Life has been such a rollercoaster lately! I have been in the darkest of places and back up to feeling incredibly happy and every conceivable emotion in between since my last post. My husband and I spent the one-year anniversary at the beach in my ex-husband’s condo (don’t worry, nothing but love here 🥰) and had an incredible time. We spent most of the time in the condo or on the balcony enjoying the view since walking through sand is no go for me right now. And yes, I did have that drink I promised Dr. Godzik almost a year ago! (Catch up! Duh!)
I recently started seeing a therapist, which seems to be beneficial for me right now. If nothing else, having an impartial third party validate my roller coaster of emotions has given me some peace and allowed me to show myself some grace. By far, though, the biggest thing that has helped me this past year is my husband. He is an incredible human being who has shown me unwavering, unfathomable love and devotion. I know that sounds so cliche, but for some reason, that man loves me in a way that is hard to describe. I wish more than anything that he could retire and enjoy the fruits of his labor, but until I get some kind of insurance through SSDI, that’s not possible, and it’s breaking my heart to watch him kill himself working two full-time jobs. Can I like, get famous already? Is it really all that hard being Kim Kardashian? Clearly, we are basically twins, so I don’t understand why designers aren’t blowing up my phone 🙄.
After our beach trip, I had my one-year follow-up neurosurgery appointment. I was still coming off a high from our vacation and was in a great headspace- I even posted several videos on social media where I was really excited and eager to get a good report. I was feeling very… hopeful. Happy. In love with my family. Actually starting to feel some acceptance of my new life/reality. I’m generally not a very smiley person (terminal diagnosis of RBF [google if necessary]), but I knew as soon as I saw Dr. Godzik that this wasn’t a celebratory visit. The news wasn’t devastating, but it wasn’t what I was expecting/hoping for. Basically, we were told that although the hardware in my neck looks ok right now, it’s not designed to support my head on its own- my bones need to also fuse, and they are not right now. What that means is that I am potentially looking at (another) major, major neck surgery involving bone grafts and taking muscles from my back and attaching to my neck somehow. (There’s a possibility that I’m not 100% on the exact details, but I was pretty stunned at the time.) And just like that, I was broken again.
I took a couple of days to try and process everything, and I don’t quite know how to explain it, but my brain completely shifted gears. I became almost manic in needing to do SOMETHING productive, so I decided to start a YouTube channel. I have been plagued my entire life by worrying about what other people think, but in a split second, none of that mattered to me anymore. Think I’m fat and ugly? OK 🤷♀️ Think I’m just looking for attention? Well, I wouldn’t call it attention, but it feels therapeutic and provides some social interaction while I’m very isolated from people. Then I realized that I had the support of my family behind me, and I felt… free. Although I’m still riding this wave of excitement and motivation, I now realize it’s purely fear-based. I’m realizing how fragile my life is after everything that’s happened, and that my risk of a sudden death is now much, much greater and it’s terrifying. It’s like I’m a land mine ready to go off at any moment, so I’m in an absolute frenzy trying to make this stage in my life matter. Like it’s a job now; to make my life matter. Gosh, that sounds so weird? Is it weird or does this make sense to literally anyone else?
I am also able to recognize a lot of good that has come out of this. My family dynamic is the strongest it’s ever been. My marriage is amazing, and I generally feel like I’m more pleasant to be around. My attitude is lighter. Free-er. I used to have crippling social anxiety, but that’s almost gone. I’m still very introverted, but striking up conversations with people is so much easier than it used to be. During the daytime, I feel like a better version of myself- at least psychologically. Physically, I feel like three miles of Georgia dirt road (as my husband says).
Then the night comes. With bedtime comes the racing thoughts, insomnia, significant anxiety that I can’t explain. So here I am at 2:05 am writing this blog. Why? Because I’m scared.
There. I said it.
16 thoughts on “Free Fallin’”
First of all you are neither fat nor ugly. Period. I enjoyed your writing style as I have read through all of your posts. I can not imagine what you have been through or are going through. My friends daughter, 24, wrecked on our 8th wedding anniversary which was October 8th, 2002. She has been a quadriplegic since. She had just graduated after 7 years to be a physical therapist. I thought a lot about her, and my friend as you described your halo and the pain your family felt from worrying and grief. I have another friend that fell out of a tree stand in 91 and was paralyzed for 8 months. He regained his movement but lives with constant pain and surgery after surgery but pushes on. He is now 60. He said they don’t know how he is even walking, they tell him he is really a walking quad. I just lost my mom in March who went through so many of the icu and hospital things you described. With the dementia from hospitals and icus. It helped me understand more because I have been struggling with the things she did and said but now I get it a little better. That not processing and like a child that can’t make you understand. The tantrums and just at time ludicrous. I had a major depressive episode in 2009, which is what they used to call a nervous break down. I ended up loosing my job not fired but after a year I got disability. I understand that loss and panic you described. I think you did a great job describing the feeling that you aren’t productive because you don’t bring in an income, I felt like I lost my purpose in life. I knew my purpose was to still be a wife and mother but I felt lost. I understand the feeling of thinking… I will be this great home maker. You have physical things why you can’t. Mine were and still are just feeling mentally overwhelmed. Boy I sure have given you a lot of info but I wanted you to know I Hear you! I can understand those feelings, even though I know your pain is different than mine. I am so sorry for what you have been through, but I am so glad you have the strength and support to keep moving forward. I get the insomnia, I witnessed mom go through horrible pain for a year. I have been having insomnia since she decided no more medical intervention at the end of feb. I keep up the “I’m fine shield “ until night time and my mind starts to let its guard down a little. I understand you. For me, in 2010, I re-dedicated my like to Jesus and HE pulled me up because I was sunk in low, it literally has taken all these years to get to where I am. I feel sure you will and are going to find your new normal. My prayers will be for more managed pain and brighter days ahead for you. Thank you for sharing your story.
You have no idea how much it means to me that someone I don’t even know can comprehend what I’m talking about so well. Your kind words are so appreciated!
Thank you for sharing so much of your journey, with such great writing and a such a strong, funny, honest voice to boot!
As an acute care/inpatient rehab PT working and living near Sturgis, SD, I have worked with many people recovering from injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. I don’t always get to know about their long-term recovery, so seeing some of yours has been truly heartwarming. I am rooting for you and your husband and family, and am humbled by your willingness to share your story. Thank you 🙏🏻
I have been addicted to reading your blogs! You are absolutely a beautiful person. I have no experience with anything you’ve gone through though I have suffered with depression all my life. The fact that you don’t pretend and you keep it raw and real is the true inspiration. I wish the best for you and your family. Keep your head up!
Hey new bestie!
Your YouTube video popped up in my recommendations- I watched your very well done story, and then I hopped over to your blog, and have spent another hour here. I have not been in a motorcycle accident, but the majority of my spine is fused to address severe scoliosis. Thank you for sharing your story. You really should consider writing a book– your style of storytelling flows well, and you do a great job of keeping folks invested. I wish you all the luck and healing in the world.
You have no idea how much this means to me. Thank you so, so much! I hope you are doing well!
Your TikTok showed up on my timeline and I was intrigued to put it mildly. I immediately came here and read each blog post and can’t say much more than wow! I have been having a rough time recently with some financial and family issues. I know that my struggles might not be comparable in difficulty with yours or many others, but they are difficult for me. Your strength through all that you’ve been through is inspiring. I can get through this. You can get through all that you have coming at you. One. Step. At. A. Time. Some steps are more painful than others, but we can make them as slowly or quickly as the process needs that day, hour, minute, or even second. I am truly inspired by your story and I will be impatiently waiting your next post. On a side note, I find your plain speech (cuss words and harsh language) helpful to understand how truly difficult a situation is for you. Be bold! It’s your blog! I’ll be watching out for more from you and I can’t wait to see the progress each post brings to light for those of us following you!
Just happened on your YouTube channel and come to you web page. Though my issues are not from an accident and not nearly as bad as yours, I do know where you are coming from. I have degenerated disc disease, inherited it from my mom, God rest her soul. But I have other things associated with it, that make life hard. I am single and family isn’t close but I have a best friend who is like a sister. I too have depression and anxiety and all the drugs that go with it but the best thing I have is my therapist, and my art. I do mosaic in my spare time. It is an uphill battle but I take it one step at a time, one moment at a time. Even though everyday is a new adventure in pain, I am glad I am here, to enjoy it. I am thankful you are too and thank you for sharing.
I don’t know why your channel showed up on my YouTube as I was searching sewing ideas but it rang so deeply within me….as I did not have an accident myself…I blame myself for a very tragic and traumatic one for which I wish I could go back in time and call a “re-do” on…. my only biological daughter had dropped off my 4 grandchildren with me on the Tuesday after Easter last year for me to watch them while she and her husband went to the OB Dr as she was welcoming another girl to their mix. I had my own 4 kids, that we had adopted, home too as it was the Spring break for them…..ages of kids were 16, 10, 9,7,8, 6, 5 , 23 months, there were 8 children here and me…..I took them all to our local park to play …..after we came home, I asked my 16 yr old to go check our mailbox, as he has done many many times before, it sits right across the road, I was getting the rest of the kids huddled to the front door and getting my house key out, and diffusing a fight amongst siblings. When I heard something behind us, I looked up and my son ,10 yr old said ” it’s R**** !!” I ran to the road and first saw her arm lying there ….then her body face down about 20 feet further… I immediately ran up to her, rolled her over to start CPR but I couldn’t.. ..I corralled all the kids back to the front door without trying to show emotion to scare them…..I took my phone called 911 and told them briefly what happened….I couldn’t do anything, and I’m a registered medical assistant..I took off my shirt to put on top my granddaughter so her siblings and my kids wouldn’t see her then I had to make the hardest call of my life…..to my daughter……I tried to kill myself not long after this , I already had depression, anxiety and PTSD…..I was called every horrible name in the book , both to my face and via Facebook.. .I was barricaded at the funeral home and almost kicked out from granddaughters wake….its been hard..I wish I had such a great husband as yours but mine is not so loving and doesn’t understand why I cry everyday and when I go into deep depression……may God continue to love and heal you ❤
That is horrific. I just can’t imagine the pain you’re going through with this. I am so incredibly sorry, and I hope you are in some type of therapy! You shouldn’t have to do this alone!
You are so inspirational. I am so glad I found you! You have a way with words. Thank you for sharing your incredible story.
your youtube video also showed up on my feed and ive now gone through all your blogs. i dont know if its simply your raw vulnerability combined with a subtle sense of humour, or the fact that I feel empathy as i have a daughter who has struggled for a number of years now post TBI (ski accident for her). in any event your story IS SO worth telling! Stay with YouTube and be patient re viewers. it takes awhile to get traction but it will come. your story is powerful and we will all come together to lift you up through your stories.
Like others here, your YouTube video showed up on my feed, and with that I had to know more. My entire c-spine has been fused via two surgeries, after finding my spinal cord was compressed over 60%. To this day we are not sure what caused the compression, but it could only have been either our own MC accident…hit by a young 19yo who ran a stop sign just 7 seconds after we left our driveway, or a fall I experienced almost one year to the day later where I tripped and hit my forehead against a brick wall, splitting said forehead open to the skull. I have just loved the openness of your videos, and your blog is simply extraordinary. Your open and frank discussion is not only inspiring, but should be educational to those responsible for caring for trauma patients. I wish you continued healing, happiness, and joy.
Thank you so much!