With the minimal eye sight I have left, embracing my differently abled body, I am taking on one illustrious mountain at a time. I hereby share my experience to inspire in times of adversity when your vision only sees mountainous trails ahead.
A blow to my head instantly transformed the steady trail I called life into a steep, mountainous ascent. Climbing through the wake of a traumatic brain injury, left with severe vision loss and a life threatening eating disorder, for what seemed like an eternity, the trail felt impossible, headed nowhere but a dark abyss. The peak with a view that every mountain boasts about could not possibly exist.
Questioning doctors, searching for answers, defying hospital rules, pulling out tubes and pushing therapy goal posts, I have struggled with acceptance of how drastically my life changed so quickly. Though working towards mindfulness, I spend far too much energy thinking about life leading up to the accident:
I could cycle to work after a morning run because I could see well enough to navigate and dodge speedy commuters, farm animals, equipment and trails.
I could see roots and rocks on the ground, the trail ahead, the sun rising above the mountains while embracing the sounds of nature waking up because I had perfect vision, comfort on trails and confidence on my feet.
I could enjoy coffee, a pre-run snack and post run breakfast because I had a healthy relationship with food and carefully ensured my body was fuelled to maintain constant activity.
I could live on a remote farm in Bavaria because I had a driver’s license and a reliable vehicle that I could hop in any season of year without even a thought of public transport.
I could stay in Europe as long as I chose because I was tenured and my employer sponsored my German Residency.
I wore a hat and sunglasses to prevent squinting, keep bugs and rain away, not to try to hide my face.
I could put my skis and snowshoes in the car with my bikes on the roof and head to the alps because down time for me meant playing in the mountains.
I could meet new people and look them in the eyes with confidence not concerned about their curiosity or stares at my disfigured face, feeding tube scars or state of my body.
Though certainly never complete, my recovery and rehabilitation are taking on a new form, aimed to move energy away from thoughts of how life used to be and towards self acceptance and foster self worth far beyond the walls of any clinical setting. Such a short time ago I was given days to live, now, on to the mountains, only looking back, with my limited eyesight, to see how far I have come.