“Our backs tells stories no books have the spine to carry.”
2 years ago today.
It was like any other morning.
Until it wasn’t.
For a second, I lost track of all time.
Everything went black.
I didn’t feel anything. I can’t recall much of the wreck while it was happening because I was so mesmerized by the angel that was sitting in the front seat of my car beside me with their hand on mine. I remember feeling my car leave the ground; the jolt that threw my head against the top of my car, but that’s about it. And then I remember coming too; smoke circling the space around me from the air bag exploding, high pitched ringing in my ears, the feeling of blood dripping from my nose, and me being absolutely dismayed.
Shattered glass surrounded me. My windshield was basically gone. There was only one layer of my driver side door protecting me from the outside. My sunroof was caved in and half of my trunk was in the back seat.
“Hello, ma’am, are you there?”
My car automatically called 911 when the air bags deployed. Still in shock, I remember replying “I’ve been in a wreck,” and her saying “someone is on the way,”. I look down and somehow, my phone is in my lap. With trembling hands, I managed to text my mom the same words: I’ve been in a wreck.
My logic was out the window and calling wasn’t really an option as I couldn’t muster up the willpower to speak.
I pulled my mirror down to examine my face.
My cheek was already starting to swell. My eye was bruising quickly. My lip was busted and I could taste salty blood on my tongue. Over-all though, I didn’t look THAT bad.
And then I remembered I shouldn’t move. Something could be broke or on the verge of breaking and I didn’t want to potentially paralyze myself. I did however try and wiggle my toes. I prayed before I did so. I was sure I wouldn’t be able too. But I did. That’s when I felt a stabbing pain in my back and it hurt to breathe… panic was setting.
My back. My back. My back. Is it broken?
The man I got in the wreck with quickly came to my side. He managed to maneuver himself in the back seat behind me. All I could do was apologize over and over and over again.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
Despite me being the one who caused the wreck, he held my hand and told me it was going to be okay. He did not leave my side until the ambulance got there.
They thought my Ford Focus was a hatchback. It wasn’t.
They weren’t even sure how I was alive. Conscious. Aware and awake.
How did my 104 pound body survive a car flipping and rolling 6 times? My body may have been little and fragile, but my God is not. That’s when I knew that the angel I had witness during my blackout was real. I truly believe it was not a figment of my imagination.
The ride to the hospital was fuzzy. I was still in panic mode and the anxiety was starting to show, so they pumped me with medicine that made me feel numb, but also really sick to my stomach.
By this time, I was in a neck brace and they had me strapped down flat on my back on a gurney.
“She has a fractured L1 and slight fracture on L2,”.
My back isn’t broken, but damaged. I could live with that, I thought.
Nobody could have ever prepared me for the months that followed this day. I was forced to realize how important it is to appreciate the little things; like having a non fracture spine.
It hurt to walk.
It hurt to breathe.
It REALLY hurt to sneeze.
I couldn’t walk up steps by myself.
I couldn’t shower alone because the moment my hands went over my head a searing pain would shoot throughout my entire back.
I couldn’t sleep because of the pressure.
I couldn’t even brush my own hair.
And let’s not forget my lovely back brace.
I could go on and on about how hard I struggled. About how many nights I spent crying and asking God “why?”.
And the truth is:
I lost myself for a while. I lost friends. I lost my confidence. I lost a lot of my faith. I felt like the world was out to get me and that I wasn’t strong enough mentally to get myself through this. There was so much pain I’d have to endure to get back to how I partially was before.
But giving up and throwing myself a pity party was not an option. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I fought. Everyday I fought to walk. To do my hair. To step up steps. To sleep the way I use to. To pick things up. To shower alone.
I wasn’t happy and I felt weak, but I fought.
And only now do I realize how strong I truly was/am.
Every day I thank God for flipping my world upside down. If not for that, I don’t think I’d be who I am today. I appreciate the little things more than I ever did before. My faith is bigger than it was. And now I know I am capable of fighting a fight, no matter how big and scary it may seem.
I still have my days. Some days I curse and scream and get beyond frustrated with myself. Some days I push my body to hard, forgetting I am a little bit more fragile than I was once before. And of course having to really understand and process the fact that my back will NEVER be the same was a challenge itself.
I can’t ride roller coasters. I can’t lift up heavy things like I use too. Running too much will make it hurt, but I’ve learned to work around these things.
Everyday is a new day.
Everyday is a new day to fight a fight that you’re scared you can’t win.
Believe you can, and you will.
I did. So can you.
I can hands down say that that was probably one of the worst years of my life, but also the most humbling. I’ve learned so much about just life in general and personal strength; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m a firm believer that our experiences make us into who we are, and you have the choice to either let it mold you in a positive or negative way.
Half of your battle will always be in your head, the other half will always be how hard you are willing to try.
Now mentally, I’m stronger than I ever have been. I have conditioned myself to treat hard situations as learning lessons. And I know I have the will power to handle anything that comes my way.
October 6, 2016 will forever be engraved in brain.
The fact that I got through it though, is too.
I am a fighter.