Four years ago today my family’s car and our lives were turned upside down by a texting driver on the highway. On June 15, 2013, I woke up to a seemingly normal day. The next morning, without motion or sensation below the waist. Since that time, I’ve come a long way, and truly have much to be thankful for: I can walk with a walker and braces, and continue to regain feeling. I have had support from family and friends, met many wonderful people, and returned to graduate school. The past year has held many milestones. A few months ago I felt water droplets on one knee and a warm breeze on my legs, both sensations for the first time in years. I’ve finally begun to see quadriceps and hamstring function start to return, and have been able to work towards less bracing support. The critical next step has been regaining the ability to stand hands-free. Coming back from a broken leg, that has been a hard goal to achieve, but it’s closer than ever before. These improvements may seem insignificant, but they are huge.
A catastrophic spinal cord injury happens in a split second, and its impact is not small. It stops you in your tracks and changes most of your life. I won’t pretend that this has been an easy experience. It’s included everything from broken bones to heatstroke to chronic pain. At the same time, I am so grateful for the many blessings that I have and look forward to. The accident was a confirmation that I was already doing what I loved and striving to live with the future in mind.
If your life were to change in an instant, would you be ready? Do you try to appreciate every moment and realize how quickly everything could change? The truth is that there is a much bigger picture which extends far beyond what we see every morning and expect every night. Each breath, step, and decision makes a difference. Please take a moment today to pause, reflect on your priorities, and be glad for the small things you enjoy every day.