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St Moritz

9:34pm January 18th I got the phone call we all dread… It was my stepmom Tammy calling me to let me know my Dad was in the hospital and they think he has a blockage in his heart… I was trying to retain all of the information she was giving me, but my mind started to spin out of control… Blockage? What does that mean? Surgery? What kind?? Repairs may be necessary depending on the damage… What damage?? I’m sure she repeated herself a few times in our conversation, but Tam has a way of being overly positive and when we got off the phone I was feeling pretty rational… for about 1 minute… When I called my boyfriend on Skype I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth without completely breaking down. Repeating the words “blockage” “heart” “damage” I panicked and couldn’t help but fear the worst. My Dad is a stubborn, tough Cowboy. He has broken pretty well every bone in his body a couple of times… Not exaggerating… 1 ankle 2x’s, 1 ankle 3x’s, 1 femur, 2 dislocated knee caps, 1 dislocated shoulder, 1 broken shoulder blade, 1 broken collar bone a couple of concussions and I shouldn’t forget about splitting his pelvis TWICE!!! So to think about his heart being broken how bad did it get before he caved and got help? It was an entire week… He thought it was his shoulder that was causing the pain and it took a week and for him to have symptoms that weren’t related to just general aches & pains and Tammy demanded that he get checked out. When they got to the Rimbey Hospital all of the standard tests were taken and nothing was jumping out at the nurses. Right before they were about to send him home, Tam mentioned that there is heart disease on both sides of Dad’s family, with my Grandad having his 1st heart attack at age 35. It struck a cord with the nurse and she did a couple more tests. Finding his enzymes elevated all they could do was predict there is a blockage and Dad would be admitted and pumped full of pain killers and wait to be transferred to Edmonton hospital to undergo an angiogram to find out what is going on inside his heart.

I was over the top worried even with my teammates and friends reassuring me it’s a procedure that done everyday, the technology has come so far in the last decade he’ll be in and out. That was making me settle down a bit, but we still didn’t know what happening inside so the waiting game continued. I felt so guilty sitting alone in a hotel room half way across the world, when my family was going through a scary time. Tam was reassuring me I didn’t have to come and even told me to have fun and enjoy my race. GUILT… I know my family didn’t want me to feel this way and I know my Dad even begged Tam to not tell me because he wanted me to stay focused, but I would have been enraged if I didn’t know, not one race in the world is more important than my family. I started questioning what am I doing with my life? What if something goes terribly wrong and I’m tobogganing… I’d never forgive myself for the selfish life I live.

Needless to say I pretty well played myself out before our race in St. Moritz. Training was going the best I have every trained. Having split times that were in the top 6 against the men. When we showed up to the track at 730am Friday the snow started to come down. That’s what this year has been like; it wouldn’t feel like a race if the snow weren’t coming down. After having a snow filled groove and a run full of snowdrifts I was sitting in 16th after the 1st run. A personal worst (PW) for my career. Tyson our physio who has been a great addition to our team with his ambition and enthusiasm walked over to where I was set up in the start house and said “Remember Canada was down 6-1 and came back 6-5 in the 3rd…” Not the position I’m used to being in, but again there was a lesson to be learned with this “gift” I was given and I would be going to the line with a fresh attitude. About 1 minute after my pep talk an announcement came over the intercom that the 2nd heat would be cancelled and the race would be decided from the 1st heat. I didn’t have any fight left in me, I didn’t think it was fair to keep the race, but that decision was out of my control. I’d be leaving Switzerland a track I have been on the podium 6 times in the last 7 years and dropping from 2nd in the World Cup standings to 5th

Defeated… that’s the only way I can describe how I felt as I was hustling to get home to see my Dad. 3 trains, 1 cab, 1 shuttle & 2 planes later I was able to get my horses loaded up and now I’m at the ranch with my family until I leave for Whistler Thursday morning. It’s relieving to see my Dad and to give him a big hug. I’m thankful that we have a little break in our racing schedule so I can give my mind a bit of a break before we race in Whistler Feb 2 at 3pm PST. Family and Horse Therapy… sounds like a perfect remedy.


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4 Comments

  1. Kimm
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about your dad. Enjoy your break and good luck in Whistler.

  2. Auntie Cheryl
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Two things I most respect about you are your priorities and your family values. I’m so happy for your family that Darcy is doing OK, and that you were able to take some time to see that for yourself. The snow in San Moritz really sucked. However, you are now back on home ground and you know the next two tracks as good as or better than anyone else. Hope all goes well and that this gorgeous weather we are having right now allow you to get back to your roots on the back of a horse. Thinking of you lots and wishing you the best. Love, Cheryl

  3. Sherry DeLeeuw
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Mellisa I have to correct you on one thing in this blogg. You said that “I’d never forgive myself for the selfish life I live.” You could not be less true. your life is not selfish. The life you live give so many of us so much pleasure (including your dad). The fact that you are will to share this blogg with us once again shows that you are not being selfish. Your dad is so proud of you. I know that if something happend to him while you were away he would be mad at himself for not waiting for a better time for you. Take it from me, bad things can happen to the people you love no matter if you are at home or half way around the world. Im glad that everything is ok and hope you have a good break. best of luck

  4. Randy Metchewais
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Good day Melissa! Read your update this a.m., our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Hope your father gets well soon!!!! Welcome home and C.L.F.N. and the Metchewais family is praying for ur dad’s speedy recovery.

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