She used to stand a feisty five-foot-two—and I felt large next to her. But she’s shorter now, I think. Ever since the accident, where the force of the rollover broke her spine and altered her life forever, she has struggled with all that a changed life and permanent injury bring.
God spared her life and sent the right people at the right time to a remote road in Montana to rescue her. He arranged for a top surgeon to be on call at the small hospital. He orchestrated her survival minute by minute.
When she moved in next door, she could walk with heavy braces, but an inoperable cyst on her spinal cord (a syrinx) caused her excruciating, unmanageable nerve pain that narcotics didn’t touch. She had two choices—succumb or overcome.
With three children and a pastor husband who needed her, she chose to immerse herself in the study of natural pain management techniques, attend clinics where they taught her the latest in pain suppression, and pursue additional physical therapy to increase her mobility. She chose to fight.
Today, she runs a pain management coaching service and shares her wisdom and experience with others who suffer from unrelenting pain. She’s learned to pace herself and not let the pain control her life. She lives big and inspires others at national pain-management conferences. She advocates for others—she’s even testified before the Montana Legislature and been declared a hometown hero by the local TV station.
She taught me how to breathe again, when I was dealing with stress and undiagnosed pain. I’ve moved away, but I know that despite her busy life and her physical limitations, there’s always a place for me in her home and her heart.
When I stand next to her and give her a hug, I feel small.