Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the

Howard's Story

It was September 12, 2010. I was out partying with some friends. We received a call from a friend of one my friends to see if we wanted to come swimming. Seeing how this was, and still is, one of my favorite things to do, I agreed. I got changed and went to dive in, and that's all I remember. I woke up a month later in the hospital, not able to move my left leg or arm, not being able to see out of right eye, not able to talk, and not able to swallow. I was trying to figure out what happened. I later found out, after hearing all the stories, that I fractured the C-2 vertebrae in my neck which caused my cranial pressure to go up 2-2.5 times what it is supposed to be.

Over the last 3 years I have hit many hurdles in my recovery. The biggest one was just adjusting to the new normal but I did not let this stop me even though I did not know how much function, if any, I would get back. As soon as I got the neck brace off, the next week I was in the gym. I went from being able to lift 300+ pounds, to now a 30 pound table gives me trouble. I really believe what motivated me the most was trying to prove the original doctors wrong.

Currently, I attend TSN support group meetings. Attending the meetings has been a big help. It allows me to hear other people’s stories and use some of their ideas to help in my day to day. I have been asked to become a peer counselor but knowing what could be ahead for the survivors makes me become very emotional. Throughout my recovery process I have learned that it is ok to ask and accept help. This was, and is, very difficult for me. Also, I have learned to try different things, safely, you never know what you can achieve. And lastly, only use I CAN'T in the phrase, I can't right now.