It’s been 5 years. Can you believe that? It’s so crazy! Sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like a dream that never happened. I think this week it’s been feeling close because I had to have a small surgery on the toe on my bad leg and have been driving my car with my amazing left foot gas pedal. Brings back so many memories. Remember when I was trying to learn to drive with my left foot and I thought I would surely kill someone? Now it’s second nature and I don’t even have to think about it.
Five years is a long time. But it is also not that long. A lot of things have changed. I moved away from NY. I bought a house last year! I have (almost) 3 nieces and 1 nephew since the bombing. My parents have also moved to live near my sister and I. I’ve travelled to so many places since the bombing. I’ve grown in so many ways. I think I still have a long ways to go. A lot to learn. But who doesn’t?
I thought I’d share some clips from 2013. In case you haven’t known me long, and don’t know what I’m even talking about. Here’s a BLAST from the past. (pun intended) It’s long so I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all! (there’s some pics at the bottom too!)
Today I met Steve. Steve was in the ambulance with me when we rode to the hospital. He was watching the marathon with his 4 year old son. He was hurt far worse than I. But all I remember from the ambulance ride is him holding my hand and alternating a between telling me it was going to be ok, and yelling at the medics to find his son who was now all alone. He held my hand the whole way. i have been wondering about him. How he was doing. Did they ever find his son? So today, then the nurse told me the man who rode in the ambulance with me was hoping to see me before he left for rehab, I was of course eager to see him. He came in on a stretcher, on his way out of the hospital. when he saw me tears formed in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. I of course started crying as well. his son had been missing when we were together in the ambulance so I inquired after him first. They foun him and he only had a small scratch on his head an was fine. Thank God. And Steve? He said he was fine. But I pushed. Really fine? No. His leg was missing from the knee down. I cried even more. My leg is useless and probably will be for a very long time, but at least I have it. Steve is going to the same rehab center that I am so as he was pulled out of my room we promised to find each other. I don’t know Steve. But I know he held my hand during some off the scariest moments of my life. And for that I will be eternally grateful.
When the bomb went off, something made a huge gash in the back of my right leg right near the bend of my knee. It is about a 9-10 inch horizontal cut. It was so deep that it severed my main artery and 2 main nerves. I lost a ton of blood. I think I got at least 4 units, but I’m not sure if I got more than that. My left leg has some cuts on it as well, but nothing that required stitches or anything. It is all black and blue and ugly with scratches and cuts, but it will heal fine. Back to my right leg. So in my first surgery they repaired my artery and cleaned it all up. A portion of my calf was also cut off/blown off? But it was small so it’s not like I’ll have a huge gap in the back of my leg where my calf should be :-). Ok so second surgery I have no idea what they did. Third surgery they reattached my nerves and closed up the wound. My entire leg is in a splint with my knee kept bent at an angle. The reason for this is so that the nerves don’t get stretched while they are trying to heal. I also have a boot on my foot. I am getting a hard cast on Tuesday and it will again be my entire leg. And I’m sure I will keep the boot on my foot.
My foot has no feeling. I have a small spot in the arch of my foot where I can feel if someone is touching me, but other than that, nothing. I also can’t move my foot or my ankle. This is because of the nerves being cut. Nerves repair at a very slow rate. In my case, since the nerve now has to “grow” from my knee to my toes, they said it will take roughly 400 days for the nerve to get all the way down. So I may not feel, or be able to move my toes for over a year. I’m not sure what this means for walking. Also, since it is my right leg this also means I may not be able to drive for over a year. Which is a very frustrating thought!
Since the nerves have been reattached I have CRAZY nerve sensations going on all in my foot and toes which is a really good sign, but still no feeling.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
First of all, there must have been hundreds of angels all around us. The new Chris Tomlin song Whom Shall I Fear kept running through my head. “The God of Angel armies is always by my side”. So yes, I believe there were angels all around us. We were so close to the bomb, we should be hurt much worse, or even dead. Although our injuries are extensive, they should have been much worse. Second, Colton brought this up to me today. People keep asking “where was God in all of this?” Just look at the pictures. Look at the chaos and then look at me or Rebekah, or Peter or Kim or Colton. That’s where God was. We are His children, filled with His Spirit. In the midst of chaos, He WAS there. Third, I believe that God gave us so so much grace. Grace to think clearly. To know how to respond in trauma. To know to tie tourniquets. Or to coach people to breathe. Or to know how to communicate with the first responders. Not one of us lost control or freaked out.
Someday I’m sure I will look at the pictures. But I just want you to know today, that God was there. He was with us. We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for Him. And as we are experiencing more and more of His grace everyday, we are amazed and speechless and we just keep clinging to Him.
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side
left footed gas pedal installed in my car
Toe off AFO that I wore after my leg brace. I had this on my leg for almost a year.
After the wound healed, it looks a bit better than this now, but these are my scars.
Full leg brace for MONTHS and crutches for 8 months.
These two are COMING TO SEE ME TODAY! But they were my first outing I think. They took me out for coffee after they flew in from Kansas to visit me when I got out of the hospital. (yes I’m in a wheelchair)