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Susan’s Reindeer Fun Run Story

My story… oh my.

June 26, 2008 at about 9:36am, while on a mission trip in South Carolina with the youth from Pinehurst United Methodist Church, I climbed a ladder and was going to transfer onto scaffolding to paint the eaves of the house we were working on, but the transfer did not go according to plan and I fell to the ground.  Actually ended up on my bottom and looked out at my right leg and noticed the foot going in a funny direction… looked again and noticed the bone going through the jeans I was wearing.  Ambulance was called.  Went to the local hospital and told they could not do anything.  Ambulance then took me to Spartanburg Hospital where they did the initial surgery.  Woke up with a wound vac and an external fixator on my right leg.  Spent five days there before being transported to Pinehurst.  Dr. David Casey took over my case once here.  It was at this point for the first time that I was told they were just trying to save my leg. I had a compound pilon fracture of the tibia/fibula… shattered the ankle into thirty or forty pieces… and bone that had gone into the ground.  Spent almost three weeks in the hospital here.  Had three more surgeries during that time, one which included bone grafting, with bone from my hip.  Once home… I spent much of my time for the next three months in a hospital bed… still with the external fixator attached.  The ex-fix was taken off in October… but I was still non-weight bearing for many more months.  Wheelchair to walker to cane.  Still lots of metal on the inside.  Many appointments with Dr. Casey… waiting for bone growth.  Healing came slowly… but it came.  I was told from the beginning that it would take at least a year to reach my “new normal”.

My “new normal” means that my ankle hurts from time to time, that my foot and ankle can swell throughout the day, that I do not have the flexibility in my ankle I once had, I have post traumatic arthritis and that I am not as speedy as most.  Weight has been an issue for me throughout this journey.  A couple of months ago, I asked a friend who in the past year got her personal trainer certification if she would be willing to work with me.  She agreed.  We started the last of September this year.  In October after a workout, she asked if I might be willing to try the Reindeer Fun Run/Walk… yes, my first thought was she was crazy… but the fact that she asked me made me think that perhaps I could do it.  She wouldn’t ask me such a thing if it wasn’t possible would she?? I agreed. My daughter made me get an ok from Dr. Casey.  My goal is to finish… I know I will not break any speed records.  My trainer told me she would walk with me side by side… I told her I didn’t want to make any of the workers wait around for me… the slow one… she said I probably wouldn’t be the only slow mover.  Once my sweet Bible study friends found out, they all wanted to walk with me as well.  My daughter, my son and one we call “my other son” are all coming from out of town to do this as well… some will run and then loop back to walk to the finish with me.  Oh… and my daughter got my husband to do it as well.

This journey has been an adventure that is hard to describe… but… it has been a journey that has been filled with a multitude of blessings.  There is a Contemporary Christian song out right now that has become my life song… it is a song by Matthew West… the name of it is Strong Enough.  In it, it shares a bible verse that seems so appropriate for this walk… I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Yes, with Christ and loads of good friends and family, I am ….

Crossing the finish line

Strong Enough. 

That being said… if it gets to be late in the day and I have not yet crossed the finish line… please tell the volunteers to go on home… I don’t want them to wait on me… I know where the finish line is and I plan to cross it… I just don’t know when that will happen.


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