It’s been 744days, 17,856 hours, 1,071,360 minutes ,and about 32.71 million seconds since Jacoby’s gymnastics accident…..but really, WHO”S COUNTING?
We just passed Jacoby’s 2 year marker, and YOU CAN BET THIS FAMILY IS GONNA CELEBRATE! We celebrate a beautiful life; a life that has forever changed ours and so many others.
Even as Im writing this now, it’s hard to control my emotions and not sound clique. I’m desperately wanting to describe in words what my own head can’t completely make sense of yet. However, one thing is for sure…we’re all still here, we’re still breathing, and we STILL choose joy; there is ALWAYS hope…always.
Two years ago, I vividly remember receiving “the call”. Jacoby had fallen on her dismount, she couldnt feel anything. Those moments become etched into your very soul; you can remember where you were…who you were with….and the crisis of belief that soon followed. I remember telling myself I could handle a compound fracture, 2 broken legs, broken ribs but paralyzation…paralyzation was not a word I even wanted to say, much less watch my daughter live out.
“No…no…no God, please….not her, not Jacoby. This one is for me, not her. I begged and begged…..and begged some more. If wailing the loudest and longest would have changed her circumstances, I do believe she would be walking now. As the hours became days, and the days became weeks, it became painfully clear we would have to decide what we truely believed; would we live in fear? Would we allow ourselves to drown in discouragement and doubts; or stand up to fear and let our pain push us.
These past two years have brought up many questions, but the one that is asked over and over is how does Jacoby stay sane and continue with a positive outlook? I don’t even begin to understand God’s ways, but I DO happen to know that answer. Jacoby’s faith in her Savior was and IS her rock , her stronghold, her refuge when no human alive can give her what she desperatly wants. Her actions prove she truly believes in a God who has a plan for her life and has her in the palm of His hand. I could write chapters on the first 6 months of her injury….literally chapters; however, that is for a book and that is coming as well. But, you poor folks who thought you were gong to get a quick blog update would not be too happy with this ol mom if I confused blog with book right now. Therefore, we shall keep things on “blog status” today.
Yes…today we celebrate lessons learned and changes in our perspective. Jacoby would be the first to tell you her accident is a gift, a gift that transcends what we can see on the surface. On the surface, you and I see a paralyzed, 17 year old girl. We see a girl bound to a wheelchair, uncapable of being independant and very dependant on the care of others to get her through the most basic tasks. But what you CAN”T see, is a 17 year old girl with faith that puts a saint to shame, a girl who has a heart the size of Texas, and a girl who can capture an audience of any age simply with her smile and story.
To lie and say these past two years have been easy, pain free, and had little or no effect on our family would be just that…a lie. Jacoby endures SEVERE nerve pain every other day. She has decided medicating cannot be the answer for her because the meds that actually work have the side effect of blurring her mind, so she endures the pain. She’s a 17 year old TEENAGE girl in a WHEELCHAIR….need I say more! The list could go on and on, but it won’t …because we choose to place our trust in God and choose a positive perspective. We don’t get to choose our trials, but we DO get to choose how we will respond to them. Are we going to give up and give in when trials come or allow them to make us stronger? Jacoby made her choice back at Harborview Medical Center, that is still her choice today.
Since my last blog in the late 1700 century, Jacoby really hasn’t skipped a beat. We now fill our days with sophisticated things like homecoming dances, SAT’s, parasailing, slurpee runs and public speaking. (yes…she is working hard on embracing this one considering how much she LOVES to talk up front!) Jacoby has become quite the public speaker and speaks at many events, churches and schools. As we have learned to say, “BRING IT ON”!
QUICK THERAPY UPDATE: Jacoby is continuing to strengthen the muscles that are firing and building those that are not through electronic stimulation. The overall impact is “increased independence” as she is able to do more for herself. Also, she continues to have excellent health and remains unhospitalized due to, in part, continued exercise therapy.
Vertical Therapy continues to be a COMPLETE blessing to Jacoby and our family. These people have become part of our family, our daily schedule and we can’t imagine life without them. Chris , Jacoby’s main trainer, USED to be asked questions like, ” Are Jacoby’s triceps “firing” at all?” Now, he is asked questions like, ” When are you going to ask your girlfriend to marry you?” ” How many kids are you going to have?” He has definitely moved in closer on the family circle.
These are just a few recent events I KNEW we couldn’t leave out:
1. Jacoby’s 2nd Annual Run!
YES…she got us to run again…this time it was in the August sun! Unlike the first race where we all resembled ice figures, this race was on a GORGEOUS day; purple “Go Team Jacoby” shirts everywhere. There is something powerful and healing in participating and contributing toward a good cause. It is a beautiful reminder we’re not alone; we all want to see Jacoby and everyone else affected by spinal cord injuries to find their fullest potential….ultimately, A CURE! Our hearts are with you all…We run for EACH ONE OF YOU!
There is really no way possible to adequately thank all those who made “Gift for Jacoby ” run possible. I honestly pray continually The Lord will give us constant opportunities to “Pay it forward”; I guarantee He will.
Melanie and Dan Roach… my eyes fill with tears just typing your names…THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING you have done, yet never HAD to do; thank you, thank you, thank you.
There are so many of you who volunteered and sacrificed hours and hours taking care of details. Thank you to each and every one of you who showed up or contributed on race day to show support for Jacoby and our family; you will NEVER understand how much that that means to us.
Next year, it will be even more exciting as we grow this event. We will be giving a portion of the proceeds to spinal cord research and to others in similar circumstances. THE CURE IS OUT THERE; we want to do our part to find it! The race will be November 14, 2015, so put it on those calendars a year in advance.
Yes, you heard me correctly! Jacoby decided on the spur of the moment this summer she wanted to parasail at Lake Chelan. We were all SHOCKED and practically in tears! I mean, isn’t it my job as mom to say, ” that’s crazy thinking, what if you cant hang on?” (which she couldn’t …might I add) Here is a perfect example of telling your child to face their fears and then wanting to hit yourself over the head because you basically HAVE to give my your blessing…back up your big mouth because they are doing what YOU told them to do! FOR PETE”S SAKE! Actually, the credit belongs to a speaker she met at the Youth Disabled Leadership Camp named Barry Long. He inspired her to fight against her fears and go do something she was afraid of…his words melted into the marrow of her soul; she came home from camp a changed girl. Thank you, Barry….
Watching Jacoby get pulled up hundreds of feet into the air was…….beautiful…..simply beautiful. No wheelchair, no confinement, COMPLETE freedom. I do believe I scared the poor gentlemen running the parasail half to death when I began WAILING uncontrollably. I don’t know where it came from, and I most certainly didn’t know how to shut it off. The higher she went, the harder I cried. She was finally FREE! But more than that, it was her smile from ear to ear. Now THAT made it all worth it; she was happier than a child on Christmas morn! O LORD, freeze this moment….
That day something changed in me as well. I realized many of us stop challenging ourselves; we quit believing there is great reward in conquering our fears. So I challenged myself to stop making excuses….time to do something I was afraid of too! The rest is history…thank you, darling.
Just a few weeks ago, Jason and I were blessed enough to sit around a big table with some of the people who had witnessed many of the miracles at the time of Jacoby’s accident and the building of our home addition. It occurred to me that if it was AMAZING to Jason and I to hear these stories, it would be bless your socks off too! So here goes….CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN OF MIRACLES! My prayer is that by sharing our recent miracles surrounding Jacoby’s accident, you will see your OWN miracles; they are there if you want to see them.
Dec. 1st– Miracle #1
The day of Jacoby’s accident was Friday, November 16, 2012. I had dropped Jacoby off at practice after school and then came home to pick up the rest of the troops. We were heading out to a soccer game on the peninsula. We received “the call” literally 10 seconds before we got on Interstate 5. Jason pulled over right before the onramp, swung the car around ILLEGALLY and began to drive as quickly as he could to Roach Gymnastics Center. Had we received the call even 1 minute later, we would have been stuck in traffic and unable to be with her for God knows how long. We talk about how AMAZING the timing was on that call ALL THE TIME.
December 2nd–Miracle #2
The evening of her accident, they moved us from St. Josephs Hospital in Tacoma to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Jacoby had 2 surgeries that needed to happen ASAP. The 1st surgery was needed to realign her vertebras in a straight line. Her C4 vertebra had faceted her C5, which means it had jumped above it.( Yah, not looking to good for the ol spinal cord! )They had to screw a halo in her head, and hang a weight in the back to keep the vertebras from shifting before they went in for the 2nd surgery. The 2nd surgery was needed to put the rods in and to fuse the vertebrae. Completely unknown to us, Jacoby had a large blood clot in her lungs. The doctors didn’t tell us that they didn’t think she was going to make it through the 2nd surgery. They said goodnight to us and assured us they would be back first thing in the morning, only to turn around 20 minutes later and tell us they were taking her in right away. (This was around 3am) Another miracle…Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord! I’m glad we had no idea until after the surgery….thank God we didn’t have to plan a funeral the next morning. (Our hearts go out to the people that do.)
Dec. 3rd–Miracle #3
JACOBY’S SPINAL CORD WAS NOT SEVERED!!! After the 2nd surgery had been completed, the surgeon came out to talk with Jason and I. They had believed the spinal cord was severed before they went into the surgeries, but realized it had just been stretched to “seran wrap” consistency, but had NOT been severed. THIS WAS HUGE….
A huge “thanks” to the 1st responders for doing such a great job at delicately moving her off the unstable foam pit; you guys rock!