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I still remember those 2 years after my accident having surgery after surgery to try and save my shattered lower leg. People would say “you are so brave, how do you handle all of that?” Well, first of all, I’m not as strong on the inside as I am on the outside. I was numb inside and the whole ordeal seemed surreal at times. Second, I tried not to look at the big picture because it seemed overwhelming. Third, I don’t have a choice. These are the cards I have been dealt and I am not the type to “fold”.

Yes, physical endurance will be an important part of the process. But for me, emotional endurance is primary and determines how easy/difficult the physical recovery and rehabilitation will be. I learned early on that I could only worry about TODAY because things can change in a heartbeat and if you’re not prepared for that, it will leave you in a tailspin. I am so very blessed with a loving and supportive family. They were always there to help, no matter what I needed. I wish I had let them in on my emotional struggles, but I didn’t want anybody to see me as being weak. I had to be strong for them, or so I thought. It’s perfectly ok to reach out to someone, to say “I don’t think I can do this”. They are there with you because they care, so take advantage of that! When you are better, pay it forward!It’s also important for the psyche to allow yourself bad days. It’s ok to cry, to be sad, to be angry and to let it all out. After all, you’ve obviously already been through some “stuff” to get where you are today so you are entitled to a little bit of “poor me” time. The key is to not get stuck there. Everyone loves a party, but not a pity party. For me, I found great therapy through writing. Sometimes I didn’t understand my own thought process until I got it out on paper, then sometimes it made sense. And even if it doesn’t, that’s ok. At least I got it out.

Most important is to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Although most of us have never met, we are brothers and sisters of a special kind who share something that’s not so great. But what IS great is knowing that we all have each other as we trudge along this bumpy road together.

Carolyn McKinzie, LPN

February, 2014

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