Explosion of a Femur and a Year of Plans.

Just the beginning of March 2017, my year was real busy but going really smooth. Joined a kickball league about a year ago, on a team full of old and new friends that eventually grew into a little kickball team family. It was another beautiful night of Lowcountry weather, the game was real competitive and  fun, nothing unusual for a kickball night. It came down to the last play which ended up being my last play for a while. In a freak accident of sorts… I managed to break my femur, crack a rib, and partially collapse my lung.  Simultaneously making my year broken, my hope cracked and life  partially collapsed. However, all things heal, especially with help. This is the beginning of that story, the part that set the tone for the rest of this journey…

 

A normal start to a great week, headed out to the Elk’s lodge to have a fun and competitive night of kickball with some of my best friends. The game was a great one, close score all the way. Now it’s kickball but don’t let that diminish the fact that people are going all out while playing. I have had my fair share of diving, jumping, sprinting, throwing and cutting in the ground but that’s the thing about playing a sport or activity outside the normal positions that your body is used to getting into. This is why athletes train their bodies to the extreme but still injuries occur…So the last play of game came down to an out at home that involved me and a baserunner. The play was an all out sprint to home..the baserunner saw I was going to beat him to the plate and made a smart move to stop running and dodge my throw so going from full on sprint and tag, it was an extremely quick stop I had to make with my body in order to make a chest pass type throw at him from about 10 feet away, unfortunately I planted/SLAMMED my foot down, unknowingly, into an uneven spot on the ground, making my upper body rotate awkwardly  and causing my right leg to torque violently …the momentum from the sprint/force of my body all came stopping onto that one point on my femur. I felt something inside of my right leg explode,  paired with the momentum of the sprint still carrying me and my leg locked up immediately, my body launched into the air and onto my shoulders, ribcage and face where I came to a sliding halt. I rolled a few times in pain but once I stopped. The pain kind of vanished and the realization gathered, like fog over water, that something horrible happened to my body. I had to remain in the prone position, laying on my belly because I couldn’t move my right leg. The kickball teams nearby slowly gathered around me, my team first. Chris was the first one to me and he knew something right away. I couldn’t really feel any pain but knew something was really wrong…

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This is where and how I landed. Obviously right leg is cranked oddly and aggressively to the right side. I forget her name but she was really kind! Sock game was on point.

Laying still face down in the hospital bed after a relatively smooth ride with a cool first responder I was transferred to a hospital bed and setup in one of the front ER rooms….the Xray machine was setup with the screen at the doorway where Mallory, the nurse aid and technician were standing. I was expecting to hear news along the lines that I dislocated my hip…the technician takes the first picture and a moment later as it pops up on the screen that I hear, “Oh no honey, what did you do?” from the Tech and a gasp from Mallory. My femur was broken. Bad.

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Pre-Surgery X-ray…Those two parts should be aligned..Definitely not a dislocated hip.

I felt the explosion of my year of plans happen immediately; certain goals I wanted to achieve with my body physically, plans to go on my first airplane flight to one of my brother’s, Michael Mitchell’s bachelor party in Houston in 2 weeks that no longer was an option, financial goals that I wanted to achieve, coaching and training with my Crossfit Charleston family ..the list went on. So just like when I hit the ground and rolled a few times after the femur breaking, the news and negative thinking only lasted for a time.  From a previous experience in my life, I learned many things. One of them being that, once you receive bad news in your life, you immediately have to change your thinking from, “Man, what the f**k did I do?” to “Alright, what can I do?” So I just asked God to help get my thinking focused on that. Not the financial issues. Not the amount of work I wasn’t going to be able to do. None of the negative. Only the positive. It wasn’t and still isn’t easy but that’s why you ask God for help. Suddenly and subtly I started thinking of the opportunities this created for me; Mainly, the climb back to full health with God’s love being the driving force behind it all. Another example, I have so many books that I have wanted to read, so boom, huge opportunity to expand my mind and rest my body. Learn things that I otherwise wouldn’t take the time for because I would either be working, training, coaching, etc…

Still in first ER room, these thoughts got me through the rolling over onto my back screaming at the top of my lungs in the most pain that I have ever felt in my life, WHOOOOOOAAA WOWZAH STOP. Then the first good news arrived, my kickball team captain and one of my oldest friends Wendy, had already asked me if she could create a GoFundMe campaign to help me face the financial burdens to come. This was within hours of the injury happening. Blessed. People started donating money immediately, strangers first. Blessed. Meanwhile, my head Crossfit Charleston coach brother, Josh was already texting with Mallory telling her that the Crossfit Charleston family had my back and was here to support me. Blessed. Then my parents arrived and the third good news arrived, my part-time land-surveying boss and my Dad had already spoken and worked out a situation where I will be learning how to use computer software to draw the field work my Dad would be doing. Blessed. Still in the ER bed downstairs ..Surrounded by family. My mind surrounded with the great news and my heart full of love..I was fully ready for the challenges ahead. Again I must thank every single one of you that reached out that first night within those first hours, you will never know how much of an impact you had on the way I was able to mentally approach the coming challenges. Day Zero was over and I was ready for Day One: surgery to fix the femur to come.

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Oxygen to help my lung after the fractured rib partially collapsed it. So happy to be done with the roll-over-to- back part. WOW OUCH.

The following day was some what of a short one for me cause I slept the majority of the day off and on, however around 10:30am Josh comes rocking and rolling in with chick fila for milady Mallory who was and has been amazing this entire time.  He and I had a conversation, the dude had already planned a fundraiser workout for me at the box, he had emailed the Crossfit Charleston family and linked my Venmo and GoFundMe campaign to it, and mainly he had ideas about how to get me back in the box , how to keep me moving forward, again using computer software to help the box on social media, opportunities. “No man left behind”is something he really meant. And it was one of the things that helped me start feeling like a human again. Instead of directing thoughts on the negative I was able to focus on these positive projects. One thing that had been universally suggested was a recovery-blog…document everything, tell the story as it happens, be honest, demonstrate discipline and stay focused. Not just to tell a story but also keep people that I don’t talk to everyday that have helped me so much informed on how I am doing. At first I was hesitant because I didn’t know where to begin when creating a website nor how the hell to even type one up. Again, an opportunity to learn. So I just told Mallory to start taking pictures and videos of everything from there on out.

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Josh Hartzell…truly one of the greatest people I know. Mentor. Coach. Brother. Friend. Thank You.

After Josh’s very uplifting visit it was back to sleep. Dr. Merrill was great through the whole day before surgery. He visited me and said he had a plan A and a plan B for when he got into my leg and that surgery was going to be later that night. It was my first major surgery, first time under anesthesia, but honestly I was just ready to get to the next step in the healing process. They rolled me out of the waiting room of surgery, high-fiving my family was the last thing I remembered until I woke up after the surgery. Plan A worked. Rod from top of femur all the way to right above to about 3 inches from end of femur. Blessed. Again without the fuel and fire of the words and prayers of the community and God’s love…I would not have been as mentally prepared or hungry for the next day…

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Post-Surgery X-rays Top 😳
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Post Surgery X-Rays Bottom 😶

To be continued, up next Day 3 through Day 5…

“After all, few could climb Mt. Everest tomorrow, though virtually all could begin preparing.”

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