As many of you already know, I suffered a horrible training accident on January 8th. I was in the hospital for six days and am now staying at my parents’ house while I recover. The accident happened on Highway 35/Skyline Blvd. After three hours of hill repeats up my favorite climb, Old La Honda, I started my descent towards home (according to my Garmin I was going 45mph). My last memory is of looking over my left shoulder and seeing a truck. I don’t know exactly what happened but I was knocked unconscious, an ambulance was called to the scene, and I was taken to the Stanford Hospital emergency room. I really have no memory of the crash or basically the first couple days after the crash. I have horrible flashbacks of getting my nose put back into place, etc. (everything painful) but in general, almost everything else is hazy. I am not over exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I am lucky to be alive. I could have easily been paralyzed, suffered extreme brain damage, or died. I suffered several fractures in my face and skull, stitches on my arm and face, a fractured pelvis, a concussion, and deep lacerations in both of my knees (and I fear worse damage). I am so thankful for the doctors and nurses that helped me at Stanford and for the loving support of my family who were there for me through it all. My father-in-law even flew in from Australia. The crash probably scared all of them more than it did me and I am so sorry to put them all through this.
Now that I am out of the hospital, I am taking recovery one day at a time. For those of you who know me, you know that I hate sitting around. I am virtually unable to “relax” and if I am unable to move, I become extremely frustrated. So, recovery won’t be easy for me. I am basically supposed to rest my body and brain all day. So far, I am keeping a positive attitude but I know I will have my good and bad days. The fact that I was so lucky has made the recovery process relatively easy for me so far. Of course, I would have been luckier if the crash never happened but since it did, I am just so lucky to have not suffered a worse fate. This keeps me positive. The support of my husband and family has also helped immensely and every single flower, gift, card, call, and note has made me feel so much better. There are a lot of people who have been so nice and I will never forget their kindness during this time.
To put it plainly, I have no idea when I will be fit again. I have a bunch of follow-up appointments at Stanford next week. Recovery definitely won’t be quick since fractures don’t heal overnight but I do expect to make a full recovery. In the meantime, I will continue eating soup and frozen yogurt and drinking protein shakes, hoping to keep a bit of strength. So far I have been healing well and the doctors have attributed this to my fitness and strength. To be honest, I was probably at one of my strongest points ever when I crashed (muscle wise, probably not cycling fitness wise). I had just come back from two weeks of training at altitude and was feeling really good. This whole process has proven to me how important it is to always stay healthy as it makes such a difference in quality of life, recovery, etc.
I am hesitant to post photos of what I looked like post crash because it looks like I was beaten up by Mike Tyson. I am happy to send photos to individuals though if you’d like to see. Instead, I attached a photo of me a couple of days ago before going for my “workout” (walking to the end of the driveway and back). I also posted a photo of what my helmet strap looked like after it was cut from my head. My helmet did save my life and let me tell you, it doesn’t look so pretty.
Thanks again to everyone who has shown their love and support. Ride safe, wear a helmet, and be grateful for life! Oh, and GO 49ers!!!