February 4, 2004: I was convincing and willing myself to rise above, to come to, to propel forward for a breath.

That night was a typical night for me as a 23 year old small college athlete, in the midst of my last semester of college, and in the best shape of my life.

I remember coming to. It was like taking that breath long after being under water until you can’t count any higher.

I remember the feeling of three angels surrounding my body and bracing the 120 MPH head-on Collision.

I remember the first responders keeping me conscious and sharing that help was on the way.

The Oxford Fire Department used the Jaws of Life & extracted me up through the roof of my twisted and crunched vehicle.

The helicopter ride.

The 8 faces looking down at me on the ER operating table…like it was in slow motion, while drifting in and out of consciousness.

I do remember the excruciating pain and the 5 surgeries. Waking up to a fixator screwed into my hips clamping my pelvis together.
The trauma of a horrific automobile accident.

My treatment and recovery

I remember Dr. Patrick Wiater by my bedside. His communication before and after each surgery. His realistic hope for my recovery.
I remember my mom spending the night in the hospital with me. Every night.
18 nights at Royal Oak Beaumont.

Close to 3 months on my back with the fixator screwed into my pelvis, I slowly began the recovery in my parents Rochester Hills home.
There were struggles, emotionally and physically. Set backs and frustrating times of the pain medicine side affects, the limited mobility, and the pain that accompanies learning how to walk again.

I do remember the Triumphs.
The day I helped Dr. Wiater unscrew the bolts drilled deep into my hips that fastened the fixator together.
My modes of transportation shifted that day from the stretcher to a wheel chair, the crutches, the walker, and then to the cane, a healthy two years of focused recovery in physical therapy.
I walked a half marathon in October 2008, the inaugural Oakland County Brookside Way, four and a half years after the accident.
Life is so incredibly fragile, you, like me, know this… and the healing and recovery process is often the hardest.

Trauma and Triumph can occur while fighting with style and love for what is right in the face of darkness.

It is our warrior within & inner strength to push forward.

We have to remember, even in our hardest and most challenging seasons of life, there are others who would love to be in our situation.
We can strive to live in the midst of an awakening of faith, family, and love while knowing that the seasons in life begin anew.

That’s trauma and triumph.

Tip

Life is not about what happens to you; rather it is about what you do with what happens to you.
When adversity can make us stronger!

My Second First

Because of my orthopedic care, I can jog the trails in my community again while reflecting on life and its possibilities.

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