I almost died today.
I just realized its been over eight months since my last blog post. I have been busy living my life. I am fortunate enough to live my life without thinking of my hips on a daily basis. I have come to the place where I look at myself naked in the mirror, and I am more critical about my cellulite on my thighs vs. my PAO scars.
I skied three weeks ago. I skied strong. Fast. I felt free. The conditions were good. Not a lot of people were on the slopes to interrupt my turns. I was grateful.
Today, I had to go to a few galleries to deliver inventory for work. I was eager to head to Boulder, back to my studio, to have lunch with my studio-mate, who offered to treat for lunch. It was nearing noon; I was getting hangry (hungry + angry = hangry)! It was an exceptionally windy day. For anyone who lives on the Front Range of Colorado, we know wind. Seeing semis rolled onto their sides on Interstate 25 is not unusual. As I cautiously drove on Highway 93, the road that connects Golden to Boulder, a 2-4 lane highway with no median, I was hyper-aware and kept both hands on the wheel at all times. As I was driving up the final hill towards the main intersection of HWY 93 and HWY 72, a 20-foot box truck swerved into my lane and headed straight towards me.
Time slowed down. Its fascinating how the mind can manipulate time.
In what seemed like forever, my thoughts were:
“That truck is in my lane.”
“That truck is going to hit me.”
“This is it. I am going to die.”
“NOOOO!!!!! I do not want to die!” And at the moment I hit the brakes, hit my horn, swerved to the right but not too much as to not overcorrect.
And I missed him.
He almost hit the two cars behind me, but I think he managed to get back into his lane without incident.
As I continued driving north towards Boulder, I started shaking. My lower lip quivered. The tears came with a vengeance. I started to realize what had just happened. My world was rocked. Near death experiences do that.
I remember there were times during PAO recovery that I didn’t want to live. I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel; I was so lonely, and felt so limited in everything that I was able to do. I had lost my identity as an athlete and my career as a personal fitness trainer. I explored the deepest, darkest corners of my soul and psyche during my PAO journey, but somehow I persevered. While the PAO surgery recovery was a roller coaster emotionally, mentally, and physically, things got better bit by bit. My progress was not linear, but there was a turning point when there were hours I didn’t think about my hips, then weeks, then months…
My point is in writing this blog post, only a few weeks away from my 4 year left PAO anniversary, is that no matter how bad things get, no matter how dark your mind may become: keep on keepin’ on. It gets better. I PROMISE! I can now say that if you ever truly stare death in the face, you will want to live. And you will be happy to be alive. I know I am.
Tomorrow I plan to go skiing. And I am sure it will be fabulous.