Sunday, June 21, 2015


Dr. Monique Koll, a local veterinarian and author, announces her candidacy for the District 5 Lafayette City-Parish Council seat. 

Koll, an Independent, currently serves as a volunteer member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the city-parish president’s Awareness Committee for Citizens with Disabilities and the Lafayette Consolidated Government Bicycle Subcommittee.

She was the first executive director of BikeLafayette and is president of Bike Walk Louisiana.

“My background is in helping people,” Koll said. “I have the tools and passion to be really good at identifying and implementing what is needed and wanted by the people in my district. I am fully prepared to really understand the issues and work together to solve them.”

Koll worked full-time as a clinical, emergency and research veterinarian until October 2012, when she was struck by a vehicle while on her bicycle training for a triathlon.

She was hospitalized in New Orleans for two months and suffered a permanent spinal cord injury that left her partially paralyzed. The driver of the vehicle that hit her was unlicensed and uninsured.

Four months after the accident, Koll was able to cross the finish line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans.

The following year, she walked the same marathon on her own.

“Acadiana has helped me so much during my recovery, and this is a way I can serve the same community that helped me,” Koll said.

Since then, Koll has earned a real estate license and become a Category 3 triathlon referee.

She recently published a book, Determinational, detailing her journey of recovery from the horrific crash.

Koll said when elected, she would like to work on the “dissonance” that consolidation has brought to city and parish government, as well as address the drainage issues in her district and continue her work on parishwide transportation.

Koll has one son, Liam, who is 8 years old.

“I know that I can work with anyone and believe we need someone who will communicate, collaborate and work with the rest of the council and the administration,” Koll said. “Working together is the only way we will continue to move District 5 and all of Lafayette Parish forward.”

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Need Your Help! And you can pre-order my book.

Pre-order here! Kindle Book Determinational

A great friend took me to lunch last week. We met just a little bit after I was hit when we did a KRVS radio show together. Our situations were so similar - he was riding bikes with his friend Roxanne when she was hit from behind by an unlicensed driver, breaking her neck. She died. I didn't. The world isn't fair.
BikeLafayette hosts a memorial ride every year for her. This year it's May 2nd. You can sign up here: Ride For Rox 2015

I told him life is *almost* good now. It still sucks that exercising doesn't feel good anymore, it just feels wrong because the wrong muscles are always pulling, and they always feel sticky and tight and just bad - it's a limiting factor and I'm out of shape because of it. What do you do when feeling good is out of the picture, where's motivation to work out then? Besides for that though, the only thing missing - financial independence. I feel like I keep saying this, but he said to make sure everyone knows that I need a job; his opinion is not everyone knows that. So this is me telling you: I need a job!

YES, I am a veterinarian. But there is no opportunity to do that full time here right now, or even steady part time. I do relief work - filling in when others are on vacation - but this is not sustainable just fun.

YES, I am the Executive Director of BikeLafayette. But this is not full time, we don't have the money. I'm working on it, but it may be a few years before the can have a full-time employee, and even then it may not be enough to cover my vet school loans. PLUS, we have over 2000 followers, but less than 100 paid members. Join BikeLafayette! Yall know I love this, I will always have time for it even if I have a full time job (this is how I normally operate, I never have only worked 40 hours a week), but it is not sustainable to me personally. YES to the community and I'm not quitting, but NO to it paying the bills.

YES, I am a Realtor. Who hasn't sold a house yet. I know it's off-season, and even still I've shown a few houses, but nothing has come of it yet. It's something to be patient with, but something has got to start happening for me. Here's my Facebook page: Dr. Monique Koll with Titan Realestate Services

YES, I do professional speaking! I have to start getting paid gigs. The hard part is not the talking, it's the getting connected to paying jobs. It's a market that needs breaking in to, I just have to find it.

SO, I need a job! I'm open to anything. I've developed a lot of skills that can be put to use for a lot of different things. It's the one thing that keeps me from a functionally full recovery. Please keep me in mind!

ALSO, I've committed to writing a book. Yay! Also, scary! It is fun to write, as I can be myself and as silly or sarcastically nerdy as I want, and it also churns up a lot of emotions as I go back through the things that were really bad and hard. Due date is May 20th. You can pre-order the Kindle version here! I'm going to have a hardcopy available too because I love books, and I think I'll do a Kickstarter for that in 2 months.

Recognize the pic? it's the great Cecil Fuselier. And the title is through a conversation with my friend Elise Gaudet - shout out to Elise!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Limitations Are Not Real, Blind People Can See

I don't have time to write this post. I had my first successful day working as a vet again since I got hit, and that feeling is so overwhelming that it's almost taxing. Same sense of accomplishment as those half marathons. Maybe more. The fact that I can really and truly reclaim my life again...

And tomorrow I have a talk for Kiwanis that I'm not even prepared for. I probably won't get to sleep much tonight, If you're bored call me ;) But I want to be ready for it. They contacted me yesterday for a 45 minute speech on BikeLafayette tomorrow...awesome but the time I thought I would have was spent working this last-minute vet shift. Same day that I officially took chair of our Louisiana bicycling entity. Feeling a little over-busy at the moment. Ah well, so is life, and I have got to financially be independent in order to finally be okay with everything.

Rambling. Sorry. Tired.

SO, why am I writing this? Because my very dear friend Crystal Place requested that I listen to this podcast, which I did while working, and it so accurately explains exactly what I have learned from this broken-necked experience.

It's true, true, I'll never say it's good what happened to me. You can find blessings in everything though. And what I have learned:

My reality will always be too limited to really be reality.

Profound right? I'm so so serious though. I've accomplished more that anyone thought I could. I plan on accomplishing more than that. You can't tell me no. I guess it's my punk attitude that is what does it. Wouldn't that be terrible, if I got all this way just because I'm a punk rebel? My sweet caring self that loves all of you hates that fact! I'm a professional, I live a very structured life, I am very "type A" in making sure things get done correctly. Rules (well guidelines) shape m life. But srsly, "you're not the boss of me" is what does it. 

AND NOW THERE IS SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. That blind people can see. I didn't need this as guidance, but it sure served as affirmation. Whenever people trust God, refuse to accept their situation, fight the system, that's saying that reality is not what we think. These kids didn't let other people's fears (read: beliefs) limit them. This blind man's brain shows he is seeing. Listen to this:

It's a whole new way of understanding coming out now. Epigenetics - our behavior CAN change our genetic expression,and that change can be inherited. Your mind can control chronic pain. I can freaking practice veterinary medicine with a broken neck. Blind people can see well enough to ride a bicycle. Mind over matter. Will over reason. When the imagination and the will are at odds, imagination always wins out. I think there will always be limitations. But never believe in anything. If you don't believe in the stars, they will still exist. Same with "real" limitations. No sense in artificially creating more.

Rules are for the irresponsible. -ME

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In Memory of My Cousin

When I was a kid, this long-haired hippie cousin of my Dad's would come stay with him in New Orleans. He was so crazy and full of life...I always looked forward to his and his daughter's visits. He gave me my copy of The Little Prince, and when I was older Anne of Green Gables. He always gave books away - maybe that's where I got that habit from - but I kept those. I visited him at his place in San Jose del Cabo, where the trailer I stayed in got broken into and all my stuff stolen in the middle of the night. I had dreamed of a cattle stampede that night. My Covington High duffel bag was found months later by Mexican authorities, I still have it. I don't remember him always being the most responsible, but I will always cherish my memories of him, and his crazy reckless life-loving freedom I've kept more than a little bit of.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope your NYE was as great as mine was. You know, I just spent all this time writing about the sweet family my kid and I hung out with last night, and how the boxing gym moved and the awesome posters we got from there and how much I love the boxing community here, and how great my friends and family are with the most thoughtful presents and helping me out, but the list just went on forever, so I erased it and replaced it with this sentence. Love all of you!

I feel like I lost two years of my life. I know this isn't true, but I was just about 35 when I was hit, and I keep thinking that I'm 35. I guess my life was so disrupted. I'm finally identifying with my age of 37, which I'm taking as a good thing.

I'm writing this blog post to have publicly my goals for the year. I'm not big on resolutions really, but I do believe in goals. I'm incredibly ambitious. Here we go!

*Publish my first book
*Paid speaking engagements
*Successful real estate agent
*Get down to racing weight again - I personally think I am prettier with a higher fat % than that (not to an unhealthy level of course!), and it's going to be hard because my cardio opportunities are limited, but I am faster with a lower percent and if I'm going to continue to race/rock climb/etc it's what's easiest. Oh well.
*Be a responsible millionaire by 2017. I am serious.
*Run. I am aware of the issues with this statement.
*Maintain Lafayette's unique culture by keeping our transportation options open.

AND, to continue to be a part of and relate to my community. You guys. All of you. I cherish my personal relationships and I never want to blow anyone off due to perceived lack of time, or compartmentalizing, or whatever. It wouldn't be on purpose, but I want to make sure that going forward, and continuing to meet more people and discover more microcultures, I stay personally engaged and not elitist. Love you all, happy holidays!
2014/2015 NYE Bonfire

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Lot of Things Happened On The Way From the BikeLafayette Meeting

Last blog I talked about my new notebook and how I am scholarly dedicated to the different spokes of my current life in the scientific faith that it will all synergize into something bigger. Today was typical for that!
We had a BikeLafayette meeting today, it was great! We're in a growing phase, which is sometimes uncomfortable and always productive. We have the right people to weather the transition to a more pronounced organization, and it's really awesome to work with people that care enough about it to get details figured out. Always my favorite thing, to build something with hard-working people. Love all of you!
And MAN it was storming! On the way home I got a message that my Realtor business cards were in, woohoo! My "Realtor" spoke has been a bit neglected this week. I was close to the office and swung by to get them. Gabe Lewis, the broker I work under, and I gabbed a bit - I want a stand-up desk at like my friend Teylor Feliz - and at the first sign of a break in the weather I ran out!

But I was so excited that I wanted to distribute my new cards right away, so I stopped at the Starbuck's on Ambassador in front of Wal-Mart to drop some off. It started raining hard again, but yay my Evangeline Toastmasters buddies were there, the President and current VP of Public Affairs (well, current until now, hang on...). They also know my broker Gabe, both socially and he's a Toastmasters member too. They were super eager I showed up as they just were discussing how I should take over VP of PA and he should become VP of Education. And you know, why not? It's still in line with my "Determinational Speaking" spoke, and there's that inter-relation with my "Realtor" spoke, so just furthering the Monique Wheel right along. So, done!

And then I get home, and in the mail was a letter of official acceptance onto the City Parish-President's Awareness Committee on Citizens with Disabilities. I wanted on the committee as I am becoming more involved with city planning as a bicycle advocate, and we're only comfortable advocating for every "vulnerable road user", and hell I personally just need to be on this board. Sooooo awesome, this furthers my "City Planning through Bicycle Advocacy" spoke.

SO goes my life right now, budgeting my time and having clear goals moving forward for these individual spokes of my life. A little scared about the present I guess - really scared actually - but excited for the future. A good friend of mine who just moved away with his family that I adore :( (that's them here: Hy-Vee Kids Triathlon), told me about his super power. He can see what people are really thinking. He's surprised me a couple of times with that without even knowing. One thing he was very direct about with me was I don't trust things to happen right. I try to control too much. I start arguing, and he says, "Look at that tree out there. You see that tree? Is there anything wrong with it? No. It's a perfect tree. How can it be otherwise? Same with everyone. Same with you." That grounds me. I got really depressed last night, it happens, and eventually I thought about that and it calmed me. What if I just let go and let what's going to come of my life come about? It's too complicated, I can't know how all the pieces work together yet. But it will, there's no other way. Even my major stressor, money, is part of that. Patience, and hold the course. Look for blue not yellow. Thanks Mike.
I believe we all have a super power. Mine is something to do with seeing the bones of things, through all the flesh; and for always getting to the next step and being resourceful enough to figure out what the next step is. I'm still figuring out how to define it. Someone else's super power is knowing the end at the beginning, and making perfect decisions based off that. Somehow, he can tell where the talent of someone is leading. I'm convinced everyone has one, I like hearing about them. What's yours?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The School of Monique, and Niche Theory

 Transitions have started being a catch phrase for my life. I love the term because it makes me think of triathlons. I have a soft spot for triathlons. And heavy metal. Weird combination I know.

 I have several things going on in my life right now with two main objectives: running and making money. Running, because, running; and making money because I refuse to lose my house and my autonomy because of some random unlicensed driver. So I am literally working nonstop to make all this work. Nothing is 100% yet. But FTW I got this.

The Spokes of my Life:
Vet Med
Professional Speaking
Real Estate
City Planning through bicycling advocacy

My new thing to work on running is hypnotherapy. I hope you know by now that I don't believe in crap, but I do believe that to stop my hypertonicity I have to get my brain in the right place to correctly interpret the signals from my body getting garbled from my spinal cord injury. I believe this is possible with high repetition and lots of focus. I'll let you know how it goes.

The rest of my life, well, it's weird. I never have believed that everything happens for a reason but...maybe. Maybe not. I do believe that all the different little pieces in my life are forming a conglomerate in a way that I'm not fully aware of just yet, and I have to stay calm and keep on keepin' on for those things to come together to form whatever I'm becoming. Sounds weird? Let me tell you about something I learned in microbiology called "niche theory" (you didn't forget I was a nerd, right?) There's a lot of different definitions, but here's my general personal interpretation. Niche Theory - a species evolves and thrives in a way that fits the space in its environment. That's me.

The breakdown:
*Given my veterinary background and all the stuff I've already accomplished, that's my drive and my confidence. I'm currently looking for part-time and relief work. I love vet med, and even though it's not paying off right now I can't give up on it. I've got to dedicate even just a little of my time every week to keep up.
*Professional speaking - I love this! I am officially taking paying speaking jobs, contact me if you know somebody interested. My main focus is dealing with change, adverse or not, and the power of accepting and giving help; working as a team. I'll travel anywhere in the US, and out. I now recognize the value of my flexibility and how it's gotten me through all this, and I love to help people recognize that in their own lives.
*Real Estate - against my personal thoughts on how I thought this would be boring, I love it. It's not just about dressing cute and showing houses, it's about neighborhood and community building. I have gotten very emotionally involved in this aspect, and I love that I had the forethought to become a licensed Realtor and have this direct line with the citizens. I've just volunteered to be part of the local and state Cultural Diversity and Legislative Committees so that I can even further directly help the people I am working with. It's all playing into my bigger life plan which is helping my community be happy. I owe Acadiana, the people here have done so much for me!
*Being the new Executive Director of BikeLafayette that developed out of a horrible freaking experience from getting hit by an unlicensed driver, that's been maybe the best thing that could have happened out of this. The timing and place was great as Acadiana is moving quickly to being a happy and cycling/pedestrian friendly place to live. It puts me in a position where I can really influence the direction our city is taking. I LOVE city planning, it's caught me almost as much as vet med! I've been able to meet with various city planners ranging from the MPO/LCG, downtown Lafayette, and the coteries of the Acadiana neighborhoods. I am in a position where I can be a hub for various projects and things are already being accomplished. I'm now also helping head up a statewide bicycling legislation - Bicycle Louisiana if you will, name has not been decided yet! On both the local and statewide aspects we have decided that we will advocate for all "vulnerable road users" - bicycles, pedestrians, and disabled, and transit, - as what's good for one is good for all.

SO you can see, lots of new stuff for me to learn! Life is chaotic, but physics tells us that chaos will synchronize and spontaneous order will form. I have to be organized enough to make sure I focus on all these things, and put the time into learning it. I have a new notebook with 6 different areas that I call the BOOK OF LIFE to keep me on track. It really is like going to school and learning all these classes for a degree, I just don't know what that degree is yet. MoM - Master of Monique? ;) I've got to be successful financially and personally, I'm determined. I don't know the outcome yet...just focusing, working hard, and staying on track. What a nervous/exciting place to be! Life is all about being able to survive that strain to make it.

Hey I never said "artist" was part of all this! Love all of you!