“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory.” – Vince Lombardi (Football coach)
November 16th, 2015. I planned like so many other people going to work that day on coming home, on making dinner, on hitting the gym, on seeing my son. That didn’t happen.
As it turned out fate would have other things in store for me.
I hopped on my bike to commute home as usual. This is a routine that I enjoyed as it energized me in the mornings and allowed me to unwind at night.
I made it about 5 or 6 km into an 8 km ride home. I had just crossed a highway intersection and entered our local bike/pedestrian trail known as the Galloping Goose. The evening was rainy and very dark very early as the day leading up had been overcast.
The area of the path I made it to is slightly overgrown and is not in the reach of the light shed by the traffic signals. I had my appropriate gear on my bike and myself as I always do when riding. My LED headlight was less than a month old and fully charged.
I did not know that there was a human being in front of me on the path until I was already hitting him. As my wheel torqued and my body was launched over the handlebars I felt the oddest sensation of my face being directly in someone else’s.
It only took a matter of seconds for my body to hit the ground. The impact was directly on my back. Instinct took over after I landed and I managed to turn over and get to my hands and knees. I knew there was something really wrong when I went to try to stand and pain radiated through my lower back and hip.
The response from the fellow commuters around me was swift. Cyclists stopped and ensured nobody else hit me or my bike.They called the ambulance and one woman in particular held me up with her own body by sitting with her knees raised under me. This allowed me to ease some of the weight without relaxing my back and potentially causing more damage.
This lady comforted me not only in her physical actions but with her questions, quietly and knowingly distracting me. I hope to find her at some point to thank her but I don’t know if it would ever be enough.
After what seemed like an eternity but was most certainly not the ambulance arrived. After x-rays, a CT Scan and an MRI it was determined that I had fractured my L2, L3 and L4 vertebrae that I had muscle tearing and 2 bulging discs. I was not going home. It is here that my choices truly began.
It would have been so easy to get caught up in anger towards the pedestrian that I hit as the main cause of the impact had been his lack of any light or reflective gear on his body and his choice of dark clothing on a dark night.
It would have perhaps momentarily felt good to curse that man for the dismissive response of “My bad.” when one of the cyclists who came to my aid asked him why he wasn’t appropriately lit up.
The problem is this. Neither one of these options would have served me or my healing process any purpose. So instead I chose to view it as this. This man did not leave his home intending to harm anyone that night and if anything can come from this I hope it will be his education in safety measures and the respect for the people who share that path with him.
As I write this I am still in the hospital and there have been numerous paths I have had to choose while here. The least of which was how I was going to handle my attitude towards this injury, towards the recovery and towards the future.
I look at this entire process as a boxing match. Round 1, make it to rehabilitation. Round 2, make it to my own home again. Round 3, return to the life and the things that I love doing and that are as natural to me now as breathing. I have worked my way through the first round and the end of the second round is in sight. I know without question that I am going to make it to the end of the third and that my hand is going to be raised in victory with a K.O.!
I fully believe that the strength of my conviction, the determination within me and the willingness to surrender to the process of what is happening in my life is what is propelling me through these stages.
The simple fact is I own this. I have the option to crush this. I am not going to let any of these injuries determine how I live the rest of my life. The immediate future might be filled with walkers, assistive devices and working through discomfort and pain but all of that is temporary.
The support, kindness and love that friends and family have shown me since this happened can never be acknowledged enough. The lengths that people have gone to from hospital visits to phone calls to Facebook messages – all of it has feed my soul and fueled my spirit. I am eternally grateful.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing I hope is in good health and good spirits. If you are facing injury or obstacle I wish for you the ability to see that you CAN overcome and no matter what you are going through that you do not have to do it alone.