You love to run. What would you do if you suddenly lost that ability? It's human nature to wish for something more instead of celebrating what we already have.
On July 28, 2013, my life changed forever. I had an accident practicing acrobatic yoga, which resulted in a C6 incomplete spinal cord injury. Initially, I was paralyzed from the neck down and I was hospitalized for 1 month. I had to learn my new body and hope to regain some mobility. I always considered myself an athlete: a marathon runner, rock climber, mountain biker, and snow boarder. Not only did I lose my identity as an athlete, but I also thought I lost my career as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist. In the past, running was one way to manage my stress. I felt completely lost and didn't know how to cope with the new life that I was suddenly forced to face. My role has completely flipped, as I became a patient to receive therapy instead of providing therapy.
With help from numerous outstanding health care providers, generous support from friends and co-workers, my stubbornness/determination and some luck, I regained the ability to walk. I also returned to climbing as an adaptive climber with help from the non-profit organization called Paradox Sports based in Boulder, CO. Through this experience, I realized that I am still the same person who loves physical activities and has the heart of an athlete despite my disability. I felt a tremendous accomplishment when I first walked 1 mile on my own which took me nearly 30 minutes. Over the next 2 years, I kept increasing my speed and duration of walking just like how I used to train for marathons.