Janine shepherd: a Broken body does not mean that a broken man
Seventy nine million three hundred ninety six thousand four hundred eighty
Ski racer Janine Shepard dreamed about Olympic medals, while during a training bike ride, she was hit by a van. She shares a powerful story about the human ability to recover. She is convinced that you are not your body, the rejection of old dreams will allow you to follow new.
Life is all about possibilities, to create them and use them, and for manyaata had a dream about the Olympics. It made me determined. It was my happiness.
Being a ski racer and a member of the national team of Australia in skiing, ahead of the winter Olympics, I went on a training bike ride with my buddies on the team.We drove up, heading to the picturesque Blue mountains West of Sydney, was a perfect autumn day: sunshine, the smell of eucalypt and a dream. Life was good. We drove for about five and a half hours, and got to that part of the trip that I loved — it was the hills, because I loved these hills. I got up from the Bicycle seat became hard to pedal, and, breathing the cold mountain air and feeling like it burns my lungs, I looked up to feel the sunlight on my face.
And suddenly everything went black. Where am I? What's going on? The pain consumed my body. I was hit by a speeding van 10 minutes before the end of the trip. I was picked up from the scene of the accident and a rescue helicopter were taken to a large spinal Department in Sydney. I received extensive damage, life-threatening. Neck and spine was broken in six places.Five ribs on the left side was broken. The right hand was broken. Collarbone was broken.Several bones in the foot were broken. The whole right side was ripped open, filled with gravel. The head was split, the skin is lifted, exposing the skull. I had a head injury. I had internal injuries. I had massive blood loss. In fact, I lost about five litres of blood — that is all that should be in the body of a man my size. By the time the helicopter landed at the hospital of Prince Henry in Sydney, my blood pressure was 40 to zero. I had a very bad day. (Laughter)
More than 10 days I was between the two measurements. I was aware that I was in your body, but at the same time, and outside of the body somewhere in other place, watching everything from a height, as if it was happening to someone else. Why I was wanting to return to this body that was so broken?
But the voice kept calling me: "Well, stay with me!"
"No. It's too hard".
"Come on. This is our chance".
"No. This broken body can no longer serve me."
"Well, come on. Stay with me. We will do that. We can do this together."
I was at a crossroads. I knew that if I'm not back in my body, I'll have to leave this world. It was the fight of my life. After 10 days I decided to return to his body and internal bleeding stopped.
Then I began to worry if I'll walk again, because below the belt I was paralyzed. My parents said that the fracture of the neck without displacement, but the back was completely crushed. The L1 vertebra was like a peanut that's been dropped, stepped on him and crumbled into thousands of pieces. I had to have surgery. Came to me, I laid on the bean pouf, cut me, literally cut in half — I was left with a scar that encircles the entire body. From my spinal cord pulled as many pieces as I could. I removed two broken ribs and restored back. L1 — restored it drew even one broken rib, and unify T12, L1 and L2. I was stitched up. It took an hour to get me stitched up. I woke up in the ICU, and the doctors were very excited because the operation was successful: at this stage I had little movement in the big toe, and I thought, "Cool! I'm going to the Olympics!" (Laughter) I had no idea. Thought stokeslets with others but not with me.
Then came the doctor and said, "Janine, the operation was successful, and we pulled out of your spinal cord as many bone fragments as they could, but the damage is irreversible.The nerves of the Central nervous system will not recover. You have partial paralysis of the lower extremities, and you will all comorbidities. You have no sensitivity below the belt, and in the best case, it will recover by 10-20%. The rest of your life you will have the disruption of the internal organs. You have to use a catheter the rest of my life. And if you're still going to go, then only with tires and a walk-around". And then she said, "Janine, you need to rethink everything you've ever done in my life, because you'll never be able to do it."
I tried to make sense of her words. I was an athlete. I only knew it. I did just that. If I can't do this anymore, then what am I gonna do? I asked myself this question: if I can't do this anymore, then who am I?
I was transferred out of ICU to the spinal ward. I was lying on a thin, hard spinal bed. My legs wouldn't move. I put on dense stockings to avoid blood stagnation. One hand I was in a cast, the other a drip. On the neck I had braces, head lined with sandbags, and the world I saw through the mirror that hung above her head. With me in the house there were five other people, but what is striking: we have not seen each other, because we were all lying paralyzed in the spinal ward. How amazing is it? How often in life you make friends non-judgmental, it is only through the spiritual? And there wasn't any supernatural conversations we just shared their innermost thoughts, fears, and our hopes for life after the spinal ward.
I remember that one evening included one nurse — Jonathan — with a whole bunch of plastic straws. He hoisted it on top of each pile of straws, and said, "get them to join," Well, do we still had nothing, so we listened. And when we were done, he silently walked us all in turn joined all of the straws, so the circle is closed, and said,"Well, hold your straws" And we did. He said, "Fine. Now we're all connected" as long as we stayed, we were breathing in unison — we know that none of us is alone in this journey. And even in a spinal ward, paralyzed, I periyapuranam deep and bright moments of confidence and unity that did not exist before in my life. And each of us knew that after discharge we will not be returning to his former life.
Six months later I was discharged. I remember dad carrying me in the chair, all in plaster, and I remember the feeling of sunlight on her face for the first time. I greedily absorbed it and thought about how I could ever take it for granted? I was incredibly grateful for my life.But before I left the hospital, the head nurse said to me: "Janine, I want you ready because when you come home, something will happen." I said, "What?" And she said, "you'll Have a depression." And I said, "not me! Not Janiny machine!"This was my nickname. She said, "you, too, will, because everybody does. In the spinal unit, all is fine. You're in a wheelchair. This is normal. But when you come home, you realize how different your life".
And I came home and something happened. I realized sister Sam was right. I really became depressed. I was in a wheelchair. I had no sensitivity below the belt, I was with a catheter. I could not walk. I lost a ton of weight in the hospital that now weighed about 36 kg. And I wanted to give up. All I need then is to put on your running shoes and run out into the street. I wanted to bring back the old life. I wanted to get your body.
And I remember my mother sitting on the edge of my bed, she said: "Will we ever all right again?"
And I thought, "How can it be good? I lost everything I valued, everything he was striving for. Lost it all." I asked the question: "Why me? Why me?"
And then I remembered their friends who remained in the Department, especially Maria. Maria was in a car accident and woke up on the day of his 16th birthday to discover that she was completely paralyzed. She couldn't move from the neck down, her vocal cords were damaged and she could not speak. I said, "We'll Vitebsk to it: it may be in her favor". I was worried about. I didn't know how I would feel next to her. I thought it would be a challenge, but it turned out to be a blessing, because Maria is constantly smiling. She was always happy and even when she spoke again, though she was hard to understand, she never complained, not once. And I wondered how she was able to take it all.
Then I realized that it wasn't just my life. It was life itself. I realized that it wasn't just my pain. It was a total pain. Then I realized just as before that I had a choice. I could keep fighting this or I could let go and accept not only my body, but the circumstances of my life. That's when I stopped asking "Why me?" And began to ask: "why not me?" Then I thought that actually the foot of the mountain is a great place to start.
I never considered myself a creative person. I was an athlete. My body was a machine. And now I was going to start the most creative project that someone started to rebuild my life. And although I did not know what I would do in that uncertainty was a feeling of freedom. I was no longer limited to a clear purpose. I had the freedom to explore the unlimited possibilities of life.This realization began to change my life.
Sitting at home in a wheelchair plastered, I saw airplanes and thought to myself: "Here it is! If I can't walk, I could fly". I said, "Mom, I'm going to learn to fly." She said, "Okay, honey." (Laughter) I said, "tell me reference". She gave me the phone book and I called the flight school. I made the order, said that he would like to come to fly. I said, "have You set a date?" I said, "Well, I should learn from friends who can take me because I can't drive. Well, walking too. Is that a problem?" I made the order, and a few weeks later my friend Chris and my mom drove me to the airport, all my 36 kg, covered with tire top and baggy overalls. (Laughter) I can say that I did not look like the perfect candidate to receive flight certificates. (Laughter) I kept behind the counter because I can't stand. I said, "hi! I came on a flying lesson."They looked at me, walked away and began to throw a lot. "You take her." "No, you take it."Finally came a guy and said, "hi. My name is Andrew and I'm your instructor." I said, "Cool." Gave me a ride, put it on concrete, and here was this red, white and blue plane. He was beautiful. I was lifted into the cab. They had to drag me on the wing to push in the cockpit. I sat. Everywhere there were buttons and dials. I said, "Wow! As you know, what do all these buttons and dials?" Instructor Andrew took the controls, brought the plane. He said, "you Wanna drive?" Here it was necessary to press the rudder pedals to control the aircraft on the ground. I said, "No, my legs do not act." "Oh...". I continued: "But my hands are". And he said, "Okay"
He overcame the runway, added power. When we overclocked on vzletke, the chassis began to rise from the cover, and we took off, I felt incredible freedom. And when we left training airfield, Andrew said to me: "See that mountain up there?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, then, take the helm and fly to the mountain." I again looked, and realized that he was pointing at the Blue mountains, where I began my journey. I took the wheel and flew. Now I was far away from the spinal division and it was then that I realized that I would become a pilot. I had no idea how to pass the medical. But I wasn't worried about it because at the time I had a dream. Then I came home, prepared a training diary, and made a plan. I learned to walk as long as I could: first, I was supported by two men, then one, and I was able to walk holding on to furniture, but only if she was close to each other. And then I move around a lot: I learned to walk around the house holding the wall like this. The mother said that she always followed me, wiping my fingerprints. (Laughter) But, at least she always knew where I was.
So while the doctors continued to operate on me, gathering my body, I continued to cram materiel, and finally — surprisingly — passed the medical examination, now the way to flight was open.I all the free time spent in the flight school, although it was tough on all these guys that wanted to be Qantas pilots and I'm forever hopping on one foot, first in plaster, then in steel tyres in baggy overalls with a bag of medication and catheters, lame... They looked at me and thought, "Well, who's she trying to fool? She will never be able to do it." Sometimes I thought so. But it didn't matter, because inside of me something was burning and it was much more important than my injuries.
I continued to move forward with small goals and, finally, I received a private flight certificate, then I learned to fly and began to roll friends over Australia. Then I learned to fly twin-engine aircraft and received a discharge on them. Then I learned to fly in bad weather as well as in a good — lettered in instrument flight. And then I got a commercial flight certificate. Then I got the instructor level. Then I was in the same flight school where I first flew, only now I was taught to fly other people. Only one and a half years after spinal division.(Applause)
And then I thought: "Why not go even further? Why not learn to fly upside down?" And I learned to fly upside down and became an instructor in aerobatics. And mom and dad? Never came to see. Then I clearly realized that despite the fact that my body might be limited, my spirit is invincible.
Philosopher Lao Tzu said, "When you let go of what you are, you become what could be." Now I know that as long as I never let go of what I thought was my essence, I couldn't create a whole new life. Until then, until I let go of the life you have imagined, I could not live the life that was expected of me. Now I realize that my real strength never was in the body. And despite the fact that my physical ability has changed, I remained the same. A gift from the pilot was my gift, the same gift that is in each of us.
I know that I am not my body. And that you are not your body. It does not matter how you look, where you come from and how do you do for a living. The only thing that matters is that we continue to fan the flames of human potential, living their lives, so as to reveal their true abilities, because we are all connected by millions of straws. And now it's time to connect them and listen. And if we want to move to our General happiness, we need to stop focusing on individuals and instead to use spiritual qualities.