My reflections two years after my cycling accident. 

Today I am grateful that it is over two years ago since my accident. Today I am going to reflect about  how I am and what I have learnt. 

Two years on I still hate the words – everything happens for a reason. I still believe what happened to me on the 10th June, 2015 was an accident. There was no reason for it. It did not make my life better. It did not make my families life better. I do believe everyone experiences terrible things in their lives. I have come to appreciate that everyone experiences dark times in life. The experience of these dark times can break people but it can also illustrate how wonderful the good times are and that it is so important to love and cherish the special times. It is also important to integrate the event into your life and for me that means my life is different but still wonderful. 

I believe in mystery and miracles.  In the last four months I have a much greater appreciation of the possibility that I could have died that day. In fact I do not understand how I could have had a renal artery that was bleeding into my belly for more than 45 minutes and that I am still here to talk about it. It does not make sense. Not everything in our lives can be explained. I love that there are unexplainable possibilities and that miracles are a reality. 

I am lucky. I have read that  chronic post‐surgical pain is common, can be severe and results in distress and disability for patients. I have none. I could suggest that the care I was given and the activities that I have engaged in post accident have caused me to have no pain but I really do not know. I would love to have a greater understanding of this and I would love to know what the recipe is for reducing chronic pain. I would love to be able to advise other people who have experienced trauma to replicate whatever it is that I have done that results in no pain. I believe there are a number of things that could have contributed to having no pain . These include good nutrition, experiencing  lots of unconditional love, gentle exercise, meditation, having a grateful practice, having a wonderful Bowen therapist, having a wonderful chiropractor, having a wonderful physiotherapist, doing an Aruyvedic detox, floating in a flotation tank regularly and singing regularly. This again illustrates the mystery of life. 

The way I exercise has changed. When I was young I did not do much exercise at all because I always felt that I was not good enough. After having my children I discovered a love of exercising and I loved how good I felt with all those good endorphins flowing. Once I started cycling I discovered a world of like minded people and an endless number of wonderful places to explore on my bike. I think I also became focused on the end result and I always worried that I was not going to keep up on the next ride instead of purely appreciating the ride. The last two years have reminded me that the present moment is what is important and that whatever exercise I am doing and whatever pace I am doing is perfectly enjoyable. 

I still have days when I react to a situation in a totally unexpected way. I was walking a few weeks ago on Mt Cootha and the descent was very steep and slippery. I panicked and then cried. My thought process was I have fallen once very badly – I do not want that to happen again. I stopped , took some big deep breathes, and pulled myself together. I have learnt it is very important to be gentle on myself and recognize these times are possible. I know if these incidents become regular or unrealistic that I need to go and get help. 

I believe in a higher being and I believe in angels. Again this is part of the magic and mystery of life. I believe there are many angels that walk among us on this planet. They don’t do grand things they just make the lives of those they come in contact with better. I do not believe in hell. The reason I don’t believe in hell is because I believe everyone deserves forgiveness. Perhaps for some people their hell is what happens to them on earth. I have been asked if I saw the light on that day in 2015. Nope I did not see the light – I instructed my husband to go home and do the washing. I have no idea what happens to us after we die but I do believe in eternal life.  I am unaware what form that takes but I am absolutely sure we live on in those people that we have made a difference to. We may go to heaven but I truly believe our spirit lives on in others irrespective of the existence of heaven. For this reason I believe it is always best to be kind. 

Practicing gratitude works. I can and sometimes am overwhelmed with the sadness of others and the terrible things human beings can do not only to our planet but also to each other. There were times in the last few years I could have become overwhelmed that my life was different to what I expected. Practicing gratitude made me look for the positive things. Practicing gratitude makes me realize that there is so much good in the world and that so many wonderful wonderful people exist and are working tirelessly to improve our planet and the lives of others. 

I cry a lot and that is Ok. It is ok to be devastatingly sad. When someone you love dies, when people are killed needlessly it is ok to cry and it is also ok to cry over little stuff. 

Meditation works for me. I meditate because I think it is important to have some way of creating space in my day. I have an iPhone, an iPad, a computer and a television. Meditating allows me to create a little bit of space and to be truly in the present. I always dedicate my meditation practice to being a better and kinder person for the benefit of all living things. I love thinking that there are many many other people doing the same thing at the same time all trying to be better and calmer which hopefully means humanity is evolving to be a little bit better.  

In relation to cycling I am cycling a little bit. I do not fit in anywhere any more. I am too slow to ride in any groups. I am too scared to ride on my own. I tried to get a ride going on a Sunday but I found it was too big a responsibility to be the one organizing it and if I had been out on Saturday night I worried about letting people down. I am trying to do a regular windtrainer session during the week with the aim of getting back on the road to do a slow river loop. I hope this happens. Riding used to be so important to me. It is not so important any more but when I am driving at 530am in the morning either to walk or take a child to rowing and I see riders on the road I still cry. I still want to be riding with like minded people, watching the sun come up over the river as I ride around or seeing the sun coming up over the bay when I ride out to Wellington Point. 

I have learnt I can achieve whatever I want to achieve. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. I have finished a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. It has taken me a long time. The reason it has taken so long is because when I started I was determined to do my diploma in a way that would not impact my family life. It didn’t impact my family life. My study was then interrupted by my accident. I didn’t have the cognitive function to go back to it until this year. I have now finished!!!!! I eventually got there. 

I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given as a result of the accident. I have been the guest speaker at the HeARTfelt Dinner and I have been the guest speaker at the Right Royal Affair. Both events raised money for the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation. I am grateful that I have been able to give something to this organization. 

Many people said to me two years ago that it would take me at least two years to get over my accident. I didn’t believe them. I thought once my surgical incisions had healed I would be back to how I was before the accident. I have learnt that we are never the same from one day to the next. I will never be the same person as I was two years ago. I still grieve over what I have lost and how things are different for me now but I am happy and I love life and that is what is important. 

The first day post accident .

Two years to the day after the accident – Life is wonderful.

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5 Responses to My reflections two years after my cycling accident. 

  1. Remember Me says:

    Such an honest and open post Jen. Your ability to explain things so clearly is refreshing and your gratitude infectious.

  2. Laurie Bridges says:

    Hi Jennifer,thanks for your comments, I hear you, I’m under repair as well…a drunk driver ruined my rides for a while. I did 3 wobbly laps of Nundah a month ago, then got a flat and haven’t got back for round 2 yet. The GHRC gym has been working for me with computer bikes though, I am a competitive beast, exhibit A my FB photo. As someone who is looking to get back to steady rides, but away from the road, Nundah is a solution. The next stage will be to Nudgee beach via the wetlands and I will be looking for coffee buddies, you and friends would be wecome. It’s all about recovery…Regards Laurie Bridges

    • admin says:

      Any time you want to ride Laurie I am with you – and David has offered to ride shot gun for us anytime. My number is 0438400349 when you want to ride out to Nudgee.

  3. Theresa Grahame says:

    Beautiful words Jen. IMark and I would happily do a Sunday ride with you. Just tell us when it suits. Much love understanding and admiration. T

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