My dear friend, Amy Thomas, recently broke her radius and ulna while mountain biking in Moab. She is attacking recovery with an optimistic outlook and I asked her to share her story of recovery over the next weeks with a few articles. We hope you can gain something out of reading her determination (stubbornness) and love for life.
The last time you heard from me on Bike Shop Girl, I was relishing in completing this summer’s Breck Epic, a 6 day MTB stage race in Breckenridge, Colorado. It was the culmination of a comeback from shattering my pelvis in March 2013 and my big 40th year goal on this planet. The rest of the summer was great with a little down time, starting up CrossFit again, and fun rides with friends.
We squeezed in two end of season desert trips to Fruita and Moab. The trip to Moab proved to be my last ride of the season and not on my terms. After climbing up to the top of Capt Ahab, a trail I love for its technical features, I careened off a steep drop, flew over the bars and watched my forearm snap in half. I quickly pulled it straight and began the 2 hour walk back down the trailhead. After visiting the Moab ER with a broken radius and ulna, I was heading back to Denver the next morning in a giant splint, a lot of pain, and facing another recovery.
Early on in my pelvic recovery, my Dad gave me some advice that really changed my outlook. He said, “You have a choice every morning. You can either be upset about your situation, or you can just move forward and make the most of it.” I realized that my attitude was directly related to everything about my recovery. The more I took everything in stride and tried to have positive attitude, the more it made everything easier. And it made everyone else around me happier.
Fast forward 20 months and I am reminding myself of this conversation. Knowing this would be an easier surgery and recovery, it was still a bit of a bummer. While I had more than enough cycling miles for the season, I was looking forward to an off season of strength training, lots of skiing, and a big bucket list ski trip in January to Japan. Did I mess up this trip– a trip that is already paid for? Am I going to be ready to ski several days in a row? Will my arm be healed? My head spun in an induced haze.
Meeting with my surgeon quickly helped me tackle the first step in recovery. Knowing the severity and prognosis gave me a timeline and something to plan for. Everything about my pelvis was longer and more complicated. While not entirely a breeze, my arm didn’t seem nearly as bad. With both injuries, while there many things I can’t do, I focus on what I CAN do. I can walk. Because I can walk, I can hike, etc.
Currently there are several of my friends who are injured and also in recovery mode instead of play mode. While we laugh about it, it is nice to not be alone this go around. I am much more mobile now and can do many more activities just one week out from surgery than I could last time. Having this perspective has also helped me make the most of it.
It can always be worse….