My last post on here ironically was the day before my last race of the season. I never got to do that race. Most of you know by now, but the night before the race my husband and I were T-boned by a car going about 60 mph while driving the bike course. We had just come from picking up my race packet and taking pictures in T1. At that moment…my life changed. Again. Triathlon has been a continuous series of life lessons for me up to this point. Lessons in plans, lessons in toughness. You can make all of the plans you want, but sometimes life hands you lemons. People say “your life can change in a second “… but in reality your life can change in a millisecond.
The minutes after the crash were the scariest moments of my life. Adam was in bad shape, we couldn’t move him out of the car, and the car was stuck with the ignition on and in drive. Was he bleeding internally? No, but I didn’t know. I didn’t know if these next few minutes would be our last together. After finally getting medical help to arrive (another story, for another day), we were taken to level 3 trauma hospital. Adam had 6 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and the impact to his side had shattered his glenoid joint and broken his scapula. The doctors told us that most people they see with broken scapula’s aren’t alive, because it takes such a blunt force to break it. I had suffered only a bad concussion from hitting my head on the side window, whip lash, and some cuts and bruises. I remember picking a piece of glass out of my head, and lots from my hair for days. After a week in Palm Springs, we were transported via ambulance in side by side gurneys. A 9 hour drive back to Travis Air Force base, where we were admitted and then discharged from their medical facility. We were able to go home for about 36 hours until going to San Fransisco, where Adam would have a 6.5 hour surgery. We found one of the best surgeons in the country to put the 12 screws and 2 plates in his shoulder. He said it was one of the most difficult surgeries he has performed in his 20 years. We spent a week in SF before finally getting to come home. I spent that week trying to get our house ready for Adam. A hospital bed, an ice machine, handles in the shower, a shower seat, meals arranged from our wonderful squadron- you name it- we had it.
Recovery has gone incredibly well. I’ve been working with a neurologist every few weeks. He saw me after the concussion I had with my bike crash, so he knows me pretty well. At first, thinking of words was a real struggle. I knew what I wanted to say but I just couldn’t get it out. I wouldn’t remember things. Simple things. I had headaches, I was tired- all the time. And I didn’t have much of an appetite. But this recovery has been a lot faster than my last. And I am happy to report that yesterday, ADAM WAS CLEARED TO FLY! The doctor’s told us that he would be out for at LEAST 6 months. Its been 2 1/2. They are amazed with his recovery time. And so am I.
I truly believe that our quick recovery, which was not easy in any way- was due to our positive attitude. People would ask me “aren’t you mad? Aren’t you bitter? ” How could I be? I’m alive! We shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t have “walked away” from that accident as well as we did. And we really feel blessed for that. It hasn’t been easy. There are days you just want to cry, days you just want to throw your hands in the air and say “I’m exhausted. I’m sick of fighting”. That is when we made lemonade. Many of you received our Christmas card this year. I spent all day asking the staff if I could borrow their Christmas decorations. I dolled up our hospital gowns, and had the nurse take a photo of us with my iPhone. “If we have to be here- we are going to laugh about it” I told Adam.
I am finally back into the full swing of training. With instructions from the neurologist to “listen to by body”. Which I am doing. It feels AMAZING to be back. AGAIN. Someone told me they felt bad for me the other day. That I just can’t catch a break. But honestly, I don’t want a break. I want success when i’ve earned it. And I’ve learned A LOT from these experiences. Things that i’m not sure any race could have taught me. I love this quote, it describes me perfectly:
“Someone once asked me why I always take the hard road. And I said: Why do you assume I see two roads? “
My bike was totaled in the accident. So right now i’m riding only inside. But everything else is back on track. And it feels amazing. This season is a little different than last year. I am now a part of the Valor Triathlon project. Still working with Mary Eggers. I can’t imagine working with anyone else, so I am excited to be a part of this new team! And my teammates are awesome. I will be attending the Lake placid training camp in June, and racing Ironman Syracuse 70.3 the week after. I’m going to keep the rest of my season to myself for now, because if there’s one thing i’ve learned…sometimes plans change. I’m currently seeking out sponsorship of companies that I love, trust, and use! Hoping to represent some of the best this year.
If I can pass along any piece of advice to my fellow athletes, friends, clients, teammates…
Don’t ever give up on your dreams. No matter how many times life throws lemons at you. A positive attitude will overpower any fearful, doubtful, or seemingly impossible situation. Lemonade is much sweeter when you’ve made it yourself.