I’ve been broken, but I am blessed.
I injured myself while pursuing a passion, my dream since childhood – the ability to FLY!
I got to run the 2021 Boston Marathon, despite my injuries – probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but rewarding nonetheless.
I persisted, in spite of my injuries, running a 5K in November and a half marathon in January.
I continued to run and lift, as if in complete denial… until, with tears in my eyes, I laid on the floor of the gym and admitted: “I can’t anymore.”
…yet, on May 1st, I laced up my shoes, wrapped my spine in a binder, and ran “just one more!”
There’s a fine line between optimism and delusion – when it comes to running, I tend to cross it quite often.
Admitting the extent of my injuries has been the hardest reality to face. When my parachute collapsed and my body struck the ground, I knew that I was hurt… but I was in denial about how badly I was hurt.
When the incident occurred, I refused an Ambulance. I refused assistance. I refused to wait for my family. I refused to wait for a friend. I wrapped my own fractured arm, trying to ignore the fact that my hand was “falling off” and I slid myself inside my Jeep. I used “SIRI” to call my husband, hands-free, and made contact with my favorite Doctor/friend. Against their best medical advice, I refused to take myself to a Trauma Center – instead, opting for a small facility where I knew the current, on duty, E.R. staff. Despite my experience as a Paramedic, my skills in the role of the patient are obviously quite poor – from the initial decisions made, to the actual assessment and cooperation with recommendations for care.
We immediately addressed the most obvious injury, my severely fractured wrist… but, when it came to my spine, I withheld pertinent information, symptoms and complaints. I refused the additionally recommended evaluations and tests out of fear for what ultimately needed to be done.
This aversion to reality over the course of the past year has impeded my progress, delayed my recovery, and even worsened the extent of my injuries.
Luckily for me, I get another chance!
Today was the day of my surgery. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. We ate out last night because, as I was about to prepare our usual meal of fish and veggies, I told my husband; “If this just so happens to be my final meal, I’m gonna be pissed that I wasted it on THIS!”. (He told me not to be stupid, but took me out for pizza, nonetheless.)
More than the risk of bleeding or death though, is the very real possibility of paralysis when undergoing surgery on the spine. This, to me, is a fate much worse than death. This is the risk that kept me dabbling in all of my dishonest ignorance for so very long… refusing to consider the pursuit of a skilled neurosurgeon.
Tonight though, with this surgery now behind me (albeit just 15 hours), I am already feeling hopeful about the future, and the prospect of my return to running. I’m looking forward to the next step in our, now revised, two-part recovery plan!