My kid sister

I got a phone call last night.  Around 5:30, maybe.  It was my little sis.  She and I have two extremely different lives.  Different from each other, and hers is also the opposite of what I would expect considering who she was in high school.

Rachel is 26.  A little background.  Rachel has very very rarely not had a man in her life.  This dates as far back as her sophomore year of high school when she started dating a boy in my class.  We were seniors.  At the time she was very much a cool kid.  She wore American Eagle and Abercrombie exclusively.  My mom was not interested in spending that kind of money on stuff, so instead of the many presents my brothers and I received (clothing from JCPenney or something), she would get 2 sweaters because they cost so much more! 

Now she is working with adults with disabilities.  She lives with her 38 year old divorced with two kids boyfriend (this is NOT a bad thing, just trying to give you an idea of the person she is now) in the country.  It is nearly 45 minutes outside of where my mom’s house is.  They have a ton of land (part of which is leased to a soybean farmer!), barns, tractors, a HUGE veggie garden (I am extremely jealous of that, I admit it!), and they BURN THEIR GARBAGE because garbage men don’t go there!  I used to tease her about that, saying, “do you even have running water out there?” And apparently it was not too long ago that one of their neighbors (a half mile away!) had it put in!

A year ago, almost exactly, Rachel and Chris were camping with friends and 4-wheeling.  Rachel and Chris were riding on the same car, and had a terrible accident.  Now they were in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania, and were NOT drinking.  Rachel wound up falling 20 feet over a cliff and landing on rocks below.  She shattered 2 vertebrae (no joke, they were completely gone in the x-ray!), cracked another, which was touching her spinal cord but did not sever it, and shattered a few bones in her ankle. 

She had to be life flighted to a hospital and then transferred again to the ICU at the University of Pittsburgh for her MAJOR surgeries.  She was in the ICU for a week.  She did not (luckily) have permanent damage that would result in any kind of paralysis or anything.  Apparently the hospital at UP is one of the best there is for neuro (according to my friend who is a neurologist) so she was in the right place.  She had three surgeries in that week, and then had to rent a wheelchair for 3 months.


The day of the accident, with my mom.


A few days later – with her “Patch Adams” bear (that’s what I call him) from me.  He’s a Vermont Teddy Bear.


Right after arriving back home in Ohio a week after the accident.


Two weeks after the accident Rachel was in her long time best friends wedding.  That was a rough day.  The photographer was a complete jerk.  He got mad at her when her partner had to support her during a few of the pictures.  “It’s just a broken ankle” and then the entire wedding party chimes in, “AND A BROKEN SPINE!”  Yeah, he shut up after that.


And here she is recently with my dad on our Uncle’s boat in Lake Mead.  No more brace, no more crutches.

Sorry if you have heard this story before!  But I think to get to the point of the conversation that we had, that background must be given!

We are now a year removed, and she is walking and no longer wears a brace (on her back OR her ankle).  However, she really wants to be getting healthier.  Lose some weight (10-15 lbs only) eat better, etc.  Eating better is fairly easy for her.  They eat pretty well anyway.  She might be shy on protein and high on carbs, but they eat TONS of fruits and veggies.  And usually they are grown in their backyard!  So that is awesome.

The problem is that her ankle is still bad, and it was bad before the accident.  Rachel was also born with clubbed feet, so she has zero muscle in her calves/ankles/feet.  She could not even develop it if she trust (trust me, she has!) so she is having a tough time finding exercise that she can do without pain.  Her back still gets sore relatively quickly, of course, and even when driving for more than 40 minutes or so, she has to stop and get out to stretch and stuff.  So working out has been a struggle ever since the accident.

So yesterday she calls and starts the conversation like this, “I needed to talk to my Fitness Fanatic sister.”  Of course, I smile and actually feel a little bit proud of this description.  So yesterday Rachel wen with her man to the gym and joined!  Smile  She also gets 3 sessions with a trainer for free to learn the equipment, etc.  She requested something specific though.  She explained to him her situation and limitations, so their goal is to teach a lot of general exercises with machines and dumbbells.  Also to teach her a lot of core exercise (mostly stability) to help strengthen her core, and in turn her back!  And they are going to explore cardio to try and find something that works for her ankle and her back!  Smile  I am so proud of her.

She also started asking me about protein shakes.  Chris apparently always gets one when he leaves the gym, so she was asking about the calories, etc.  We had a long talk about whey protein powder and the ingredients and how many calories, etc, and I gave her the information that I have.  I told her what I do, and my opinions.  The conclusion that we came to together was that, she needs more information.  She has no idea if it was just protein powder and water, or if they put fruit, fruit juice, yogurt, etc into it.  I told her that there was absolutely nothing wrong with having a protein shake or protein smoothie even if she takes it into account when she is tracking her food.  Its not a free food, but if you consider it when planning your other meals and realize that you might have somewhere between 120 (whey + water) and 400 (some sort of smoothie king protein concoction) calories that you are ingesting, there is nothing wrong with it! 

It was a great conversation to have with my little sis, as she is a great gal, and I love her and want the best for her.  Plus it means so much to me that she respects my opinion on this stuff!

I can’t wait to have her as part of MY wedding party!


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