People

Published: March 31, 2022 | Updated: March 31, 2022

“I am making lemonade out of my lemons” – Kaye uses her health challenges to help others

Kaye Woodgate: “I consider myself so very lucky to have found my calling in life.”
By Andrew Diprose, editor

By any reckoning Kaye Woodgate has overcome the most extraordinary health conditions.

But now, after years challenged by ill-heath and surgeries, the movement therapist is using her experiences to help others.

As she says: “I live and breathe my work.

“I am making lemonade out of my lemons – and I dream big now.”

Kaye, 47, was born in Moscow, Russia, with torticollis or wry neck, a stiff and painful neck that can feel locked.

It’s not treatable with physiotherapy.

At the age of two, she became very ill and nearly died.

Her eyes stopped working together, probably as a result of the paralysis of one eye muscle due to fever.

Kaye said: “The more to the left I looked, the more uncontrollable was my double vision.

“I was told to adapt as the deviation was deemed too great and risky to operate on.

“Multiple opinions were sought, in Russia and the UK, and all agreed it was best if I adapted.

“And that’s what I’ve done for decades.

“I avoided looking left.

“Even looking straight ahead was uncomfortable and I tilted my head to compensate.

“Growing up it often felt like I was ‘damaged goods’.

“Even when I was the top student in the class, I often felt invisible as I could not look people straight in the eye.

“I hid my visual disability as I was ashamed of it.

“People knew that I had a weird head tilt but had no idea that my eyes and neck were at fault.”

At the age of 18, Kaye’s family moved to London.

After studying finance, she decided to pursue a career in banking and finance.

Although Kaye did well a work permit issue led to her becoming a chartered accountant which she hated.

Kaye said: “I worked in the City and it was highly stressful working for big American investment banks.

“I was desperate to move away from accountancy.

“My health started to fail with the stress and the twisting of my body due to my neck and vision.

“I rose up the ranks to become Vice President with a big team supporting the biggest derivative trading platform in the world, but I was in ruins.

“I had severe pain in my body and sat in meetings sideways on just to look at people in front of me.

“I started to suffer from bad headaches and just wanted to poke my deviant eye out.

“I was miserable and felt unfulfilled and wasted at work.

“Despite the money I had no purpose in life, even being good at my job.

“I couldn’t fall pregnant and still struggled with feeling second best.

“It was hard to find my voice.”

At the age of 32, Kaye realised she had no option but to undergo surgery.

The intervening years had seen medical advances and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital agreed to take her on.

Kaye said: “I had eye surgery to move my eye muscles around which restored binocular (single) vision.

“I had a straight-ahead gaze overnight.

“I was utterly floored by this massive change.

“My brain went BOOM.

“I realised that I had come to the end of my finance career and that I needed a new start in life.

“I quit banking immediately.

“I had no purpose or life plan just yet, but with my vision miraculously restored, it was the only way.”

Kaye, who was now married to Ian and living in Dorset, helped her husband run a start-up company.

“I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but now I was finding my voice,” she said.

But her health issues weren’t over.

After an ectopic pregnancy, which nearly killed her, she successfully fell pregnant.

However, after 37 years of twists and turns in her body, her back and pelvis became heavily misaligned with the added load of pregnancy.

Kaye said: “I was in severe pelvic pain for two years after having my first child.

“At times I felt suicidal as I couldn’t even walk properly whereas a year before I was doing 12-hour treks in the Scottish mountains.

“Having gone through eight physiotherapists who had little idea of how to help me, I discovered Pilates therapy and it eventually put me back on my feet.

“Over the years, I figured out that the issue was not my pelvis.

“My problem was, of course, driven from the neck, head and eye, after which I started to improve.

“I realised that THIS is what I wanted to do in life and retrained, initially in Pilates therapy, working with people hands-on, bringing them the sort of healing I needed myself.

“I went in a big way into neurology and I’ve trained non-stop for the past seven years.”

Today Kaye is a movement therapist, dealing with complex cases – as she is herself – and involving integrating movement, neurological work, scar work and nervous system calming down.

Living in Wimborne with Ian and her two daughters, aged six and ten, Kaye’s Move Beyond practice includes:

  • Movement therapy classes, in person and online over Zoom in small groups
  • Private Pilates and Restore Your Core® 1-1 work either online or in-person
  • Advanced level Neuro-Kinetic Therapy® in 1-1 sessions.

Kaye said: “In many ways I’m putting my own experiences to use in helping others.

“It’s immensely rewarding and satisfying.

“I consider myself so very lucky to have found my calling in life.”