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Shaping a new life journey with virtual assistance: from chronic pain to Bizzybee

Life is a journey filled with highs and lows, and for a handful of us, it occasionally throws a curveball that forever alters our path. While minor scrapes and bruises are easily shrugged off, some incidents shake us to our core, forcing us to re-evaluate and reorient our lives.

That, my friends, is how my narrative unfolded when I turned 40.

Erin founder of Bizzybee dressed as Jessica rabbit
At my 40th Birthday before it all began...

Ah, my sweet forty!

Many claim it to be the beginning of life's truest journey, and I was no exception.

However, a month after my 40th birthday, a seemingly innocuous back strain became constant pain. A mere annoyance, you might suggest?

Someone having a back massage

Initially, perhaps. But within the space of four short months, I found myself spiralling into a world of chronic pain, mobility issues ( I was forced to use a Wheelchair), a haze of heavy-duty painkillers, and eventually back surgery to alleviate nerve pressure caused by a ruptured disc.

But every cloud has a silver lining. The surgery made the debilitating pain vanish instantaneously. With relief, I embarked on a six-month journey of recovery and rehabilitation, rediscovering the joy of walking without pain again until I could eventually return to my job at a local primary school where I taught.

but it was then that I had the realisation that my health needed to take priority, and my career needed a little facelift.

Part of the Pack

Enter my weekend venture: a home-based dog boarding service, where I showered my furry guests with all the love and care I wished for my own dogs. This endeavour brought me joy and aligned seamlessly with my newfound health regimen.

I was on a mission, I dedicated myself entirely to this venture, handling everything from logo design and registration packs to obtaining a local council license and promoting my service solely on Instagram and Facebook.

My hard work paid off, and my calendar was chock-full with bookings for an entire year, even before I had officially bid goodbye to my weekday job as a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA).

Life was seemingly perfect with my thriving business and my back issue under control.

But remember, life's course is seldom a straight line.

A few days before the end of the school year, I bent over to fasten my shoelace when an unexpected attack of excruciating pain hit me, leaving me soaked in sweat and screaming for help, alone in my house with my two dogs. I have had 2 children and the pain I experienced did not come close!

Over the next 24 hours, a whirlwind of events unfolded.

From emergency calls for an ambulance and a friend for help ( thank god my mobile was close to hand) to the bone-chilling realisation that my previous surgery had failed, leading to severe nerve trapping and what is known as cauda equina syndrome. I was rushed to a different hospital for emergency surgery before my nerves died. My world was turned upside down.

Despite some small complications, the surgery was successful. Although it was rare, the experts assured me that a similar incident was unlikely, provided I took good care of my health and back.

Inspired and determined, I bounced back yet again. With the unfaltering support of my husband, I nurtured my dog boarding business.

I attained a qualification in dog care and received the highest possible star rating at my next inspection. Sure, I had to make a few adjustments, like being selective about the dog breeds I took on and allowing myself necessary breaks, but I was doing it and doing it with gusto!

Fast forward to 18 months later and my virtual assistance journey...

When one day, I noticed my toes dancing around without any help from me, I realised something was a miss. An odd sight watching your feet move, but you are not telling them too!

An MRI revealed my worst fear at my upcoming check-up - a third rupture of my disc, necessitating a third Microdiscectomy. I was now a medical anomaly, facing the relevantly unheard-of third surgery that came with a stern warning: it would be the last microdiscectomy I could have.

Due to the waiting list, I endured another six months of pain management, limited mobility, and dependence on others for basic tasks such as showering, dressing, cooking and getting out of the house.

Finally, the surgery happened, and once again, life resumed, albeit at a much slower pace due to the nerve damage. It was clear, though, that my dog boarding business was no longer viable. My mobility constraints made it impossible to continue, and I had to bid farewell to my beloved dogs, I was devastated.

Bizzybee virtual assistance showing what a leg brace looks like
A leg brace used to help people with drop foot

A few weeks post-surgery, I was hit with another blow. I developed 'drop foot' due to permanent nerve damage from the three surgeries and would now have to wear a leg brace. The label of 'disabled' was a harsh reality to accept, learning to drive a hand-operated car, not being able to do simple cleaning tasks and living with permanent pain were all things that weighed heavily on my mental health.

There was a silver lining in my journey though, the realisation that life is teeming with opportunities. I sought a new passion that would allow me to utilise my skills, continue learning, and make a meaningful impact on others' lives, giving me a purpose in life that I felt I had lost.

Combining my love for technology and social media, I decided to become a virtual & social media assistant; that's how Bizzybee, my virtual assistance business, was born.

History is full of stories of individuals who embraced their challenges and emerged victorious.

The key takeaway from my journey is that there's no need to make do, to accept a fate you don't want.

You can reinvent yourself, and a world of possibilities awaits you.


Bizzybee Virtual assistance service sitting on some stairs in a freelance area

If you would like to talk to Erin about her journey and the creation of Bizzybee Virtual & Social Media Assitance service. She is available for Podcasts and publication interviews to talk about her career, f

Want to learn more about her service? Get in touch to arrange a free discovery call.


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