Charmaine Scherck with her fiancee, Jason. Friends of the Vernon mortgage broker have started a GoFundMe after a spinal cord stroke left her paralyzed from the chest down Sept. 17, 2020. (Contributed)

Charmaine Scherck with her fiancee, Jason. Friends of the Vernon mortgage broker have started a GoFundMe after a spinal cord stroke left her paralyzed from the chest down Sept. 17, 2020. (Contributed)

BOOMER TALK: Positively Resilient

It is Eckhart Tolle who encourages us to ‘live in the now’. Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher whose ideas are profoundly simple. His ideas make sense when you read about them, but can be very challenging to apply. Not everyone can consistently apply these beliefs, but if they could, they may be able to positively deal with a major health change as Charmaine Scherck has done.

Charmaine is a young woman mid-way through her life who works as a mortgage broker. She and fiancé Jason share a happy life together with their dog, Angel. As a businesswoman and yoga instructor, Charmaine is naturally very upbeat and has given back to her community in many ways. Her donation of time and money has made a difference in many lives.

Charmaine is an example of how life as we know it can change in a millisecond. One morning she got up and was preparing for work, when within seconds, was in excruciating pain in her chest and back and as she explained, “I had weird feelings in my feet and legs as well, they were sort of tingly”.

Jason took her to the hospital immediately. By the time she arrived at VJH, she could no longer walk having lost all feeling from the chest down. After she spent a day in the ICU in Vernon Jubilee Hospital, she was taken by ambulance to the ICU at the Kelowna General Hospital.

She spent seven weeks in the hospital, underwent a myriad of tests and was told she had a spinal stroke, making her one per cent of the population who experience this.

Charmaine automatically looks for and invariably finds the up-side in all situations. She is so practised at staying in the present moment, that she didn’t project into the future with negative thoughts.

A lot of us would be devastated and get stuck in a negative energy cycle, with the ‘Why Me’s’ coming to the forefront. Of course, it also depends on a lot of other life factors as well. Charmaine’s children are adults, her career has allowed some financial security and her family is very supportive. She also has wonderful friends, who rallied around her with healthy food, a GoFundMe so that she can deal with changes in her home to make mobility easier and to lessen financial pressure allowing her energy to be focused on recovery.

Charmaine threw herself into rehabilitation exercises with all the energy she could muster, using her sense of humour at every opportunity. She focused on being able to walk again, despite being told it may not be possible, and before the seven weeks ended, she was walking, albeit cautiously, with crutches.

A Physio in Kelowna said, “You are obviously still pushing hard and making extraordinary gains. I am so excited to see you doing so well. Your spirit and enthusiasm were a great help to so many. Good luck in the future. Keep beating all the odds, and everyone’s expectations. You are an amazing person.”

Charmaine’s amazingly positive attitude spilled over onto everyone who worked with her and who were lucky enough to be her roommate as well.

Her fiancé, Jason took on another role and became her personal nurse, helping her at the hospital with bathing and other personal needs. He posted on Facebook “It’s been very humbling watching Charmaine work relentlessly and keep her spirits up never complaining about a single thing ever. Just working to get mobility being able to do the simple things on her own. She never stops, never quits and I appreciate that. It helps me learn and remember that we are never just guaranteed our health and or our freedom. Sometimes if it takes a bad or unforeseen turn you have to work to get it back on track. You have to earn it.”

Charmaine shared with friends on Facebook, “I ordered my new wheelchair and decided on a beautiful fuchsia pink. Figured I would spread some joy and people will see me coming a mile away! Who knew shopping for a wheelchair is like shopping for a car.”

I wanted to tell Charmaine’s story (albeit briefly) so that if you are reading this and are feeling a bit glum, between COVID-19 and the fact that our Christmas may be a bit different this year, perhaps you can own a bit of Charmaine’s positive resiliency.

I will end by giving the last word to Charmaine. I hope it inspires you and helps you to move forward in your life.

“Life is a gift, every moment a gift. It is up to us to embrace life and trust our journey. Life teaches you to listen more to that inner wisdom we all hold. It’s in the silence that our hearts can truly speak”.

Carole Fawcett is a writer, editor.

READ MORE: Funds raised for Vernon woman who awoke mysteriously paralyzed



Carole Fawcett, Boomer Talk columnist

Carole Fawcett, Boomer Talk columnist