Bruce A. Lambert
Hi, I am a C6 C7 incomplete quad I have been hurt for 35 years. I was in a car accident while serving in the Coast Guard. I went through a lot of emotions after my accident, but I am doing much better now. I had to work through a lot of emotions on my own. It was like here's your therapy, here's your wheelchair, now go out and live your life. Then I was introduced to TSN at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. And I have been involved in TSN for about 9 years now. It has been a real blessing for me. I have gained so much knowledge and wisdom and have figured things out on my own, that now I am able to pass some bits of wisdom on to others. The big thing that has helped me was TSN's next steps, it brought a lot of stuff into the light for me, and made me see why I was like I was at times, emotionally and mentally and physically. TSN has helped me in so many ways with next steps, and especially with the peer visiting of survivors. TSN is a top of the line program and I am so proud to be a part of it.”
Katheryn M Harlan
“A person who copes well with difficulties in their life,” is the definition of SURVIVOR with which I identify. I have survived the early death of my parents and younger sister. I am an 18 year breast cancer survivor and now I am struggling to survive being a crash victim.
A bike ride with my husband ended when I was hit by a car whose driver ran a red light. As a triathlete and endurance athlete for over 35 years, my body was in great shape to endure and hopefully recover from the fractures and soft tissue injuries sustained due to some else’s careless actions. But when the first responders tell you that they were surprised that you survived the impact, it makes you wonder...
I received great care from the EMTs, the Trauma Team at WFU Baptist Hospital, the physical therapists, my family and friends. It is incredible to think how many other lives have been disrupted due to this crash.
I have been told that my fractures have healed, but that I will likely always have some pain from the multiple screws holding these bones together. Still I have damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments and dental problems which should improve over the next several years, but I have been told not to expect 100% recovery. The biggest surprise has been the emotional and psychological effects of the crash, the PTSD. Yes, I am walking after 10 weeks in a wheelchair and may look somewhat normal on the outside, but on the inside I am forever changed. With the help of my PTSD therapist, husband, family and my communities (medical, spiritual, social, and legal) I am once again finding my new normal. I am often asked “what is the worst part of the healing this time,” and simply put, I miss ME. The physical pain will hopefully one day be forgotten, but I fear the personality changes, never being ME again. I may one day heal enough to ride my bicycle, but I may NEVER overcome the FEAR of riding again. I was doing everything correctly, obeying the law, wearing brightly colored clothing with 2 flashing lights on my bicycle, riding to keep myself healthy when someone else’s carelessness changed the trajectory of my life and my family’s lives forever.
I am NOT a quitter, I am a survivor. After my breast cancer diagnosis, multiple surgeries and treatments, I founded a 501c3 organization and for ten years raised money for local breast cancer patients. Our credo was SURVIVING IS WINNING! That will continue to be my mantra as I try to emerge from this a stronger person. In many respects my life is brighter, I am excited about the new path God is creating for me. Relationships are sweeter, and I have been given the opportunity to move a bit slower. As I struggle to gain control of my spirit, the new me, I will remain grateful to all that have assisted in my progress. Despite the tremendous amount of work that remains, SURVIVING IS WINNING!
When asked how I remain so focused on my recovery, I simply say that I need to be strong and stable enough to hold my grandchildren, including the newest one born after the crash. I pray that my survival instincts will be instilled into them as well as those who have assisted in my recovery journey.
Hello everyone I am a SURVIVOR!!!
On September 8, 2016, the day started as usual. I got up and got dressed for work and out the door as I had done many times before. The morning air was a little cool but it felt good.
I had gone about 4 miles from my house and I blacked out. This is where I tell you that I am a biker and that I was riding to work on that day. I ran off of the road. I went roughly the length of a football field, then I came off of the bike and it hit a tree which then landed on top of me.
The exhaust system of my bike was laying on top of my right arm. My injuries were 4th degree burns to my arm, 7 broken ribs, broken nose, a hole in my left cheek, and a Traumatic Brain Injury. I survived because of the great doctors and staff at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.
I am still riding and this is a picture of me on the first ride that I took after my accident!
On January 11th 2021 around 10:30a.m. I was in a vehicle accident. I had somewhere to be downtown Lexington and decided to take a different route than I normally would take. I don’t remember how the accident happened but based on the police report I ran a stop light and T-boned another vehicle. After arriving at the hospital they did a CT scan and showed that I had severe injuries, multiple fractures and internal bleeding.
I went through 3 surgeries and 6 blood transfusions. I was in critical condition for 3 days with rapid heartrate, labored breathing and my blood levels kept dropping. During those 3 days I wanted to give up on life. I begged God to make it all go away. The pain was overwhelming and my breathing was weak. The worst part was being alone at night. I begged the staff to let my husband stay with me, but due to Covid-19 restrictions he was not allowed.
I remember scrolling on YouTube listening to music. A Natalie Grant song "Praise you in this storm" came on and tears were running down my face. I was reminded that God has been by my side every moment. He also reminded me that my 2 precious boys still needed their mom and my husband still needed his wife. God told me to keep fighting and so I did. I was in the hospital for 10 days. When I got home my fighting was far from over.
I was in a hospital bed and wheelchair over 2 months. I wasn't able to be a mom or a wife. I missed cooking and taking care of my boys. So I started getting depressed and wanted to give up again. I was reminded again that I am not alone and that God has a plan because He has brought me this far. I was reminded that it's ok to seek help so I reached out to a counselor.
Today it has been over 3 months since my accident. I'm going to physical therapy to help my right leg to get back to normal as possible. I'm now walking with some support. I have come a long way because I didn’t stop fighting, but I still have a long road ahead of me. God faithfulness and my family is what kept me going.
To anyone who is going through a difficult time don’t give up. Keep fighting, because your story is far from over. Just take one day at a time and focus on the positives in life. One day you will look back and say it was worth the fight. Also remember God loves you and He is with you every step that you take.
Come celebrate being a survivor with me!
I am Mark and I am a SURVIVOR. A survivor is someone who overcomes obstacles and carries on with life. A survivor learns to adapt, learns a “new normal” and doesn’t give up. A survivor realizes you must take baby steps every day to get to the big goals in life.
My survivor experience began on October 31, 2011-Halloween Day. That evening I was on my way home from work on my motorcycle when a vehicle turned left directly in front of me. My body hit the vehicle and threw me off my bike. I was conscious through the entire experience until I was intubated at the local hospital in preparation of being loaded into the helicopter for a flight to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. I was given 18 pints of blood in order to survive until emergency surgery could be performed. My right leg had to be amputated above the knee and screws, rods and plates placed in my left leg in order to put it back together. This made me non weight bearing for three months. Amazingly, I only spent seven days in the hospital before I was released to go home to recover as physical therapy needed to wait until I could start putting weight on my left leg. It was a long three months. I had a wonderful support team though, made up of my family; my wife, son, daughter in-law, grandchildren, mother, father, etc. Another key factor in my recovery was my faith. One of the happiest days of my recovery was the day I got fitted for my prosthesis. The first steps in an upright position after over three months were awesome!
I became involved in the Trauma Survivor Network after my orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Anna Miller, whom I still stay in contact with even though she now lives in St. Louis, Missouri) referred me to the program as it was being formed. It is a great therapy for me to be able to share my experiences and encourage others.
My story of being a survivor continued on when in October 2019 I was diagnosed with B Cell Lymphoma Cancer. I had six months of chemo and finished that in 2020. I have had two clear six month scans since finishing my chemo.
In the last ten years since my accident, I have learned lots of new “normals” for me and learned ways to adapt. I carry on and help my son on the farm. I can do most anything that needs to be done whether it’s feeding the cattle, working in hay, loading cows, driving the tractors, etc. I find ways to get things done. I enjoy every day as the gift that it is for me. My favorite way to spend the day is with my four grandchildren that live beside us on the farm.
I plan on carrying on as a survivor for many, many more years!
Celebrating being a survivor starts with my story. December 29th, 2015 my life changed forever. I was accidently shot in the abdomen, sustaining life threatening injuries. The most critical injury being vascular. My inferior vena cava had to be ligated, in layman’s terms closed off. Doctors prepared my family that I wouldn’t survive the extent of this injury, medically it was not possible. They gave me two weeks to live. In that two weeks I battled septic shock, blood clots, and multiple surgeries to remove parts of my colon and intestines. I was in and out of the hospital for the next 6 months and (reluctantly) active in at home physical therapy. It was almost a year before I was able to return to work and resume anything close to “normal” in life.
Prior to my trauma, exercise was my escape from daily life. It took almost 2 years to get back in that mindset and ability. For so long I tried to maintain a sense of normality that I couldn’t. I remember crying in the corner at the YMCA my first day back in a gym. I wasn’t able to perform like I could pre-injury. My journey to becoming “whole again” started here, in the corner of the gym unable to do a sit-up. Healing doesn’t have to look pretty and believe me it won’t be. Healing is hard, exhausting, and full of lessons. That’s where strength and bravery come into play. Doing things that might scare you or push you. Five years later I’ve run two 5K’s and continue to use exercise in my daily life.
For Trauma Survivors Day 2021 my mom and I plan to walk for the Race to Rebuild. Traditionally our chapter of TSN goes to a local baseball game where we celebrate with other survivors, families, and members of the trauma medical team. With COVID in the forefront this year and last, we are thrilled we have a way to celebrate survivors in an interactive and virtual way! My mom has stood by my side throughout my journey post trauma. She is also a Peer Visitor with TSN, offering support to families and loved ones experiencing trauma in a different way.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the care I received at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, especially in the trauma ICU. I had an incredible team of surgeons and an army of nurses, many of whom I keep up with to this day. My family and I are forever grateful for you all!
During my hospital stay I became known as Wonder Woman. One of my favorite quotes came from the Wonder Woman movie “You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know.” – Antiope to Diana