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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

For Better or Worse ♥


It's been quiet since May over here on the blog.

On May 9th I went over the handlebars of my mountain bike while out for our weekly Wednesday morning ride. The impact was so great that it broke most of my ribs, fractured my skull, tore my ear, and caused a burst fracture in my spine.

45 minutes after the fall a rescue team carried me down the mountain in a basket to the parking lot where ambulance and emergency response were waiting to rush me to hospital. I received an emergency spinal fusion the following day to have permanent rods installed in my back to stabilize my spine.




{ photos courtesy of my riding buddy Kate  }

After the surgery I spent 10 days in the neuro sciences ward at Victoria General Hospital. The nurses and doctors were like angels, it felt like a soft landing after what had just happened. The force had been so great that my injuries were similar to those of a car accident victim, I kept having to retell my story, no one could believe I'd done so much damage on my bike. I suffered a severe concussion, and for better or worse, had lost all memory of the day of the crash.


A brain injury meant no screen time — no phone, tablet, tv, or computer. Close to the end of my stay I could manage to sit in a chair with my brace on for very short bursts. Cam brought me a colouring book and I could focus just enough to fill the pages without getting a headache.

Once stable enough, I was released to continue my recovery at home. I could do very little and needed constant rests in between. I began collecting colouring books and markers. Slowly an art station began to develop on the kitchen counter. When I wasn't resting I would sit and colour — it helped to focus my mind and ward off boredom and depression. I couldn't tolerate the noise of the TV so we'd have quiet time and the girls would join me at the counter, even Cam from time to time. We started a gallery on the walls of the kitchen and soon ran out of room.




Over time I could focus more and sit for longer periods of time. I stopped colouring in books and began making my own drawings. I bought my first set of water colour paints. I couldn't drive and so my friend Cate ♥ would make endless trips to Opus and Micheal's.




In late June, an infection landed me back in hospital, only this time I was armed with a collection of my favourite art supplies. In ways it felt like a set back, there was a possibility of another surgery but I knew how it important it was to fight the infection aggressively under the watchful eye of the nurses and staff. I hated to be back but I knew I was in the right place. I avoided a second surgery (yay) and was able to go home after 5 days of observation and intravenous antibiotics.






I began walking for exercise, first to the end of our road, then a few short blocks, until soon I was walking the neighbourhood with my paints and travel notebook. I'd sit for hours sketching and painting the landscape, it felt like therapy. I joined Creative Bug and started (but didn't finish, lol) a portrait class.





And then, 3 months post-op, my brace came off. For the first time in months I could see my body again. I felt frail and didn't recognize my new shape. I'd lost muscle mass and mobility. But my body was mine again. Everyday I've been getting stronger and tiring less easily. Pain has become manageable and the more normal I feel physically the more I am aware of the fog that's left from the concussion. 


I've rented a little artist studio to help me transition back to work after nearly 5 months unplugged. The first photo in this blog post is from a shoot I did in the empty space to test the light :) I've been working from a home office for over 10 years — finding this space has felt like a new beginning of sorts.

While I was offline I managed a few Instagram posts to make friends aware of what was going on. I wasn't able to get back to most of you due to limited screen time however I would like you to know how much your love and support carried me through. I am incredibly grateful for all of the heartfelt messages that poured in, the care packages and thoughtful get well cards that arrived in the mail, the friends and family that made the day to day more manageable, and to the 30 pairs of hands that lovingly stitched these healing socks for me to get well in. 



If it weren't for all of you I would not have this space to come back to, this creative outlet that supports me. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel to have been given this second chance.

While it will take time for things to return to normal, I hope to return to this space a little more regularly as I find the inspiration and the energy.

Thank you for your endless love and support.

Jane 





27 comments:

  1. So glad to see your recovery is going well and you're getting back to you. Take your time and try to enjoy the slow down. Healing vibes still coming your way!

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    1. Thanks Melissa! My new pace is definitely a slow one — listening to my body has never been so important!!!

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    2. Although I have only met you once briefly at Knit City last year, I could not keep you out of mind once I heard about your accident. I have checked out your Instagram account over the months of your recovery hoping that you would post something showing that you were on the mend. I loved seeing all your beautiful art work. You are such a talented young woman and I am so glad to hear that you are making progress. Please know that I am sending you positive vibes all the time and hope that you continue to feel better each day. xo

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    3. Christine how kind you are to think of me and keep me in your thoughts <3 I so appreciate it!!

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  2. It's so nice to hear that you're back and are recovering well!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this with us. You are amazing throughout your healing process. As you get better, depression and a desire to rush your recover may set in. It’s important to remember how far you have come and how much more you will recover with time. Sending all good healing vibes and good energy to you. Your watercolors are so lovely!

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    1. Thank you for reminding me of that — it's definitely something I need to keep in my mind. The recover will take years I believe, I need to be patient with myself.

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  4. So glad to see you are on the mend, you will keep improving day by day you will feel stronger. Keep up your walking and if you can perhaps with the help of an exercise physiologist start exercises that can help you get strong again. Your paintings look so lovely. Hoping once you are feeling strong enough you will be able to ride a little again, even if you do simple trails it will be so nice to get back out on your bike. I went over the bars a few days ago on a tricky trail at Mt Joyce mtb park but no damage, unbelievable that you hurt yourself so badly. Anyhow just wanted to say hi and wish you all the best...#knitters who MTB �� Elly DeVries

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    1. Thank you Elly!! It really has been the most incredible accident in terms of severity! I know that eventually I will have my old life back, it will just take patience and perseverance. I won't be able to do any rehab or strengthening until 6 months post-op but at least I can walk and get out in nature again!

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    2. Oddly I can't comment unless I reply to another comment, but I wanted to say that I've been thinking about you all summer- what a frightening thing to have happen, and something as swift and impactful can really happen to anyone at any time(bike or otherwise). I was thinking about you and your daughter, and I'm SO glad to hear that you are recovering. i can only imagine what a road you've been traveling with it, and still the road ahead. Take your time, Do what you can, and know that we are all sending you love and good vibes. xo

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  5. Oh Jane, Thanks for the update! Your artwork is amazing. I absolutely love your creativity and I’m so happy it helped you get through this hard time. Love you lots. Xoxox

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  6. I'm so glad to hear you're really on the mend! Best of luck going forward.

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  7. So glad to see you back in your online space if only for a short bit at a time! I am so looking forward to seeing your new studio space too!! Love you! Xo

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  8. You are really and truly and living/walking miracle! So thankful you had such quick responders to help speed your recovery. And the coloring books were such inspired therapy. They've kept the artist in you trucking along. Best wishes for your continued recovery!
    Beth

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  9. So happy to see you posting here again! I've been following your recovery on Instagram and have been thinking of you lots. I am so inspired by how you've taken up painting and other forms of art when you couldn't knit and do your usual creative routine. I hope things just keep getting better from here on out!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this with us. You truly have begun some new beginnings. I'm still sorry for what happened to you and for the healing that is yet to come. I wish you uninterrupted healing, abundant creativity, and many beautiful hours in your new space. <3

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  11. Jane! I'm so glad you're doing so much better! You were often in my thoughts. I hope you find the perfect healing and inspiring space in your studio! ❤️

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  12. Your strength comes of no surprise because you are a phenomenal human being. It has been wonderful hearing of your healing journey. Thank you for sharing your intimate story with us. I am filled with joy that you are recuperating. Enjoy every second that life permits our existence and patience will now be a virtue. Sending love and energy your way. From a kindred spirit and fellow knitter.

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  13. I've been thinking about you since you first posted about your accident. I'm so happy to hear you are on the mend and have turned to art for healing! I hope you'll keep it up. You are very good at it!

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  14. Jane, I'm so happy for read to you... thank you fir sharing whit us...you are the champion!!!!big hugs

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  15. It's great to read you're getting stronger every day.
    Wow, what an incredible healing journey and the beautiful art that transpired from it.
    Bless you.

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  16. I'm so glad you are getting better every day. you have been in my thoughts and prayers daily! xoxox

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  17. What a scary situation, but how wonderful that it unearthed this new creative outlet. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and I wish you further healing.

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  18. Your colorings and drawings are beautiful. Hope you will continue with your healing. Much love to you Jane!

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  19. Hi Jane, we looked for you at Knit City, and didn't know why you weren't there until we checked Ravelry and read your blog. So sorry to hear of your terrible accident. Sending good vibes for your continued recovery! Isn't it funny how bad things can turn into good and interesting things, like the artist's path you are on? Best regards, Margaret Roberts

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  20. Color has been my key to getting out of any funk. Lots of color! Your drawings reflect a beautiful, bright mind that might even be a new direction to colorful knitted stripes, fair isle. I just bought your Clarke Pullover and will knit it a rainbow of colored stripes in your honor.
    HEAL!

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  21. My first time back at this blog in quite a while and what do I find..while I've been gone you've been undergoing unbelievable misery. You've been fighting a tremendous fight. Thank goodness for our hobbies eh? May you continue to improve.

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