I can’t thank him enough! How lucky I am. xo

– Tomorrow is a new day –

les :-)

 

Not Just Any Friday

Extreme Fitness Fundraiser for Tracy at The Dunfield Club

9 30 AM – On Friday morning Extreme Fitness hosted three separate classes (step, sculpt and spin) all in honour of Tracy. Tracy has been a group exercise teacher at their Dunfield Club location since 1994, back when it was a Sports Club. When I arrived at the Dunfield, I walked into the main entrance. As I approached the front desk to introduce myself to the receptionist, I could feel an energy in the building that sent a wave of emotion through my body. This was a place that Tracy frequented – to teach, to work out, to visit, to share, to motivate, to recharge…  I had been there with her as a guest several times. Those memories flooded my mind as I tearfully explained to the young girl at the front desk that I was Tracy’s sister. It would never be the same.

I had the privilege of addressing each class to say thank you and in each room I could feel a sense of warmth and compassion. I decided to take part in Shellie’s step class and part way into the class, Jacqueline from Extreme Fitness came into the class to say that one person had come to the club and presented a $5,000 cheque for Tracy! Words are not able to capture the awesome feelings of gratitude. It’s a morning I will never forget.

CTV News with Pauline Chan

CTV News Story about Tracy Dort-Kyne11 15 AM – Pauline Chan and her camera man interviewed me at The Dunfield Club and then they followed me over to Lyndhurst to speak with Tracy. She spent time chatting with Pauline about her spinal cord injury, how it happened,  and how she is coping. She talked about how through her own fitness, she had learned to set goals for herself and how that discipline was now helping her. They then followed her into physio and rehab to see what it’s like for a “day in the life” of Tracy. You can watch Pauline’s story about Tracy here.

News Talk 1010 with Mike Bullard

At 12 46 PM after a quick bite, Tracy borrowed Robert’s iPhone and went “live” on the radio with comedian and NewsTalk 1010 host Mike Bullard. Mike’s amazing producer Jordan Whelan was a regular participant in Tracy’s group fitness classes at the Dunfield, and he took the initiative to get Mike involved to help raise awareness for Tracy.  She did a great job in her radio début! You can listen to the Podcast of her interview here. More on Mike’s incredible fundraiser for Tracy later.

Meeting the “Man in Motion”

At 4pm we all had the enormous pleasure of having a private meeting with Rick Hansen. Rick is one of the most inspirational people you’ll ever meet and a hero to all Canadians.

Rick was in Toronto as part of his 12,000 kilometer cross-country 25th anniversary tour. He requested a one-on-one meeting for one hour with Tracy – she was the only one he was visiting on Friday. He came to Lyndhurst that day just to meet and chat with Tracy. The next day he was back at Lyndhurst for a medal event with the Mayor and full court press, but Friday was different. He is a down-to-earth gracious, warm man who makes everyone feel at ease. We brought the boys and Abby to meet him and took a couple of photos, along with the CTV cameras. We then all left the room so that Tracy and Rick could chat. And that they did, for over 45 minutes!

Debbie Butt, Rick’s Director of Communications, who is a vibrant, smart and caring woman spent time with us as we waited for Tracy’s convo to end. She shared stories and insights that we will carry with us as we move forward in our journey. Rick is lucky to have Debbie, and vice versa!

Tracy – Still Very Much a Medical Patient 

Friday was a long but rewarding day for Tracy. She moved forward with each appointment like a trooper. She would just ask me “What’s Next?” But at the end of the day, it was very clear that our Tracy is still a medical patient who is fragile and has broken bones with serious medical conditions. After Rick Hansen left, she needed to get into her bed to rest. The not-so-simple process of hoisting her out of the wheelchair and back to bed had to be done gently and slowly as she was having spasms and was in a lot of pain. The adrenaline of the day had clearly worn off.

Upcoming Fundraiser – Thursday November 10th

Mike Bullard fund raiser for Tracy Dort-KyneRobert was giddy with excitement when we learned that has favorite comic, Mike Bullard, had graciously decided to turn his November 10th show at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts into a fundraiser for Tracy’s Trust. $5 from every ticket sold will be donated to support the long-term care of Tracy’s spinal injuries. Mike is the host of Beyond the Mic on Toronto’s NEWSTALK 1010, Canada’s top radio talk station. We’re hoping that all of our Toronto friends will join us at Mike’s show.

Our plan is to bring Tracy to the show. It’ll be her first night out since the accident. Please  Click here for ticket info.

Thanks for reading! …say thanks to God next time you stub your toe!

Luv, Les xo

p.s. We just heard that Friday was also “Pyjama Day for Tracy” at Crestwood School. Thank you to all the boys and girls that raised an astonishing $2,000. We’re so very grateful.

Tracy Dort and son Christian

The Best 5 Minutes I’ve Ever Spent with Tracy

Lesley got an email yesterday from Tammy Comish, a friend of Tracy’s. Tammy had just visited The Lyndhurst Centre the same time as Tracy was visiting with her boys. We loved her note and thought we’d share it with you. Christian is the oldest of Tracy’s kids.

 

“I wanted to share a heart warming story that I watched take place between Christian and Tracy.

Christian kept turning on his iPad while he was visiting Tracy yesterday. Tracy was getting frustrated with him, repeatedly telling him to turn it off and talk to her. Then Christian started to play an iPad game with his nose! He wanted to see if it was possible to play the game without hands. He then asked Tracy to try it. Tracy was up for it. She played the game and killed 4 of the bad guys, beating Christians record of 3 bad guys. Christian had a HUGE smile on his face as he watched Tracy play his game!

It was the best 5 minutes, I have ever spent with Tracy. I wish you could have seen it. It makes you realize that there will be happy times to come.”[/box]

I hope you’ll share this post with others via FaceBook or Twitter. We’ve created a special Twitter account for Tracy and you can follow by just clicking on the FOLLOW ME link on the left side of this page. We’re calling her new Twitter handle ” TEAM_TRACY” as the care of Tracy and her kids truly is a team effort of family and friends.

Also, let us know how you felt after reading this post….we all love hearing your comments.