How to Grow Thicker Skin

It will happen. At some point in your athletic career you will get crushed (figuratively) whether it be by an injury, work situation, relationship, illness, etc. It’s life. And that you can’t control. What you can control is how you react to, process, and come back from the disappointments.


The last several weeks have tested me physically and mentally. About a year ago I struggled with some sharp neck pain that radiated down my right arm. After a cortisone shot we got it to settle down. The pain would come and go  over the last year but nothing I couldn’t handle with great PT help from Dave Herzberg at Endurance Rehab. We have worked on strength, posture, spinal mobility and core stability / strength.

A couple months ago the pain returned much sharper. Now it has become pretty intense. We believe it stems around nerve entrapments and myofascial abnormalities as well as a small disc bulge. The last 12 months has been a roller coaster of health scares and setbacks but I really have only one choice and that is to look forward and stay positive. October brought a neurological virus which lead to migraines and auto-immune issues and in April I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms. I could have easily thrown in the towel but that is not who I am. My Dad frequently reminded me that “Van Driel’s are fighter’s”. I am back running and cycling, and there is no way I would be doing that without keeping a positive attitude and without the encouragement of all my friends.

Growing up I was always told when things got difficult, “put your big girl pants on.”  Something I still get told today.  The moral of the story is that despite the shit you are dealing with, your attitude is what will determine the success of your comeback. You can decide to give up and give in or you can take that anger and frustration to push the envelope and prove to others your courage and strength. I’ll choose option 2, but that’s just me. 😉

So moving forward I will take the frustration and use that energy to do what I can and try my hardest to overcome this neck issue to the best of my ability. I am so grateful for the team of Dave Herzberg at Endurance Rehab and Dr. Randall Porter at Barrows Neurological Institute. Rest assured that we will all do our best to get through this and so therefore I can move forward in accomplishing big goals in the near future.

(PS… I had to use a cartoon snake pic because as some of you know I am deathly afraid of snakes) … get it , thicker skin…snake 😉


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