We are back for another edition of the Laugh Always Spotlight! I am excited to keep meeting people who are willing to share their stories with the world in hopes of providing inspiration to readers out there! Hopefully you can relate to one of these stories! Let me introduce you to Amber! Sustaining an injury that makes your life completely different is a mental challenge in itself. Needing to depend on people to do the simplest of tasks is very challenging. Here is Amber’s story.
My journey started on August 4, 2017. At work as a summer camp teacher for a preschool, I broke my left tibial plateau and changed my life forever. Before my injury, I was a very active, mostly happy person. My husband and I loved to go hiking, explore Richmond and attend festivals. I swam every weekday and ran every other day. At work, I engaged with my students by playing games and engrossing myself in their activities. I loved to cook and clean and care of my house. All of that changed on a field trip at work to the basketball gym.
The field trip went great! The children had a blast running drills, playing games and navigating an obstacle course. To wrap up our trip, we played a game of Sharks and Minnows where the teachers were the sharks and the students were the minnows. As I turned to catch a little minnow, my knee “gave out” when I turned wrong and I fell hard onto the floor. My body immediately went into shock. I could not cry or breathe or ask for help. It took a few minutes for anyone to notice that I was down for the count. I could not stand or put any amount of weight on my left leg. In order to not scare our students, they were quickly ushered onto the busses while we contacted my job, husband and brother-in-law. Then, I had to be carried out of the basketball gym by two men and put into a car, on my way back to work to access my situation. It was immediately determined that I needed to go to the hospital.
At the hospital with my brother-in-law in tow, the pain started to worsen as we found out that I had broken my tibial plateau. That’s right friends, I sustained an injury most common to pro athletes and car accident victims while running with kids at work. I spent four days in the hospital while doctors accessed my pain and surgeons decided when I would have surgery to fix the bone. During this time, my anxiety kicked in to the point that my heart rate would not go below 120 and my oxygen levels would not stabilize. This was the first time I have spent any amount of time in a hospital and was my first major injury. I was eventually sent home with a brace and pain meds, ordered to stay on bed rest until I would report to a different hospital on the 22 of August for surgery.
During my time on bed rest, I did not do well. Before my injury I was active and very independent. After my injury, I had to rely on my brother-in-law and my husband for everything. I had to use a walker in order to get from the couch to the restroom to the bedroom. I also assistance standing up and someone to spot me as I moved. My depression and anxiety made the walls move in on me more and more every day. The pain was barely manageable and that just put me into a darker hole.
Finally, the time for surgery came. My mother made the trip down from New Jersey to be with me seeing as this was my very first surgery and I was nervous out of my mind. The anxiety and nervousness I felt followed me all the way into the operating room. I was later told that it took more medication than usual to sedate me and I cried and begged for them not to do the surgery. All of this I personally do not remember. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room alone and in a lot of pain. They took me up to my room where I got to see my mom, husband and brother-in-law. I spent four days in the medical unit while I built up my strength and will to stand and move around again.
I was then transferred to an inpatient rehab unit to further my progress. There is where I really blossomed and began healing. I was taught how to move using crutches while being non-weight bearing so that I would no longer have to be on bed rest. I was also taught how to care for myself while I was healing and building up my strength after surgery. I spent another four days in the rehab unit before they finally allowed me to return home.
At home, I began to explore my mobility and independence. I still needed a lot of help to complete simple tasks. For example, I could cook dinner for myself and my family, but I could not take my plate to the table. I returned to work shortly after being released from the rehab unit. I went back part time in order to attend therapy two days a week. While at work, I am confined to a chair and need assistance with carrying things or moving things around. Hopefully, when I am fully healed, I will become more useful.
Today, I still attend therapy two times a week and hope to add more hours at work. After three months of being non-weight bearing and using crutches to move, I am finally healed enough to being trying to walk again.
There is still a very long and hard road ahead of me, but with the support of my family and friends, I am finally in a better place mentally and have hope to be walking again for Christmas.
Thank you for reading about Amber’s story. I can’t imagine how with just the simplest of tasks you need to rely on someone to assist you. Thank God Amber had people in her life to help her and seems to have a great support group.
Please connect with Amber through her social media pages!
If you have a story you would like to share, please contact me on any social media platform below or contact me through the website. I would love to showcase your story if you are willing to tell it!
For more stories like Amber’s, please visit the Laugh Always Spotlight section or you can click on this story here —> When the Small Things Become Big
Until next time,
The Laugh Always Spotlight Edition features guest posts from members of the Laugh Always Ambassador Community. Laugh Always has been created to highlight those difficult journeys and to celebrate the badass people that live to share their journey. This is the first edition of the Laugh Always Spotlight!
I want to introduce you to Melissa. Melissa has become one of our first ambassadors and we have been getting to know each other ever since! Little did we know, we are pretty close in distance and in age to one another. It has been great connecting with her so far and I only want to continue to get to know her and learn more about the battle she is facing.
She is VERY creative and her art work is on point. Only by scrolling through her Instagram will you quickly decide this also for yourself. She creates bullet journals and they are amazing!
Melissa has been battling Ulcerative Colitis and Celiac Disease. I personally know a few people in my life who have had a battle with this, and while I don’t know a lot about the disease, I do know it is a difficult journey; especially on the bad days. Please read on for Melissa’s story!
Lord knows I have seen some bad days but thankfully the good days are starting to outweigh the bad! When Lo asked me to guest post on her blog as a part of my ambassador role, I was excited! It has been awesome being a Laugh Always Ambassador as I get to share positivity with others as we travel through our different journeys.
Let me tell you all a little bit about myself. My name is Melissa and I’m 29 years old (the big 30 is only six months away! Lol). I recently got married in May to the love of my life and my biggest support. If it wasn’t for my husband, I don’t know how I would’ve survived my biggest flare up this past year. Also, I’m a Midwest girl. I was born and raised in Chicago then moved to Indiana after college. For my “real life” job, I am a social worker and I enjoy bullet journaling and being creative when it comes to my self care.
My journey with chronic illness started around four years ago when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and Celiacs disease. At the time, I was having some symptoms but nothing that couldn’t be patched up with some medication and a change to my diet. However, that all changed two years ago when my symptoms reared back their ugly head and showed their true selves. For anyone who doesn’t know what Ulcerative Colitis is, it is when the colon becomes inflamed and the body cannot absorb appropriate nutrients. Not only do people affected by Ulcerative Colitis experience malnutrition during a flare, but they also experience multiple trips to the bathroom, the inability to hold their bowels, joint pain, abdominal pain, and the list of physical symptoms go on and on. Emotionally, people affected with UC experience depression, isolation, and anxiety. Today, my colon is back on track of being healthier and happier thanks to oral and IV medications. I still have some bad days but thankfully the good days are starting to outweigh the bad.
One of the best things about my journey is that I recognize how strong I have become over the past year. If it wasn’t for the bad times, I wouldn’t have grown as I have. Not to mention I wouldn’t be as positive as I am today due to what I have experienced. I’ve learned to enjoy the good days more throughout my journey.
It was great having this opportunity and I certainly hope to get to know you all better! Please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or my blog if you have any questions or just want to connect! Thanks for reading 😊
To connect with Melissa and to find out more about her, you can find her on Instagram @these.thoughts.are.mine and her blog is thesethoughtsareminesite.wordpress.com
Thank you for coming to Laugh Always and reading about Melissa’s journey. If you have a journey you would like to share in an upcoming Spotlight Edition, please feel free to contact me through the site here. You can also connect on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with Laugh Always. We would love to add you to our Ambassador group!
We wait for jobs. We wait for opportunities. We wait to see if we will get that promotion. We wait for more income. We wait for the “other” person to make the first move. We wait to travel. We wait for our friends to contact us. We wait for summer, fall, winter or spring. We wait for a “certain” time.
What are the things you have always wanted to do? What are the places you have always wanted to travel to? What is your dream job? What is your dream life?
Answer these questions honestly. Write a list if you must.
My question to you is – Why in the world haven’t you done those things? What is honestly holding you back? More importantly, what are you waiting for? Why don’t you have a plan to tackle these goals?
I used to live someone else’s dream. I lived vicariously through other people and their experiences. I did not go away to college. I did not have the college lifestyle that many people get to have; dorm life, drinking late hours and partying, sorority sisters, frat parties – I had those experiences THROUGH others. It was either my boyfriend that I had at the time or friends I had that were away at school and I would visit them.
Of course, you are age 18-22 and you don’t know what you are doing in life yet. However, I was not having my own experiences. I spent so much of my late teens and early twenties living through others experiences and doing what others wanted to do. I put myself last when this time in my life, I should have been the most selfish. Unfortunately, not many of us realized that!
Life took its toll and took my parents away from me. Still reeling from those deaths, I was shortly diagnosed with cancer on and off for the next 3 years. LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE ALERT!
Once in remission for my final time, all I wanted to do was live life. That was my goal. My friends and I will tell you that this particular summer was probably all of our favorite summers together. We all spent every single day of the summer months together and we all bonded and became so much closer than we already were. One of my best friends and I had an urge to take a trip together. We started to “get into” wine at this point and decided that a trip to Napa Valley was something we wanted to do! It was planned within two months!
Was this something I have always wanted to do? Yes and no. Before this, I had never traveled alone with a friend or planned a vacation by myself. I didn’t know what I was doing, and neither of us had a set plan for going out to Napa, nor was Napa our planned destination. We ended up going for a week with NOTHING on our agenda and decided what we wanted to do once we got there.
I could have had hundreds of excuses. “I don’t want to spend the money”, “I don’t want to travel that far”, or “Let’s wait until next year”. This is something that I have wanted to do and God knows I needed a vacation! It was something I truly wanted to do, so I did it. It is still one of my favorite vacations to this day (yes, it even comes close to my honeymoon in Maui!). I feel my life was finally jump started into finding what I wanted to do specifially in my life and I started learning to become selfish for ME.
Since beating cancer in 2013, I have been to more states and have been on more vacations than I have in my previous 25 years of life. I have been wine tasting in Napa Valley, I have been to Cancun, I have been all over Michigan for weekend stays, I have been to Maui, San Diego and I ran a half marathon in Disney World in Orlando Florida. I already have two vacations planned for 2018 which is Guatemala and a return trip to Napa Valley!
I don’t make six figures a year. I own a house. I have student loans. I have bills to pay. But I make it WORK because it is something that I love doing. I can’t imagine not visiting these places. I can’t imagine not exploring these places in my lifetime. Life has shown me that I should not waste time. It keeps slapping me in the face pretty hard that I can’t take life for granted!
Why do you wait for love to come and find you? You have probably done this in your life before; sat around and maybe you weren’t getting the attention you desired from someone because he/she was not texting you, not calling you, or not making plans. STOP WASTING YOUR TIME WITH THOSE PEOPLE and make it happen with someone else. Life is too short to waste time with people who don’t appreciate you or VALUE time with you. The first time I have EVER asked for a man’s number was the first and last time I ever needed to because I am now married to him. If a relationship is something you really want, go out and find it for yourself and don’t wait for it to come to you!
Why are you waiting to see if your job will turn out better/get a promotion? If you think you deserve better, find something better. You have the entire power in your hands at this moment to apply to any job or find something that better suits you. Do you think you are too old to do something like that? That is also something that shouldn’t hold you back.
My advice to you is to stop waiting. Stop waiting for the right time. Take it from someone who knows and has had many reminders that life is short. This message doesn’t have to be about the “bigger” things in life and that this is a reminder to cut the bull with a former friend over a stupid argument or any grudges that you have with family. This could be about taking chances in all aspects in life. I wanted to share with you how I began to take chances to make my life something that I am PROUD of.
Thank you again for reading!
P.S. – I am looking for Laugh Always Ambassadors! Head on over to the “Ambassador” section up at the top to join spreading the Laugh Always lifestyle and to inspire and motivate those who can’t find the motivation <3. Join the movement!