Once my car accident and stroke happened, I was helpless and hopeless. I never thought about the future, I was apathetic. I was stuck. I just felt pity for myself.
Two years after that car accident my aunt and uncle invited me to visit them in Colorado.
My aunt and I went for walks on the trails around their house. It really felt good. We went to the mountains and saw popular spots in the Rockies. We went for hikes. The weather, the outdoor attitude opened my eyes.
I watched my aunt and uncle in their day to day: my uncle got up every morning and ran before work, my aunt read books. People wanted to be outside and do things. I took in the energy and ran with it., literally.
When I got back home, I started walking, a lot. I would walk from my house to the gym. At the gym I would walk some more on the treadmill. I loved the feeling of doing a little bit more than the day before. I loved the feeling of progress.
Right after I got back from Colorado, I applied to go to an engineering school. It is actually the one my uncle graduated from. I was accepted to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and six month later I moved to South Dakota. When I got there I kept up with my walking. I walked everywhere. I even began to jog. In the beginning I had no stamina and sometimes my foot lagged behind, but I felt myself getting stronger. My injuries from the car accident were a challenge, but it was one I endured and wanted to overcome. I just felt like I was getting better. I didn’t see the physical improvement right away, I just felt the emotional improvement. I had goals and no matter the hardships that occurred I just kept pushing.
Two years after moving to South Dakota, I walked/jogged a total of four half marathons and a few 5 and 10k’s. I logged so many miles. I did push myself, sometimes too much. I was admitted to the hospital more times than I can count over the prior seven years, however that amount seemed to decreased as the years went on. I felt stronger.
I wanted to share this back story because as I look back at these last twelve years I see my visit to Colorado as a pivoting point. I absorbed the atmosphere of Colorado and it refreshed me. I had been so down since the car accident and the stroke. I was 25 and lost the use of my left arm. I just couldn’t see beyond what I had lost. Getting out of Florida and visiting my aunt and uncle woke me up to the fact that I still had a life to live.
This one visit set me on this journey of recovery. Recovery is a long road. There is a physical aspect and a mental aspect. I can look back on that trip to Colorado and see it was the catalyst that started my journey, both the physical and mental journey. I am now 12 years post trauma. My journey continues to this day. The physical aspect of my journey is worked on by a daily workout of cardio or strength training and I always do some sort of occupational therapy. A positive attitude is a choice I have to make everyday, and honestly some days are easier than others. However, I have to remain positive because I want to keep getting better. I believe recovery is possible for me (and you, by the way). We each have different experiences and tribulations to overcome but if you can hold on to hope, like I am, and continue the fight improvements are inevitable. Improvements only stop when we stop trying. Never give up!
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