I'mma toot my horn a little, and I hope you can take some inspiration away from it.
I don't know if I have told the story behind what made me an amputee. Back in August of '07 I was coming home on my CBR900RR and highsided through a ditch that had I been one more foot to the right, would have chopped me in half in a drain pipe. As it happened, I hit the embankment at an estimated speed of 110MPH. I flew through the air almost 200 feet and landed on an asphault turn lane. I broke my left foot off entirely. I was missing four inches of bone between my ankle and knee. My left wrist and elbow were broken, as well as both forearm bones in a compound fracture. My right ankle was broken, which I didn't realize until two weeks after the accident. My foot was completely crushed and burned from the water pump housing breaking with the impact. My thigh, and whole leg were poached. I also had road rash over the majority of my body.
I was life flighted to Grady, and underwent 13 surgeries to be put back together. I had the foot amputated due to various reasons, most of which was the result of the burn not letting blood flow properly. I was extremely lucky not to have any head or spinal injuries. I was in danger for some time of ribdo(sp?), which is a dangerous condition to the kidneys from having so much dead tissue and blood clots, ect. flowing through your system. I also caught clebsiella(sp?) in my stump end from improper hygene by a nurse or doctor. I could not go to the bathroom or feed myself for months. I was discharged from the hospital and recovered at home with home care, and physical therapy. I was in a wheelchair for almost a year. During that time, I went from a fairly fit, muscular build, working mans physique at 220#, down to a very fragile looking 140#, mostly from atrophy and the inactivity during the healing process.
When I got home, I watched a lot of tv, ate a lot, and did my physical therapy...like teaching myself to eat, how to get out of bed with one arm and nothing else, showering, shaving, etc. All with one hand. I gained weight like crazy and it was all fat. I was completely sedentary. I decided right away that I had to do something about it. I had started playing paintball, one of my old loves, but realized that the extent of my injuries, the surgeries, and the medications and strong anti-biotics had taken a toll on my body. I was not able to go out and do those high impact sports anymore.
I was standing in the garage one day and noticed my old GT mountain bike hanging on the hook, like it had all but a few moments since I moved here in '02. I decided I would pull the old commuter bike down and give it a whirl and see how things went. I had not done more than ride a wheely up the street on it in the last decade and a half or more. It needed tires, and new brake pads and whatnot, but I decided just to leave it alone, service what was a danger, and ride it for a while.
The first few rides were pure hell. I couldn't do a mile without feeling sick. I pushed on through. Changed some eating habits a little, no extreme diets, just learned some good tips from folks on here and made my portions a bit smaller. I went from maybe five miles a week, up to a couple of 10, and up to doing 15 or so at a time. I realized pretty quickly that staying on the road, and low impact was the way to go. After around 300 or so miles, I decided it was time to get a new road bike. I went out and found an '09 Trek 1.5, and it was wonderful. I instantly started riding 10 miles instead of the five I would have done, and it was just exponential after that. I was riding more and more, getting faster, and getting used to riding with my prosthesis. I got some clipless pedals and shoes, and made life so much easier. I no longer had to check my foot position on the pedal where it had a tendency to float around. I started slowly loosing the weight and feeling better.
It took a while for me to make gains, but the more I did, the more rewarding the riding became. I am still the slowest guy on any given ride most of the time. I have learned not to ride beyond my ability (most of the time ). I should finish my first 400 mile month since I started riding again in August. I am down to 205# now and looking forward to getting my weight below 2 after the holidays pass. I have found an interest in common with my son, and we spend many a beautiful day riding together talking. I finished a 45 mile ride today with him on a trip up to Panola Mountain. It was awesome.
I think about it. I could have just continued feeling sorry for myself due to this happening, and the subsequent challenges that my family and I have faced. I could have just kept on sitting around and put myself in danger of further health issues. I just decided one afternoon to pull the bike down. I made the time to keep doing it and it has been a real pleasure most of the time. Sometimes I had to force myself to do it, my body would throw a tantrum and want me to stop. But I didn't. I kept on riding. Today I went on a ride with my son that I will remember for the rest of my days.
Don't let a disability, or partial inability hold you back. Find a way to adapt. Find a way to overcome. Get out there and take a quiet ride through the countryside, or a spin around your neighborhood.
That was a great read. Kudos to you.
Thanks idc. There are a lot of folks in this subforum who are doing much more impressive things, and I find inspiration in much of it. I think a lot of folks have issue getting up and getting going again after an injury, or disease tries to place limits, and I hope that after recounting all that I have been through that just one person might read this and make the decision to change things, and make it happen on their own terms.
I am not the person I was. I took for granted all my abilites as well as my health. This accident and subsequent disabilites made me realize what a treasure was left to me. I CAN get out and ride, and I DO enjoy the abilites that are left to me to the fullest.
Thanks, pcat. I remember you posted having been hurt in a motorcycle accident but not how it happened and the extent of your injuries.
I was afraid we had lost you as a rider and a member there for a while and I really am glad you're back. Reading stories like yours really helps me put my insignificant physical limitations in perspective.
I don't believe that anyone else's limitations are insignificant. We all have our own issues to deal with and they are no more or less difficult to deal with, it's just what you do about it that matters.
I am glad to be back as well. It took me a minute to sort some things out in my own mind and dealt with some outside issues over the last couple of years. I realized that the issues weren't going away and I needed to get back to something that was not only good for my health but also offered me a way to get out of the house and occupy my time. It is a tremendous social activity, and it also provided a wonderful common interest for myself and my son. In order to further foster that, we bought my son a new Specialized Allez for Christmas. I am very excited to work with him and ride together and build a better relationship that my father and I have ever had through cycling. We have spent more quality time together doing this for the past couple of months than I have had for years. It is also nice to be a part of this community and have the opportunity to make friends and aquaintences(sp?) here as well...to that end, I have a ride coming up on the first of Nov. with a couple of guys I met on here this time back. I am really looking forward to it.
I just decided this time to slow down, take it easy, have fun first and foremost, and not worry so much about how much slower I am than the next guy. This time it's all about the experience.
Thanks so much for the kind words.
Thanks for sharing that story. You are one tough guy! It would have been easy to remain sedentary. You didn't.