Getting Past the Can’t

By Alissa McFall (Guest Blogger)
Pic 1 ACL

Winter 2015-2016 was going to be my season.  I was fully recovered from a skiing injury that occurred in March of 2014 (fractured tibia plateau and torn ACL) and ready to hit the slopes again. I purchased a season pass to Mammoth and rearranged my work schedule so that when winter came, I was ready.  It was a mental game now; game on!

Or so I thought….

Some background – In January of 2015, I dove into starting a speech and language therapy pediatric business with an amazing partner in Los Angeles. Our hearts were in the right place, but it was a year of hellacious lessons, compromising, and putting life on hold. By the end of the third quarter of 2015, we were getting a solid pace and 2016 was looking good.


Life changed. For family reasons, my business partner told me at the end of October that she needed to move back home to North Carolina and terminate her position. For me, creating a business was like getting married. I viewed our S-Corporation as a forever kind of a thing and by no fault to anyone, we were going through a business divorce. I was crushed. I went through the 5 Kübler-Ros stages of grieving… a few times.

Ugh, ski season couldn’t come fast enough.

I needed a way to clear my head (actually, I needed an escape).  Five days prior to my business partner moving, we decided to go to our last pub run together. After a mile, Dex (my dog) and I started the fun part of the run and began to sprint. Another dog spooked us both on the trail and with one slight bump I lost my step and crashed, crap!

I went high and fell hard.  I was admitted to the hospital and needed surgery to fix a compound clavicle fracture and repair all of my severed shoulder tendons.


Pic 2 ClaviclePost-surgery I was given pages of information regarding all of the things I now can’t do. Examples include: being near my dog (yes, that was actually on my doctor’s note), working with children, public places, physical therapy, showering, hugs, and the obvious ones like skiing, running, hiking, backpacking, and snow activities were just out of the question.

Basically, he told me to live in a bubble for six months. I grudgingly acquiesced to his recommendations, however, mentally and emotionally I just shut down.  

One month post-surgery, a dear friend of mine shared the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic. This was what I needed to slap me back to reality. When people say that music changed them, I can now wholeheartedly relate to that. I realized after listening to this song on repeat  that my temporary list of things that I can’t do is clouding my vision of seeing this as an opportunity to make a new list of the things that I can do. Right now, I have nothing but time.

We all have a story and we all have seasons that are just fiendish. We can’t always change the seasons, but we can impact how those seasons change us. The good news is that like all seasons, these times too will pass. The unfortunate part is that we still have to go through them and there will be moments where things truly do just royally suck. My hope in writing this all down is that my journey may pay it forward and help you with your journey.  With that said, here are some highlights that are helping me go less crazy thus far:

1. Research – Turns out, I really don’t want to live in Los Angeles anymore, the 405 just isn’t for me. I decided the best place for me professionally and personally, is in Sacramento, therefore, I will be moving to the grid. I now spend countless hours researching and mapping out (literally) things in the area. All information and advice is welcome! =)

2. Simple Fitness Daily Goals – Obviously, for safety reasons, there are things I can’t do until I am cleared, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. With help, I have created simple things to keep me going that include: wall squat holds when I brush my teeth, abs when I drink my morning tea, stationary bike when I drink wine, listen to podcasts, and/or catch up on Downton Abbey (I am a few seasons behind), exercise circuits before I get dressed for bed and shoulder exercises from my doctor before or after every meal.


3. Professional Development – I am dedicating time to enhance my areas of expertise as a SLP. I signed up for continuing education courses to build on my skill set. If this interests you, checkout three awesome organizations I am currently learning more about.

4. Brain Activity – To keep me organized, focused, and to avoid going nuts… I have created Five goals to do daily Monday-Friday. What can I say – I am a task-oriented kind of person.

  • A Riddle a Day – There is an app for that!
  • Learn one thing new about Sacramento – GOTG is helping a lot with this one. (Today I learned about the top places to go dancing when I am cleared by my doctor – Badlands and Press Club are on the list).
  • Puzzling – Yup, I am now sold on true jigsaw puzzles.
  • Read for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Ask 10 questions – This one is my favorite as it has helped me branch out and listen to such wonderful information and stories.

Now that I have a solid direction, I am following the advice from Will Rogers, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there” with the full realization that I may fall flat on my face (or shoulder) in the process.


You might also like


  1. Sandra Kamrath says

    Excellent article, Alissa! I’m certain it will help others overcome their challenges as you are with incredible dedication and unfailing spirit! Tons of love from the UK and of course TX too!,

  2. Amanda Furden says

    This is what we call pure motivation girl. #killingit

  3. Meredith Biggs says

    You are so amazing! Love and miss you lots friend!

  4. Rosanne Rains says

    Allisa: I share some of your feelings. I fell with both hands in my pockets and crushed one elbow and bruised the other. The Dr. told me I would probably not get 70 to 80% of my arm back. I was determined to get it all back and did. I used physical therapy, chiropractic, hot wax and lots of prayers. You will do well with positive thinking and a great and helpful father. I tore my right rotator cuff while teaching my son to ice skate too. If you need any help let me know.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.