Please welcome M’elle Pirri-Lee to the Brave Healer blog party! If you missed the introductory post – please enjoy that HERE. The women who took part in the Fall Intuitive Writing for Healers workshop are sharing their powerful stories with the world this month. M’elle’s story is no exception; the story of a healer who’s powerful voice is changing the world. 

Setting Myself Free Can Have Many Steps
by M’elle Pirri-Lee

Setting myself free. The phrase sounds so magical, so empowering, and by all means, it certainly can be. It also can end up being a multistep or continuous process. 

As a young girl, my father frequently admonished me for speaking up. Talking about my accomplishments was bragging. Asking for things I needed or wanted was being greedy. I wanted to be a good girl, so I lowered my voice. I whispered.

In my teens and twenties, I would find pockets of friends who felt, believed and saw the world the same way I did. In these groups, I could find my voice and speak my truth. I could stand up for what I believed in. I got this, I was free! But outside my group, my tribe, I whispered.

When I got my first physical therapy job, I worked for the local ARC for folks with developmental disabilities. So many of these people had no voice, so I spoke for them. I argued with Medicare and Medicaid to get wheelchairs, orthotics, and special equipment. I argued with administration to modify environments and maintain staff ratios to keep these people safe. I got this! 

A few years down the road, I was getting tired of fighting an uphill battle at work, the same arguments again and again. My husband was in Iraq with his National Guard unit and I missed him and worried about him continuously. I took a continuing education class for physical therapy to keep myself busy and maybe learn a new skill and I found John Barnes Myofascial Release.

MFR offered such a different way to treat patients. This was a way to make a lasting difference! I took more courses. I learned techniques that truly helped my patients, made changes, made a difference. I carefully planned to hone these skills and grow my own practice outside of work. After I grew my practice enough, I would quit my ARC job. I would be free, I wouldn’t whisper.

My husband came home safe and sound. I told him my plans.  I spent two evenings a week and one day a weekend seeing patients. My practice grew! After one year, I had a big enough caseload to support leaving my job at the ARC. I took the leap into private practice and, hot damn, I was successful. I did not whisper.

As I continued to take classes and grow my skills within the Myofascial Release world, I discovered Women’s Health and pelvic floor issues – an entire area of healthcare that is largely undiscussed. One in four women report pelvic floor dysfunction but it is estimated that as many as six out of ten women have pelvic floor issues at some point in their life.

They don’t talk about it because it’s “Not acceptable” to talk about incontinence, painful periods, or painful sex. They don’t tell their doctors about it because they don’t know there is anything that can be done. Even when these subjects are brought up, many doctors do not know there are ways to help. We are conditioned to keep this to ourselves or at best whisper it in hushed voices to our girlfriends/women’s groups.

Last month I was working with a patient I have seen off and on for five years for intermittent back issues. She was getting ready to take her son to college and was worried her back would not like a several hour car ride so she scheduled a series of treatments. During our second session, I did a transverse plane release on her lower pelvis. Her sacrum shifted ever so slightly into a better alignment with her hip bones. The next morning, she called me and asked, “What did you do to me yesterday?!” 

“What do you mean? Is something wrong?” I asked.

“No! Something is amazingly right! I only peed once last night!”

She went on to explain that since the birth of her eldest child 27 years ago, she had trouble with frequency and urgency. She would have to get up several times a night to pee. She would often have to run to the bathroom with her knees together. Although she had mentioned this to her doctor, he had told her, “That’s what happens after birth, you’ll have to live with it.”

As her words washed over me, a part of me felt defeated that another expert didn’t “get it.” Another part of me shouted “Screw the experts!” Since I took my first MFR course, I have found repeatedly that modern Western medicine doesn’t have all the answers, and that’s okay. I can raise my voice, I can tell my truth, I can let people know that there are answers! I can educate, share what I know. With each person I help, I can spread the news. 

I will not, I cannot stay quiet ever again! I will shout this from the rooftops. There is help! No one has to whisper or speak in hushed voices. No one has to learn to “Live with it.”  MFR can make a lasting change in pelvic floor dysfunction. Don’t be afraid to raise your voice. 

M’elle Pirri-Lee, is Physical Therapist and Expert JFB Myofascial Therapist. With over a decade in private practice, she has helped countless people dealing with chronic pain get back in the driver’s seat and get their lives back. Her goal is to empower women to find help for pelvic floor dysfunction other than buying Poise pads or taking meds. Her office is at 62 Beekman Street, Saratoga Springs NY. If you’re sick of being told you have to “live with” pain or dysfunction, reach out to 518 225-1440, or and on Facebook at AdirondackMFR.