Newlywed at 26, I was a young girl who loved to hike, travel, and exercise. That was until April 26, 2015, when I fractured my cervical spine in a car rollover accident in Southern California while my husband and I were on the eighth day of our hiking and camping honeymoon road trip across the US.
I fractured the C5, C6, and C7 levels of my neck in different places as well as my left distal ulna and fifth metacarpal. My husband did not suffer any serious injuries, but I could have easily died or been completely paralyzed given mine. I am alive, I can walk, and I have full control of all my limbs – for these I am truly thankful.
After five different times on the operating table (including two involving my spine), three neck braces, and a year and two months of slow but steady healing, I’m proud to say that I’m practically back to my pre-accident self again.
How to read this blog
I began this blog after my second neck surgery in September 2015, meant to be read from beginning to end to reveal my story of willful determination despite my physical and emotional struggles. See the complete reading list here starting from “What happened?”, reading my story just like a book.
Why is this blog called “Keeping my head up high”?
It’s a pun for:
- Staying positive and proud despite everything I’ve been through, and
- Having my head literally held upright by all the neck braces I’ve had to wear.
At present, I live in Toronto, Canada with my husband. After the car accident, I successfully returned to my (pretty intense) job working rotations as an Underground Mine Geologist in Northern Ontario, and I still work underground to this day! Though I lost around 15% of my neck’s normal range of motion with the fusion surgery, it is functional for daily life, driving and my work. I still live with 3/10 pain and stiffness on a daily basis but it is manageable without medication. I continue to stay healthy and active by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly (and/or obsessively?), which were key to my recovery.
My main restrictions are:
- No falling
- No rollercoasters
- No wall/rock climbing
- No bungee jumping
- Or any other crazy activities that can cause sudden shock/impact to my spine. But running is okay for me now 😊
Any questions/comments about my experiences in neck braces and in recovery can be directed to 😀