You don't own Me

When I came to they were cutting my clothes, slashing my favorite pair of shoes off, shoving tubes down my throat, and sticking needles in my arms. It faded black again and I was gone.  Once again I woke up in a strange place. Blinding lights were overhead and they were sliding me on a silver slab, my bare back was chilled and my body was limp. No matter how hard I tried to move my body laid still. No matter what I said they couldn’t hear. I remember feeling terrified. It was a terrible nightmare, infact the worst kind, the kind you can’t wake up from. I woke up thrashing about trying to pull my leg from the traction pullies and I ripped the pin in my knee holding my leg up.

When I finally fully came too it was almost Thanksgiving Day. The hospital room filled with people for support.  Cards from everyone in my school and letters from close friends.  My mom looked at me with such a heavy heart.  It was her that had to explain what happened,  it was her that had to relay the message that I would never be the same. Doctors around the clock and nurses too. I remember saying to a nurse as she tried to help me go to the restroom “I’m 14 I don’t need your help, I can walk.” And as I tried to take a step I fell to the ground. It was then I realized that I was broken. My mom helped me up and we both wept. 

The thing you have to understand about me is even at 14, my world was outdoors. Everything I did was outside. I ran the woods with my friends, rode my bike on dirt tracks we built every summer, I lived and breathed tomboy. I was a wild one and I was proud of it.  I would chant to the boys “Anything you can do I can do better.” if I couldn’t, I would not give up until I could.  

Photo Credit Allyssa Austin

 Until the crisp fall night that a drunk driver threw a wrench into my life. My whole school year was put on hold as I was in rehab. I had suffered a brain injury, multiple broken/ fractured ribs, my femur broken, a lacerated spleen, and I was in a coma state for 2 weeks.  Not only was my leg broken and I needed rehab to walk I also needed rehab to help me talk right again.  My brain was jumbled and I couldn’t process simple words. I was starting all over.  

Doctors told my mom it would be a while before I would be able to play sports again and even longer for me to ride BMX again.  So much “she won’t,  she can’t, she shouldn’t” I was discouraged.

They released me the 2nd week of December. Much sooner than anticipated,  but I would continue home therapy, I would be in a wheel chair, and I was not allowed to start school again until doctors released me to walk down the halls. They had a fear that if I was bumped wrong I would crumble like the great Achilles.

Wheel chair bound, still enjoying recreation therapy.

My first weekend away from my parents I went to my friend Hazel’s house for the weekend. I walked couple miles accrossed the snow and ice on  my crutches to see another of my closest friend, Bubba and his family. I was tired of being cooped up in the house. The cold hurt my leg. I shivered uncontrollably both from cold and pain, but I needed to be outside. I NEEDED to ride a bike, go fishing, and walk through the woods. I was determined that when summer came I would be myself again. I continued my therapy and I contiued to push.

8th Grade Graduation night, 82lbs

 

When summer came, I felt like I was recovered, but The first time I went to ride a bike it was excruciating. I failed, I wasn’t myself. The pain was strong, but I was stronger. I fell only to get back up.  I cried only to push through. When the physical therapist told me he had cancer and we could fight together, the rage in me to be stronger grew like a wild fire.  He lost his hair, but contiued to push me.  He said to me ” The cancer doesn’t own me, it never will. You’re an extremly strong young lady, don’t let this own you. Fight”. 

Fight is exactly what I did. I fought to enjoy the things I did before. I pushed to be better than I was before. Freshman year came, I was still in therapy 3 days a week. I struggled in school because much of my 8th grade year I spent in a hosptial bed. 

 Freshman year I was angry and confused.  So I would stay home from school to sneak outside when mom left.  Breath the fresh air, climb on my bike, and just ride.  I had not been released to ride my bike yet. My femur had not completely healed and one wrong fall I could rebrake it. I knew better, if I could just get outside and back on my bike, I would heal. My broken spirit would come back to life. So I skipped school to walk in the woods, ride on the trails, and listen to the sound of my tires hitting the ground.  

Sophomore year the rods were finally removed, so once again they put me on restriction. And once again I pushed and I didn’t listen to them. I was strong willed. The words “Dont let it own you” repeated in my head like a box of firecrackers.

Shortly after sophomore year I heard that the cancer had taken Brads life. He fought with me and he pushed me, and he was on my side. I know he was saying all the way to the end “You don’t own me” Brad had his own battle,  but that didn’t mean he’d give up in mine. Brad pushed me to say “YOU DON’T OWN ME”.

In loving memory of Brad, thank you for not giving up on me and teaching me that nothing owns us unless we let it.  ❤Mickey 

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