ExoSym 4-year Anniversary: A Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Beth,

I write to you from four years in the future. I know you’ve been through several unsuccessful ankle surgeries and years of treatments, even reaching the point of contemplating amputation – hang in there, hope is coming.

You don’t know this now, but your life is going to change. You’re going to go from hobbling to running, jumping, and most importantly, for the first time in over two years, you’re going to feel what it’s like to not live in debilitating pain. The soccer injury that changed it all will no longer own your life. You’re going to meet the most amazing team of people at the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, WA and they will change your life forever with a device called the ExoSym – there will be no words to thank them enough.

Day 1

Ryan & Koreen (before Gig Harbor facility was built)

Upon returning home, you will begin setting goals for yourself – feeling determined, inspired and charged for life. People around you are going to be so happy to see your progress and many won’t believe the transformation. Getting back to an active lifestyle will be an amazing feeling and you’ll feel so grateful just to be able to stand, walk and sleep without pain. There will be ups and downs, and learning curves along this journey, but you will keep pushing through.

Pure joy

As you progress with your ExoSym, you’ll begin running in races again and along the way find the person you once were. The device will become a part of you and you with it. You’ll named it Old Faithful for its durability and dedication to get you to places and milestones you couldn’t reach without it. You and Old Faithful will move to three different cities, enjoying life and trying a bunch of new things from Camp Gladiator to CrossFit to adventure racing, distance cycling, running and more. You will become really strong and fit – nothing will hold you back. People will underestimate you and that’s okay because you’ll prove them wrong. ☺ You will push yourself really hard and at times Ryan and Jared will tell you to slow it down. Listen to their advice. You’re going to feel super pumped about life, but remember to put the breaks on sometimes. The ExoSym will make you feel invincible, but you’ll have to remind yourself from time to time to chill and take more rest days. Remember life’s a marathon, not a sprint.

CrossFit competition

Jared (PT)

You’re going to start a blog to help other patients and along the way, you’re going to meet the most amazing community of people – Team ExoSym. You’ll travel to meet other ExoSym buddies and even do races with them! You will get a second ExoSym to help you get around when Old Faithful needs to be mailed back for adjustments and also to alternate devices for equal wear, and you’ll name it The Jaguar. Together, with your pals Old Faithful and The Jag, you will conquer whatever comes your way. You’ll travel the US competing in events and hiking mountains, pushing yourself further than you can imagine – it will bring you to tears with your heart so full of gratitude for how much the ExoSym has changed your life. ♥ You’ll go through a lot of running shoes and socks, but in time you’ll learn how to make them last longer. You’ll get asked “What happened to your leg?” more times than you can count, and sometimes you’ll wish you didn’t have to explain, but you’ll figure how to deal with this. Challenges will be a constant in your life and things will happen to you that you can’t plan for, unexpected ups and downs, but you’ll learn to take it as it comes.

Hiking mountains

About three years into it, you’ll get into a major car accident, and your life will once again change forever. You’ll go through months of therapy and many dark days, finding the road back to normal, but Team ExoSym will be by your side to support. Many months later you’ll work yourself back to running a half-marathon again and return to Gig Harbor to run it alongside your ExoSym family. You’ll continue to face some setbacks along this recovery, and have to take a step back from priorities, but you’ll never give up.

#nevergiveup #hangerclinic

When you look back over these last four years you’ll see how God brought you closer to him through your injuries and how much your faith has grown. The staff at the Hanger Clinic will become like family and every time you head back it will feel like returning home. As you reflect on this four year ExoSym journey, you’ll remember how Ryan always said to “trust the process” and to take it “one step at a time” and you’ll thank him because in these last four years that advice has rung true.

Thanks Ryan

So, as you take this journey to Gig Harbor to try the ExoSym, never forget that God is always with you. Believe and trust that this is the next step. I am here to tell you that you are stronger than you know. The ExoSym will change your life.

Good luck,

Beth

13 thoughts on “ExoSym 4-year Anniversary: A Letter to My Younger Self

  1. Beth,
    I few weeks ago I asked you about the knee attachments that I was contemplating. You had 3 or 4 people email me to tell me of their experiences. The information was invaluable. I went to see Ryan again and he fitted me with the knee attachments. The knee pain is gone and I am progressing rapidly.

    I can’t begin to tell you how much of an inspiration you are to me.
    Thank you so much.

    Doug Bain
    Bain Insurance
    503-363-7406
    baindr@hotmail.com

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doug, so glad to hear your knee is feeling better! Thank you for reaching out to share this. Your words mean a lot to me – I appreciate it.

      Keep going strong my friend. #nevergiveup

      Your ExoSym bud always,
      Beth

      Like

  2. Thank you BETH. I found The Hangar Clinic literally praying, asking God for answers to an 18+ year injury and I think ? 18 surgeries. I just stopped counting.
    You are such an inspiration and I love reading your blog. I got my Exosym this past July. Since then I have had to have one more surgery and am just coming out of the post op period. Ready to start back training. I was thrilled last weekend to do my first hike with our 4 daughters, their hubbies and 6 grandbabies. We hiked to a waterfall in Blueridge, Ga. We started this tradition when they were young going to the mountains. This was the first time I did not have to hang back at cottage due to pain since 2000. I think i shocked them all.
    I cannot begin to thank Ryan, Jared and the angels who work behind the scene with them enough. My orthos in Atlanta are amazed. I am weaning off pain meds , along with phsych meds for aniexty and depression. It is tough, but I have so much to catch up on.
    I am much , much older, so I cannot Lolly gag. ( 41 when I broke my leg and ankle).
    We serve such an awesome God, who in his time makes all things new.
    Hopefully , one day soon we will have a chance to meet. You are so gifted, beautiful and so disciplined. Keep the faith and stay strong for God is using you to encourage so many people like me. Thank you again.
    Ann Morgan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ann,

      What a beautiful note. Thank you so much for reaching out to share this with me. Really touched my heart to read this. ❤️ So glad to hear you have made such great progress in your device. What a blessing. I hope we can meet in person one day as well. Keep the faith my friend. And thank you again for your kind words. ❤️

      Your ExoSym bud,
      Beth

      Like

    • Jan! I miss you, hope all is well and that we can meet up again in person one day. You and your husband are special people. Hope y’all are still out adventuring & loving life!

      Your ExoSym bud always,
      Beth

      Like

  3. Hello Beth!
    Nice story, and because you have always share it, more people with lower limb problems come back to life thanks to the Exosym.
    I got my Exosym just 3 weeks ago, came to Gig Harbor all the way from Spain, and I am already walking as fast as before my serious type 3 pilon fracture… zero pain!… there are no words to describe how happy I feel.
    Ryan, you, and the rest of the team are amazing. You are angels.
    Daniel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daniel, thanks so much for reaching out! Welcome to Team ExoSym 🙂 So glad to hear you are doing well in your device. I’m so happy for you and this new start. ❤️

      Take care over there in Spain & stay in touch.

      Your ExoSym pal,
      Beth

      Like

  4. I’ve appreciated your enthusiasm and perspective since I began contemplating getting an exosym. Your blog is like a menu of things you can do with the device. I’ve only just gotten mine, but I’m already looking forward to hiking, biking, and gee, maybe running (something I’ve never been able to do).

    I do have a practical question. I’m slowly returning to cycling, something I did a lot of before my ankle failed me. I have one question: what do you do about shoes? I notice you wear cycling shoes. Do you have any advice?

    Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • hey jcasey, thanks so much for reaching out! i’m glad to hear the blog has been helpful for you. 🙂 and super exciting to hear that you are starting out with your exosym. welcome to the team! i do wear cycling shoes for cycling, but i definitely would recommend starting without clip in shoes/pedals to begin with. once you get used to riding in the exosym with regular shoes, you can progress to clip ins but i would say start without them first. i wear a bigger shoe for the exosym so i did have to purchase another pair, but that is exosym life. 😉 when clipping out you definitely want to make sure to clip out of the non exosym side first since you have more control on that side to put your foot down. i’ve fallen several times learning this so know it can def take some practice but it does make a world of difference to clip in when going long distances. happy to help if you have any other questions! you can reach me at shaver.beth@gmail.com

      your exosym bud,
      beth

      Like

  5. Thanks for your story, dear Beth,
    it looks like a good idea and a meaningful exercise to write to your younger self and to integrate your past, the struggles and also the beautiful things that were on your road.
    Thanks for your inspiration,
    love,
    Nicky xx

    Liked by 1 person

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