I am very excited to introduce you to my new blog series called Fearless Femme. In my line of work I have the privilege of meeting and connecting with some wonderful, special and strong women, both mentally and physically.
Once per month I am going to showcase each of these special women and their amazing stories. All of us have a story to share, and some of these will inspire you, make you cry, make you jump for joy and make you proud to be a woman.
So without further ado, lets get started with my first guest and yoga ninja superstar Heidi Zoltak.
Firstly let me introduce Heidi and let me give you a little background to her inspiring story. I actually met Heidi on Instagram 2 years ago – we have never physically met, she is my virtual friend! I knew when we connected that we would stay friends because she is crazy crazy crazy and so damn funny, as well as being completely authentic. She also is an amazing yogi and has found peace and comfort in her practice while battling pain and injury that severely affected her quality of life.
Heidi was playing on a rope swing over a river with her family, when she slipped and fell into shallow water and badly injured her leg. The fall was serious, Heidi needed major surgery, but this had to be delayed when she contracted a bone infection. As she describes it herself, “The bacteria of the lake when my foot practically was torn off from the rope swing fall, got into my bones that were exposed. Its called osteomyelitis and it is deadly and almost always ends up in amputation. So I fought the infection for almost a year”.
The next few years were brutal for her as she had to give up her full-time employment, undergo many many surgeries and battle with chronic pain that was preventing her from doing basic activities with her family.
With very little choice left, and with a team of wonderful surgeons supporting her, Heidi decided to opt for an amputation of her leg to just below the knee. I can’t even begin to imagine the conversations Heidi had with herself, her family, weighing up the pro’s and con’s of living life as an amputee. She clearly couldn’t continue to life within her current limitations, or with the pain caused by her foot. Not wanting to become dependent on pain management, her will grew strong – coping with the pain, knowing that she had to improve her life, so the operation to amputate went ahead.
The rest of the story is nothing short of inspirational. After speaking to Heidi on the phone, sharing tears and laughter, understanding how much better her life is now, I feel so proud to know her and know that she is a huge inspirations to others. Check out this video her progress only a few months after the surgery.
What does being a Fearless Femme mean to you?
It means that though life has taken some major twists and turns, I’m taking it by the horns and driving. I am very rarely scared anymore. The unfathomable has happened and I’m doing just fine.
What motivates you on a daily basis?
Knowing I’ve been given a beautiful life and the gift to live it each day. Wanting to be better and do better and knowing I can now make some mini goals for myself, that’s exciting and motivating stuff.
What is a defining moment in your life that you will never forget and why?
The most defining moment was when I finally became at peace with knowing I am not my leg and its okay to let go of pieces of myself to provide growth to myself and to feel whole. And just yesterday, feeling like the first time that I am more than an amputee. I was a mommy, a wife, a parent volunteer at my sons swim meet and there were moments that I didn’t even think about my leg . Life is already getting better. I’m in my defining moment right now so its hard to answer it as a past tense.
What is the mantra that you live by?
“If its happening, it needs to.” I think that’s self explanatory. Lol.
[Tweet “Heidi Zoltak – #FearlessFemme Beautiful Lady – inspiring story “]
Which Fearless Femme do you admire most?
Probably my mom. She was a single mom and worked her butt off with two jobs working herself through college and earning herself a doctorate. She is an international ambassador for the United States Fellowship of Journalism through the US Embassy. She travels the world, making a difference in third world countries and helping to improve their communication through media platforms. She also volunteers through hospice, the food bank. She is a shining example of giving of herself by servicing others.
What piece of advise would you give others?
Believe in yourself. Don’t be content. Reach and grasp until you’ve given it all of yourself, and then take a new path if you still can’t succeed down the one you’re taking. We all have our struggles, so don’t ever catch yourself playing the victim. No one respects that. Its happening to you, so it needs to. Respond with pride and integrity. I always tell my kids, “take the best of me and make it better …and all that other stuff, leave behind”.[Tweet “Tell yourself “I can” at least once a day. And if life beats you down, embrace it, but then kick it in the ass. #FearlessFemme”]
Do you know a Fearless Femme that you would like to feature on this blog? Send me their details, tell me your inspiring story!