Dramatic Twist While Shooting a Documentary

Posted · 18 Comments

In late 2021, I began filming a documentary about a bunch of intriguing topics, including AGING. I was entering a new phase of life and wanted to create an empowering picture, particularly for women. So, I teamed up with an awesome producer and our ideas were overflowing. 

Before we started, I prayed that the film unfold in an inspiring way and that I gain a more ‘intimate relationship’ with my body. Well, be careful for what ya wish for! Shortly before we shot a significant segment in studio, I sensed some discomfort in part of my body that persisted as I continued to power through life, hoping it would just go away. 

It didn’t. Eventually the pain got so bad it was difficult to do very simple things – like walk my dog. Within weeks, I went from advanced yoga to struggling to touch my toes or tie my own shoes.

After a few months of limping around and now praying for a miracle, I finally succumbed to an MRI. I’m not yet ready to talk publicly about the diagnosis – all the details will be in the documentary, wink wink. Suffice to say, something happened to my body that I had associated with much older people. I thought I was falling apart before my time and it freaked me out!

There’s a common theme in the world of wellness and woowoo which I’ve subscribed to since childhood: Surgery should always be avoided and more often messes people up. 

When I was younger my mom didn’t take us to doctors when we got sick. We used food, herbs, homeopathy, vitamins, and bodywork to get better. Or we just ignored the inconveniences of the body and waited for things to resolve on their own. We rarely got sick, but when we did, our ‘natural’ approach to healing worked pretty well. But now I was told I needed major surgery!

So, for many months, I passionately pursued an alternative cure. I tried stem cells, fascia release, dynamic neuromuscular stabilization, chiropractic, meditation, visualization, countless supplements…and more prayer. Occasionally I’d get little relief, but nothing stopped the suffering and/or resolved the issue. 

Sure, there are many unnecessary surgeries performed on people that often make matters worse…AND there are times of course when surgery saves lives. I’m all for holistic healing, but sometimes bone broth, crystals, sage, and celery juice don’t cut it, and no amount of imagination is going to grow an arm. 

If I had not surrendered to surgery last October, my lifestyle (and body) would’ve been permanently compromised. Though it’s still early, I already feel FAR better than prior to the surgery and am deeply grateful there was a solution. 

Spending most of the past year in chronic pain was one of the toughest things I’ve ever experienced, yet truly transformational. The limitations of my body forced me to slow down (yet again), and reflect on what I truly value. Nothing like pain to bring more perspective! 

I’ve often considered emotional pain to be a close companion, yet physical pain was new for me. And so far, it’s been one of the greatest teachers in my life. 

Today, I have much more compassion for people who live with chronic pain. Basic bandwidth is so stretched when operating in a body that’s hurting. Rather than sweat the small stuff, I now truly appreciate the small things – like walking without wincing. I feel more compassionate toward myself as well. That ol’ inner-critic who’s messed with me most of my life is just less loud lately. Something has softened and sobered inside me. 

Since the diagnosis, the documentary was put on hold….again. This film has actually been in the works for a really long time. There have many gaps along the way, sometimes lasting years as I’ve tended to other responsibilities and career callings. Truth is, I’ve been petrified to put this story out there because it’s so deeply personal. But after a year of reflection on what matters most to me now, this film really wants to be born!

All last year, I felt more private than usual and stayed off social media for the most part. I knew I’d re-emerge into the world when I was inspired to do so. After a much-needed retreat, I feel freer, clearer, and more confident. Sometimes you gotta go off-line to come back online!

This year, I plan to focus more on projects, pastimes, and people that inspire me – and get back to work on that darn documentary! I also plan to prioritize fitness, something I wasn’t able to do for an entire year. One way to get motivated to exercise: try being in a body that requires a walker and you’ll likely run to reunite with your gym buddy when the time comes! 

In the end, what I initially thought would be a terrible trauma turned out to be something that helped me heal more than just my body. Life literally stopped me in my tracks and proceeded to recalibrate me in profound ways that I’m still processing. The body is a miraculous living machine made of many parts, all interconnected. The profound healing I’m experiencing not long after surgery gives me renewed HOPE for many things. Sometimes parts need to fall apart to come back together again.

Wishing everyone a rejuvenating New Year that delivers a positive reset and rebirth!

Please share what your body has taught you, whether through pain or even pleasure? I love hearing from you! 



18 Responses to "Dramatic Twist While Shooting a Documentary"
  1. Sarah Taylor says:

    What a beautiful share. I am so glad you’re feeling on track and are healing with hope. And I can’t wait to watch that documentary! Sending you and your family much love at this holiday season! xo

    • adele says:

      Thank you so much Chip ? I’ll be sure to let you know when the documentary is FINALLY finished 😉 Love to you and happy new year!

  2. Linda Lovett says:

    Adele, I hope you work this out, whatever it is. Long ago, living in Bermuda and having less access to all kinds of treatment, I haven’t taken myself that seriously. I’m sure I’ll pay the price for this attitude, like recently, I’ve had a problem and there’s no one to go to. The surgeon is booked until January 17, and I’ve been waiting for about 6 weeks already. It’s good that you haven’t run to doctors for every little thing, but really good that you got advice in the end. You’re so healthy, I feel like you’ll be okay. Lyn

    • adele says:

      Appreciate the kind encouraging words Linda! And I hope whatever you’re dealing gets resolved quickly and with ease. I guess there is a downside of living in beautiful Bermuda after all 😉

  3. Cece Gannon says:

    Adele, What a moving and poignant piece of writing, thanks so much for sharing it with us. Life unfolds in very interesting ways and challenges are certainly not left out. Take good care now and embrace all that is meaningful. Huge Hugs to you, Cece

  4. Carla Lawless says:

    Wow! I struggled the past 3 yrs and in 2022 it was almost unbearable. I was diagnosed with huge fibroids and had a full hysterectomy at the advice from my OBGYN. Since the surgery I no longer suffer with the abdominal discomforts but now the issue is my back and sciatic nerve. I was also raised using a lot of natural homeopathic herbs. I appreciate both the medical and natural. I’m still trying to figure out what feeling normal feels like.

    I appreciate your courage and willingness to share. Love you!

    • adele says:

      Oh Carla, I’m so sorry to hear all this ? Wow. Wish I could give you a huge hug. I pray the pain subsides for you soon and completely. Sometimes it sure takes a while to figure out these mysteries of the body…but I believe you will get to the other side with feel free again my friend. Miss you and love you! ❤️

  5. Lisa says:

    I’m so happy you are on the road to recovery. I totally understand. The past 2 years have been insane and not in a great way. I’ve missed you.

  6. Schafer Sharon says:

    Hey Deli so glad you are on the mend. Take care

  7. Audrey Baram says:

    Hey ! Sounds like my adventure! Did all the options but then finally opted for surgery. I’m bionic now… Thank universe for ceramic hip replacements! I’m grateful for this technology. Can you imagine what would be if we had lost our mobility?! I’m sure we’d find ways to work around it but ….you know .
    I’ll never forget the first pain free foot prints I walked in the sand. I took a pic to remember.
    I still see some of my “cane” friends that I made hobbling round before and after surgery. We would give eachother high fives in passing cane to cane. I feel so lucky to be cane free!

    Here’s to your continued joy of putting one foot in front of the other! It’s Soo grand!

    • adele says:

      Aww that’s awesome Audrey! I love that you took a pic of your first pain free foot prints. Here’s to many more my friend!! ❤️

  8. Jane Armour says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Adele. I have had three back surgeries, which ended with a spinal fusion. I have struggled with chronic pain for years and I try not to beat myself up on a regular basis for being “weak” or some kind of failure. I look toward to your documentary!

    • adele says:

      Please don’t beat yourself up Jane. Anyone who has had 3 back surgeries is a WARRIOR, not weak. You’ve been through a lot and should be proud of yourself and gentle along the journey. Big hugs ❤️

  9. Margaret Dear says:

    So very sorry about the health issues! However, you seem to be dealing with it with such courage, grace and optimism there is no doubt you will recover even better than before! Best thoughts and kindest regards…

    • adele says:

      Thank you Margaret! I feel better and stronger than I have in a while. Hope you are doing well and wish you a happy 2023! x

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