“They Don’t Get to Win”: Determined to Live Despite a Medical Injury

It was not the interview I expected.

My friend Melynda always seems to me to be a one-woman electrical storm. She is energetic, charismatic and not afraid to take risks. She makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world and people love her.

I admit I was kind of jealous. Yes, I knew that she has a disability, but it was hardly apparent to me. If she hadn’t told me, I probably wouldn’t have known. All I really saw was how it seemed that everything she touched turned to gold.

When I asked to interview her, I was hoping to get to the bottom of her success as a network marketer. Melynda rapidly rose to the top of her company and I could never figure out exactly what she was doing. To me and my team, she is our shining star of a success story and we all want to be like her.

I also wanted to know how the medical device that injured her had changed her life and how it affected her motivation.  What could she tell us about gratitude? About maintaining a positive attitude when things get tough? About resilience?

But what I found in Melynda was not the happy-go-lucky acceptance that I expected.

When You Can’t Change the Past

I expected acceptance because after my husband died when I was age 39, I became a fatalist. My mode of operation is to say to myself, “Well, whatever happens is what happens” and I duck under it or climb over it or just sit still and wait for it to go on by. I don’t have enough energy to wrestle with it and I don’t believe I can change it anyway.

Many people who have experienced some sort of dramatic life change feel that way, but Melynda is different.

“They don’t get to win,” she says of the medical device manufacturer, the FDA and the system that failed her.

Every high performance earner needs a vision to move towards. Melynda’s vision is to change that system.

Building a Network on One “Spoon”

Melynda was injured by a medical mesh product that doctors implanted to resolve a common gynecological problem. The mesh had been designed for a different problem, but the manufacturer was selling it to doctors as a replacement for the traditional surgical remedy.

You can read the details of Melynda’s story elsewhere, but the result is that she is in constant severe pain.

“Everyone has a certain number of ‘spoons’ of energy or activity,” she explains. “An average person might have ten spoons, but I only have one. I can do one thing a day. I can make dinner for my family or I can eat dinner with my family, but not both.”

She spends most of her time laying in bed on her right side, the position that minimizes the pain. She has made it the place where she reads, talks to people and makes friends on social media. We’ve always said that technology could be a boon to the disabled and Melynda has proven it. Her phone is a lifeline.

Where Technology Meets Determination

“I couldn’t work an eight hour day because of the pain, so I applied for disability payments and was awarded $784 a month. $784 a month!”, she says with disgust. Melynda has a Ph.D, but had to leave her full-time job because of the  severe chronic pain. The disability award felt like a slap in the face after all that work.

She did what many of us do these days when the disability award letter came. She opened up Facebook to commiserate with her online friends.

That’s when she saw a friend’s post about earning a free trip to Las Vegas. Her friend works as a network marketer.

“I decided I could lay on my couch playing Candy Crush for the rest of my life or I could try to do something else.”

She joined the team and with characteristic energy made earned the trip in a few days.

The rest is legend for the people who know her. Within a few weeks, she was earning $784 a week. Then she was earning $784 a day. She sets her goals in multiples of that disability award and every time she meets one she wins the game all over again.

Winning the Game

Many successful network marketers find they have a bigger purpose once their earnings meet the financial needs of their families. Melynda is no exception.

The medical device approval process failed her spectacularly. The manufacturer didn’t thoroughly test the mesh and the FDA didn’t stop them from marketing it. Her anger for herself and her network of women who have suffered from the same system drives her to grow her team bigger and bigger.

It takes a lot of money to fight an industry and change an FDA policy that the industry prefers.

But if anyone can change it, Melynda can.

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