How a small stumble inspired a big change

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By Amanda Jo Greep, ahchealthenews.com

Five years ago, Dr. Monique Jones was walking in the woods with her husband when she tripped and stumbled slightly. She lost her balance for just a moment, and thinking nothing of it, continued on her way.

“Later that evening, my back felt a little off, but I brushed it off. We were going out, so I opted out of high heels, figuring that was playing it safe enough,” says Dr. Jones. “By that night, however, I was in such bad pain that I couldn’t sleep. I remember trying to go to the kitchen, and it took me nearly 45 minutes to make it across the house. The next thing I remember is waking up on the floor, hearing my daughter talking to the 911 dispatcher.”

Eventually, Dr. Jones, an obstetrician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill., went to the ER. The diagnosis: a muscle spasm so strong and continuous that it locked up all the muscles in her lower back and legs, making it impossible for her to move or walk.

Fortunately, medication and follow-up visits with the hospital’s pain clinic got her back on her feet. The experience also shifted her perspective on life.

“I thank God every day for that small stumble,” says Dr. Jones. “I’ve always taken my good health for granted; now I am grateful for every minute that I am up and moving.”

This weekend, Dr. Jones will run the Chicago Marathon with Team Advocate.

“After my stumble, I signed up for the Avon walk with a couple of friends. It turns out I walk really fast, so I figured I’d try running,” laughs Dr. Jones. “I ran a little in high school, but hadn’t gone for a jog in years, so I started with a Couch to 5k program and have advanced from there.”

Dr. Jones did a number of small races here and there, but upped the ante for her 50th birthday, when she successfully completed her first half marathon. A couple of months later, she ran the 2015 Chicago Marathon for the first time.

This year, Dr. Jones started her training late in the season. She’s running one to two times a week, squeezing runs into her busy personal and professional schedule when she can.

“The scare of what my life could be like if I hadn’t gotten better inspires me to be active, no matter how busy I feel,” says Dr. Jones. “I’m thankful for every mile.”

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