www.drworobec.com

Please let me introduce myself.  My name is Ashley Worobec, and I’m an Alberta transplant who now calls Burlington, Ontario, home.  I’m a chiropractor, and I’ve been in practice for more than a decade, with special interests in sports injuries and pediatrics.  I have an awesome husband and two great kids and THIS is me.

If you’ve been here for awhile (this blog is going on 5.5 years strong) then you probably already know me, and if you’re new, welcome and I’m glad you’ve come.  This blog, this website, this part-of-who-I-am, was initially established to act as a landing pad for my patients; a place where they could find my opinions, my voice, and what makes me tick.  It’s evolved into thousands of reads per month and a loyal, supportive place to share my thoughts and dreams, but more importantly, I hope it’s provided patients with a glimpse into who I am.

The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust, and it’s always been my theory that if you know me better, you’ll trust me better, and your treatment outcomes will be better.

So…..

design-a-questionnaire

I love my family: There are So Few Years…, Beauty. Babies. Bathrooms., Little Girls and Big Cities

I love to run: Make the Trade, Come with Me, Then the Wheels Came Off

I love my friends: Sarah happened, The World Needs More Girlfriends, 21.1kms of Friendship

I love health and fitness: We’re Creating their “Normal,” 5 x 800m, Burpees and Babies

I love my work: Tough Love, And your Back Pain is Going to Go Away, New Clinic Hours

That’s me in a nutshell.  If you think I’d be a good fit for your healthcare needs, you can find me at Burlington Sports & Spine Clinic, and if you’ve been wanting to share my information with your friends, this post is a good place to start.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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Roots and Wings.

I was thinking long and hard about what to write about this week, and the only thought that came into my brain was back-to-school. I tend to write about the happenings of my life, and the return to September, and now October, routines have been at the forefront lately, as I’m sure they have been for many of you.

This year was a bit different for us, as it was the first year of “nothing new.” We didn’t move, or switch schools, or have my work schedule change. The logistics of our life look essentially the same as they did last school year, so we knew what to expect from a timing perspective. My son entered grade three, and my daughter started into Senior Kindergarten. In Ontario, the Kindergarten program is two years long, and starts the year that a child turns four years of age. Back in 2014, the Provincial government rolled out full-day Kindergarten to replace half-day and alternate-day programs, so my daughter began full-time school last year, at age four. It was rocky.

Not having been a daycare kid (my husband and I have managed to work opposite hours so that one of us could always be home with our kids), she did two years in a three-mornings-per-week Preschool, to get her prepared for Kindergarten and used to the idea of being away from home, and most notably, away from me. Her and I have a special bond and she’s a mama’s girl through and through. Last year, all year long, even into June, she would be teary at school dropoff. “Mom, I don’t want to go to school, I just want to be home with you.” Oh, how she broke my heart.

We tried everything- special necklaces, “kissing hands,” pictures from home, notes in her backpack, meetings with the teachers. We were always told that her days at school were happy and settled, and she was always all smiles at pickup time; but more often than not, she would cry at dropoff. I would pull myself away from the school gate each morning and stand out of sight, watching her cry and wipe the fog from her little glasses, and I would cry too. I would walk back home alone and feel like a monster for the better part of the morning. “How was your day, sweetheart?” I would ask at pickup, “Great!” She would exclaim, oblivious to the torment that she’d put her mother through yet again. The daily text thread to my husband read something like this:

Me: Tears again. I’m dying. This is THE WORST.

Him: She’s okay hon, she’ll get through it.

Me: Why are we doing this to her? She’s only four! Four year-olds should be with their mamas. It’s nature!!!

Him: Her days are good, it’s just the first few minutes. She’ll be okay.

Me: I am the worst mother. My HEART IS BREAKING.  Sob…..

Okay, so I have a touch of drama up my sleeve. But honestly, watching your child cry while knowing that you can’t help them, is quite possibly the world’s worst feeling. If you’ve never been through this with your children, you may not understand what I’m talking about, and you probably don’t think this is quite the big deal I’m making it out to be. But when you’re in it, let me tell you that it’s a very big deal. I’m a bit of an attachment-parent, kind of on the hippie side of the scale- my kids regularly sleep in our bed, I nursed them both into toddlerhood, and I was a regular baby-wearer, so this child-away-from-me stage of life does not feel natural or normal to me. We have very carefully constructed our life to have me closer to our kids. This school-aged-transition was as hard on me as it was on her.

Fast forward to this year, and I was expecting more of the same from her. Through the Summer she spoke about how she was going to miss me when she started school and flashbacks of dropoff haunted me. And we have had more than a few tears over the past few weeks, but I’m happy to report, we’re on a streak of six consecutive cry-free dropoffs. She’s grown and matured, she’s gained independence, she’s built confidence, and I can see a different kid when I send her into the playground in the mornings. She wants to be there. The reluctance to let go of my hand is lessening, the quivering lip is all but gone, and the vulnerability of her foggy glasses has disappeared. Maybe she’s ready. Maybe I’m ready. I’m not sure how it happened, but we’ve turned the page, and my baby grew up.

roots and wings

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Predatory.

We had an intense Saturday and Sunday at the clinic this past weekend.  It was our second and final weekend of baseline concussion testing, and this meant two extra-long days at work.  My role as a clinician was to conduct station #1, medical history and memory testing; this meant I sat at a computer all day, asking question after question, a new athlete coming through every four to five minutes.

I asked those same questions 111 times over the two days, and to stay sharp and keep my restless legs at bay, I knew I needed to find time for fitness.  With early starts and late finishes, I got up early to put in some miles and bring some welcomed fatigue to my muscles.  I know myself, and I know that I function best if I’ve incorporated some sweat into my day, so out into the 6:00am pre-Autumn blackness I went on Saturday morning.

That’s where my story begins:

I was planning on a 10km run, 5km out-and-back, along my favourite North Shore stretch.  I figured I could catch the sunrise along the Lake Ontario shoreline on my way back home, throw some hills into the mix, and aim for a negative split to satisfy the competitor in me. The streets were quiet as I left my driveway, most of the city still asleep, just how I like it. Early morning is my favourite time of day, like a little portal into peacefulness that can only be accessed through the conviction of an alarm clock.  It’s my reward for getting up, my compensation for lost sleep, my high to start the day.  I ran down the middle of my road, reflective hat on, earbuds in, my only concern being neighbourhood skunks still foraging on sidewalk boulevards.

I ran along the lakefront promenade, the pitch black waters illuminated by the pier and the streetlights, one or two people out, getting an early start on their dog walks.  I felt safe.  In fact, I almost always feel safe running in Burlington; perhaps it’s naïveté, perhaps it’s luck, perhaps it’s because Halton consistently ranks as one of Canada’s safest municipalities.  But I’m not reckless or inattentive and I’m always aware of my surroundings.  I’m not naive enough to believe that dangers are not present for solo female runners, even nestled inside my little community cocoon.

So as I made the turn onto the deserted, shadowy North Shore Boulevard, my senses were heightened and I was aware of my vulnerability. I moved off the sidewalk and back into the middle of the road, away from the darkness and obscurity of front yard shrubbery and blackened driveways. I removed my earbuds so that my hearing wasn’t compromised, and I continued into the deserted dimness of my route. I saw a man ahead, probably 200m from me, staggering along the sidewalk on the South side of the road. He was a big guy, about as tall as my 6’2″ husband, and every few metres he’d jump into the air and swat at overhanging branches before stumbling onward. I pegged him as a University kid, wandering home in a drunken stupor, but my spidey senses tingled. I crossed the expanse of the road completely, running tucked along the wide curb on the North side of the street. He must’ve heard my footfalls, because he stopped, crouched, and pulled the hood of his black jacket tight over his face, tugging at the drawstrings so that only his eyes were visible. He watched intently as I ran by, from that crouched, hunter-like position, and I picked up my pace. I ran fast until I got several hundred metres down the road, frequently turning my head to check behind me, and as I wound along the familiar twists, turns, and hills, my heartrate settled and my pace began to slow.

At 5km I turned around, making my way back home along the road I’d just run, aware that this guy was likely still stumbling Westward. By now, the first taste of the sunrise was peaking through, and a few cars were beginning to pass by. I chose to head back the way I’d come, not feeling directly threatened, but slightly wary nonetheless.

This is the point of my story that many of you are probably wondering why I didn’t change my route and head home another way.  

Perhaps I should have. In fact, my husband later asked me that very question. But the truth is, I stayed my course, because I knew that this guy wasn’t actually harmful, at least not physically. He was trying to intimidate me, yes. He was being creepy and disturbing, trying to frighten me, trying to show his dominance in a tough-drunk-guy way. But I could see that he was wobbly and the road was wide, and I knew I’d win in a foot-race if it came to that. I also knew that this pathetic wannabe predator would be too scared to cause me any harm as daylight came upon us and people began to stir.

And yes, the same thing happened on my way back home. The same crouch, the same jacket hood pulled low, the same intense, fear-provoking stare. Predatory. That’s what my husband called it when I recounted the story to him at home, and he’s right. This jerk wasn’t trying to hurt me, but he was trying to scare me.  And if I’m being honest, he did.

The feminist in me is angry at the gender roles involved in this scenario- him, the larger, stronger male, and me, the smaller, weaker female.  Meanwhile, the runner in me is angry that he took my power, made me feel vulnerable, and made me question something that I love so much.  As a seventeen-year-old, I moved from a small town to a city to attend University, and I can remember my dad giving me a can of pepper spray.  It’s not until now, two decades later, that I wished I still had it….

dark_road_by_latyrx

 

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