Friday, August 1, 2014

Really Gotta Wanna... RECOVER!


Its crazy to think, just a month ago I was getting surgery in Portland Oregon for my broken back (see the last blog post). I was not only insanely fortunate in the accident and how I broke my back, but in the recovery as well. Seeing as the two vertebrae I broke are the two which don't move very much I was released for walking the day after my surgery, and for simple/ moderate activities (stationary biking and swimming) after a week.

Any of you who know me through snowboarding, know that I don't really have a "slow" or "moderate" switch... I pretty much only have a "go" switch, which is full blast. This characteristic; which may haunt me later in life is consistent through exercise and most other activities I partake in. Let's just say that simple stationary biking has already turned into 35 miles in an hour and a half, and casual swimming is full laps and movement for a solid hour. 

On that same note I'd cut out my pain meds two weeks after surgery and have been fully drug free now for a week and am feeling about as mobile as ever. My level of pain is low and consists mainly in my lower back where I most likely blew out some muscles. 

I know many of you have been following my progress through my social media posts and what not, which I can't say how much I appreciate. But wanted to tell everyone how much all the support, well wishes and messages have kept me motivated and having a positive attitude.  I couldn't be doing this with out all of your support, and am so grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Things don't always go the way you plan...

Just over two weeks ago I experienced an accident that if nothing else has opened my eyes. 

For those of you who have not heard I was snowboarding up on Mt. Hood Oregon, and broke my back. Now as human nature has shown our minds immediately imagine the worse; No I'm not paralyzed, and yes I will snowboard again. Neither of these things were a given when the accident happened though, and I am truly blessed to be able to say they are the truth.

Now with that out there I'd like to you to remember no one really knows what's next for our lives. Ive always chose to live with this mentality; the idea that you never know, so live everyday to the fullest. An accident like this makes this mentality a little more of a challenge, but when it comes to being passionate about something we always have to weigh the risks. For me it has always been with more passion tends to come more risk. Like many of you out there I am a thrill seeker, but I've come to seek my thrills through snowboarding. Snowboarding isn't necessarily the riskiest activity out there, but I'm personally not satisfied unless I'm pushing myself; learning a new move, going just a bit faster, or sending a feature a little bigger.

Back to my recent injury and the situation leading up to it. I mentioned risks and at no point had I imagined what happened to even be a near possibility. It was a feature myself as well as plenty of people had hit, I was just attempting to jump it a bit differently. As I said before I'm not content unless I'm pushing myself which is exactly what was happening here. The feature in it's most simple state is a mellow hip jump; meaning you go off straight and land going 90 degrees the other direction, or across the slope (see diagram to the right). This feature has been in the same spot and relatively the same shape for the past three years, and I've always had the urge to send it all the way over, like your classic table top. Unfortunately for me this hasn't normally been a possibility, but for some reason this year it just looked "do-able". Now a major reason it's not "do-able" is the cat track that runs wraps along the bottom edge of the landing. With my passion to push the limits I found a way around the cat track and spent my lunch building a little jump from the landing over the flat area (cat track). With this jump in place I had a feeling that it would a cool unique line that hadn't been done yet.

I have to say with out hitting the feature and even if you had it was hard to really see the potential in my newly created feature. For me on the other hand I had actually prepared, calculated and dialed in the chances of the feature working. I had maxed out the hip feature, literally as big as possible with out running into the cat track. And actually hit my "new feature" about 5 times before calling over a filmer and photographer to get the shot. In those 5 previous attempts my speed seemed on point, and trajectory right on mark. I honestly can't say I know or will ever know what wrong, whether I went just a little faster or maybe popped a bit harder, but the next thing I knew I was missing my landing spot and floating over the whole landing (see diagram). 

Let me start by refreshing the idea that I was truly lucky and had it not been for some great medical staff, friends and ski-patrol I'm not sure id be walking today. As I had basically flown 90ft straight to flat I was forced to stay flat and for the next 30 minutes, to do something I had yet to do for my entire life; sit absolutely still. I knew it was crucial but, everything in my body just wanted to jump up and run around. Any ways, once again with the help of my great friends and great ski patrol I made it safely to bottom of timberline and to the care unit there where I was first checked and waited for the ambulance. From there I was transported by ambulance from T-Line to Welches where I would be picked up
by life flight. Back breaks are an interesting/ scary injury, mainly due to the uncertainty. So no lack of precautions we're taken in transport to Portland. The goal was to keep me 100% stationary until X-Ray/MRI just incase there was a spinal issue.

After a quick yet expensive heli ride (27K), I made it to the trauma unit at legacy Emmanuel hospital in Portland where I was taken maculate care of. From there my blur of a night consisted of cutting off my snowboard gear, getting an CAT scan, MRI than patiently waiting an opportunity to go into surgery. About 24 hours later I was in surgery getting my L1/T12 aligned with 4 Titanium skrews and 2 rods. Lucky for me this new titanium armor creates a bit of an internal back brace and allowed me to walk the very next day.

Let me pause here to say for the next 4 days in the hospital I was pleasantly greeted by way more friends than I could have ever imagined! Thanks to the support of all these friends and the multitude of messages I received I never would have been able to stay in such high spirits. AGAIN I can not begin to express my gratitude for all the messages, visits and positivity from everyone!!!!

Recovery... To be Continued...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014



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