Keeping my head up high

A blog on recovering from a broken neck injury

Binge read

This is my story in chronological order, meant to be read from beginning to end just like a book. I broke it down into shorter stories (200 to 1,500 words, three- to eight-minute reads) with many pictures of all my beautiful neck braces (said no one ever about neck braces…).

Short-story version here

(Approx. 15 minutes reading time)


  1. Our wedding
  2. The honeymoon that was cut short, Part 1
  3. The honeymoon that was cut short, Part 2

Part 1: Tragedy strikes

  1. “What happened?”
  2. My neck injury

Part 2: In my oh-so-wonderful halo brace

California, USA – 3  1/2 months

Read my halo how-to guide here

  1. Day 2 at the hospital: Getting the halo
  2. Day 2 at the hospital: Other notable events
  3. Walking away from reality
  4. A hard week
  5. What it’s like to live in a hospital
  6. All stapled and sewn up
  7. Discharge day
  8. California girl, Part 1
  9. California girl, Part 2
  10. How staying active got me through the worst of times
  11. Walking the road to a speedy recovery
  12. California girl, Part 3
  13. Getting my left arm back
  14. Judgement day
  15. Me minus five pounds of metal

Part 3: In the Minerva jacket (i.e., I CAN TAKE A SHOWER NOW)

California, USA and Toronto, Canada – 1 month

Read my Minerva jacket how-to guide here

  1. Enjoying every last bit of SoCal
  2. “I’m coming home, I’m coming home”
  3. Like after your house burned down
  4. Amongst family and friends
  5. An unexpected development
  6. “Just take it one day at a time”
  7. The start of a culinary adventure
  8. Broken neck in waiting

Part 4: Life gets 100 times better in an Aspen collar

Toronto and Québec City, Canada – 3 months

 Read my Aspen collar how-to guide here

  1. Time for surgery… again, Part 1
  2. Time for surgery… again, Part 2
  3. Visitors abound Days 1 and 2 post-op
  4. Week 1 post-op highlights
  5. Wound care at home
  6. How five weeks at home flew by
  7. Why I don’t trust chiropractors
  8. What is a nonunion? What is a bone stimulator?
  9. I can take cooking classes now!
  10. In the airport with a neck brace (video)
  11. Back in our apartment, at last
  12. The newlyweds do Thanksgiving
  13. Becoming “trilingual”: École d’immersion française, 1er Jour
  14. École d’immersion française, 1er Mois
  15. Québec City travel/cooking series
  16. “Tomorrow, tomorrow!”
  17. Prayer, family, and community: What they meant for me

Part 5: Life after a neck brace

Toronto and Québec City, Canada – 7 months

The cost of getting seriously injured (and how to be financially ready for it)

The back-up plan – Scout Magazine Philippines, April 2016

  1. Best day ever, Part 1: FREEDOM
  2. Best day ever, Part 2: What I can and can’t do
  3. Best day ever, Part 3: My first visit to the physical therapist
  4. 15 simple pleasures of the neck brace-free life
  5. “I can move my neck again!”: Week 1, Part 1
  6. “I can move my neck again!”: Week 1, Part 2
  7. My neck-xercises: Month 1
  8. Game time, Part 1
  9. Game time, Part 2
  10. A (self-imposed) slow start back to fitness
  11. Physiotherapy clinic no. 4
  12. Making your physio exercises more bearable
  13. From 30 to 75%: Range of motion milestones
  14. Why workout at home (recovering from an injury or not)
  15. Weight training for a dummy
  16. Because I can’t run anymore: Low-impact workouts for long-term injuries or beginners, Part 1
  17. Because I can’t run anymore: Low-impact workouts for long-term injuries or beginners, Part 2
  18. From neck-braced homebody to part-time athlete and more
  19. “In sickness and in health” indeed
  20. One year later
  21. Needing help
  22. Still in pain: A rant
  23. Strategies to stay productive while recovering from an injury

Part 6: My new normal


  1. The end of an era
  2. From spinal injury to swimming club
  3. So, we got robbed
  4. How I co-wrote a book with a broken neck
  5. Montréal’s new Avanaa Chocolat: A different chocolate experience
  6. A second chance at safety
    1. Article in French: Ma deuxième chance
    2. Article in Spanish: Una segunda oportunidad en seguridad
  7. Happy second wedding anniversary! (x4)
  8. Más fuerte que nunca / Plus forte que jamais
  9. How to prepare for a trip to Latin America? Comment se préparer pour un voyage en Amérique Latine? ¡Aprende español!
  10. Zero to intermediate Spanish in less than 2 months before Mexico: Effective self-study with Assimil
  11. Zero to intermediate Spanish in less than 2 months before Mexico: Incredible progress with BaseLang
  12. Video: Vacaciones en México
  13. More
  14. stories
  15. to
  16. come!


Thank you for taking the time to read my story! 🙂 And my deepest gratitude goes to those involved in my recovery in one way or another!

2 thoughts on “Binge read

  1. Hey there. I just had a car accident last weekend, was sent home, but returned to the hospital 3 days later with neck pain. I knew something wasn’t right. I am now wearing a halo brace and struggling to adapt to it. I just vomited myself, which put a lot of pressure on my sore pin sites. I have a long way to go (10+ weeks) but I’ve heard that you get used to the halo. Is that true? I simply can’t imagine it, just doing anything is driving me crazy. Any thoughts on how to accept it like a friend rather than an enemy? UGH! You kept such a good outlook from what I’ve read! Thanks.


    1. Hi David, I am so sorry to hear about your accident. It honestly doesn’t get any more fun, but you do get used to it. I suggest keeping yourself busy to prevent thinking about how everything just sucks right now. Writing, reading books, and being with my loving husband and family did that for me.
      Trust me, you will make it through. Please feel free to write me anytime at d.p.leblanc2702 at gmail dot com 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: