Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

12 December 2009


“…let me tell you what winning means... you're willing to go longer, work harder, give more than anyone else. ~Vincent Lombardi

The last time I was in a start gate to race was 28 March 2008. That is a long time to be out of racing! With all I’ve been through I’m thankful for what I have and what I am now able to do again. Perseverance and hope is what has gotten me through and I’m not backing down now. I have no idea how this week is going to go but I feel like I am “willing to go longer, work harder and give more than anyone else.” Every racer wants to be the winner and I’ll give my best effort to do just that, but at the end of the day, I will have won when I reach that finish line after my second run. I have worked hard to rehab and been training hard to be able to reach that start gate and finish line on Monday.

Tonight, some of my teammates and I went to dinner to enjoy where were we are and what we’re doing. Skiing fast is the best part of ski racing, but camaraderie takes a very close second. Having fun with friends makes it just a little sweeter. Tomorrow we are training on the race hill at Copper Mountain and I can barely contain my excitement! I’m happy to be here with my team training and racing. Thanks to everyone who has helped me to not give up and follow my heart!
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28 October 2009

Championship Character

Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character. ~T. Alan Armstrong

I returned to the snow this past Saturday at Copper Mountain and I am delighted at how good it felt to be skiing again! I am still working on getting my leg back into racing shape but each day I hope it will improve. I know that my hip and legs will never be the same after all I’ve been through, but I’m counting on being able to adapt to the differences and be as fast as ever.

It’s been a busy past couple months. I have been in the gym, and taking 3 classes 2 days a week that are prerequisites for a radiology technician program next fall. I am trying to keep my focus in the present and prepare myself best I can for the future, whether that is a couple months or years ahead.

A major highlight was in September I received the Hal O’Leary Award from the Colorado Rockies and NSCD. The awards dinner was held on the dirt of the field at Coors Field. This was a very humbling and wonderful experience. Hal O’Leary is the creator of innovation in disabled sports; to receive an award bearing his name is so incredible and a huge honor!
Right now I’m trying to get enough money together for the season so that I can attend all the races necessary to qualify for the Paralympics. I just want to have a fun and successful season! Let’s go skiing.

26 August 2009

Moving forward

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning but anyone can start today and make a new ending." ~ Maria Robinson

No I can’t go back and change anything that has happened, so I try not to dwell on the events of the past, I am happy to have today. This past year and a half has been anything but easy but I feel like I’m finally moving forward once again. The U.S. Adaptive Ski Team denied a medical leave from the team last year so I am no longer with them. I will be skiing for myself this season with the NSCD Alpine Ski Team. Due to my physical and financial situations I was not able to attend any camps this summer and won’t be doing any camps this fall either. I’m trying to look ahead towards the snow fall and training here in Colorado.

The beginning of July I got the screws removed from my pelvis. Of course nothing ever goes as expected and that was not any different but I’m doing well now and focusing on getting stronger. My legs feel so much better than they have in a LONG time. My strength and range of motion still are not what I want them to be, so I keep working. I’m not sure if I will be able to regain all the function I lost but I won’t quit trying. I have a new found hope that I will be strong again. I have been on my bike, playing tennis, taking light hikes, and back in the gym. I had ambitions to climb a 14er before the snow came, but that might be a little much to ask of my body yet.

I have every intention of ski racing this season, with my focus being on going to my third Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada in March! My first race of the year is in December at Copper Mountain and that’ll be a good litmus test.

30 April 2009

Racing at SkiTAM

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This was a photo taken in Vail, CO during the team race at SkiTAM.
I know it's not my best racing photo ever, it's what was published in the SkiTAM magazine, so I thought I'd share :)


The race season is over, the mountain is closed and it’s officially Mud Season in WP.

I would love to sit here and write that things are all better and that my life is back on track but that isn’t exactly true. The good news is that my legs have been working most of the time and I was able to finish the season skiing. I was actually able to get back into a race course right before the start of US Nationals here in Winter Park. I really wanted to start the SL race at Nationals but my leg stopped working just days before, once again leaving me weaker than I was and I didn’t want to push it. I was, however, able to be a forerunner and that brought me immense joy. It was so nice to be back in the start with my teammates, and even better to be knocking gates down in a course. I was very thankful that I was able to do that and I felt like it put me one big step closer to being well again. I must admit that the weakness I’m dealing with daily is definitely exaggerated when I’m skiing and that is difficult, but my choice is to deal and push through or sit around. I don’t sit still very well.

Nationals were fun but the best part of the last couple weeks was the 2 consecutive powder days the closing weekend. I got to ski 14 inches of fresh one day and 22” the next- which in spots was really the 36”. It was insane and a lot of work, but we don’t have those kind of powder days often so I HAD to ski.

While I’m still healing and getting better, my program is working out in the gym on a regular basis; diligently doing my exercises, biking whenever it’s nice enough and visit my chiropractor Dr. Mike as often as I can get to Denver.

I had to take a leave from the ambulance as I just cannot return with my leg still being so unpredictable. So, because I do not have the income from EMS, fundraising is going to be extra important and a huge focus!

My intention is to attend as many summer and fall camps as I can physically handle. That means, if I’m strong enough, I plan on going to Mt. Hood in June, New Zealand in August and Chile in September. Following the snow around the world is not cheap so I’m going to have to work very hard to get the funding I need.

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly,
acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” -Agatha Christie

18 March 2009

I’m BACK!!!!

I have been able to walk without using my crutches for 9 whole days now!

I don’t know what changed or how it happened but last Monday I “turned the corner.” For the first time in weeks I’m able to walk around without worry. I’m still not my “normal” self; my balance is definitely worse than usual, my legs are still a little wobbly and I’m still feeling the different aspects of weakness. But, compared to where I was even 2 weeks ago things are GREAT. I am back in Winter Park, I have been back on the mountain skiing and life is okay. I’m taking each day as it comes, and trying to keep my chin up and focus on the good things. I have a nerve test tomorrow called an EMG. I hope it will give the doctors better ideas as to what is going on, but you never know.

I am just happy for today, because I can help what tomorrow will bring, I’ll deal with that then.

06 February 2009

Rehab, what?

One month after I was admitted to the hospital, my life is still on pause. I still have no answers, no solutions; I'm not home and can’t drive for at least 3 more weeks.

My doctors and physical therapists tell me that I need to go slow with the physical therapy, take more medication and be patient. I’d be more than happy to follow that advice if it worked. I have been going slow, doing only what they tell me and my legs still shut down again on Tuesday! They have no idea what’s going on so they don’t know how to help me. Skiing again this season is looking less likely each day, and that breaks my heart. Honestly though, the worst part is not knowing. I don’t know what to do to get better, to get back to my life, I have no plan.

I do my few exercises each day, go to my doctor and physical therapy appointments, watch the ski racing results hoping that my friends and teammates ski well, try to put a smile on my face and that’s all I can do.

21 January 2009

Current Progress

Things this past week have been going pretty well. It has been a week since I took my first steps on my own again after this whole incident the 5th of January. Today I was able to do my first gym workout.
I think the reason I was actually able to walk again was a chiropractor. His name is Dr. Mike Madden. He was recommended to me, because the recommending party felt like he had made their life better. I had nothing to lose in going to see him, and it worked out really good for me. Not walking to being able to walk only hours later, a drastic and measurable change. Each day following I have had improvement. Therefore, it would appear to me that this whole thing was caused by a nerve/ electrical conduction problem. But it’s just my body and I’m not a Neurologist, so none the less, I’m walking again and getting stronger, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.
Monday I started doing rehab everyday at the Spalding Rehabilitation Center in Aurora. They put me in the day program from 0900-1500 each day. I see a group of different practitioners and they are trying to figure out the best way to get me functional again. I think they are going to release me to outpatient tomorrow but I still have a lot of work to do. I am very grateful to be doing better and trying to stay focused on that so I can move forward and keep on improving.
I’m going to continue to work with PT, psych of some sort and the chiropractor. Hopefully I’ll be officially released to drive soon so that I can return home.

14 January 2009

If it isn't one thing, it's another

That saying that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” must have been written by someone who has never been given lemon after lemon after lemon.

I was finally starting to feel better about my hip, my skiing and my life. I was really optimistic and excited to continue to improve and who knows, maybe get back to work and possibly make a few races this year??

But, I must have done something to deserve bad karma because on the evening of the 5th I lost the ability to stand up. No you didn’t read it wrong, I could not use my legs. Previously that day, I had skied, done my stretches, fixed dinner and then all the sudden around 7PM I could not stand up. I had someone come over and stand me up but I just collapsed. At that point I started to freak out. I ended up heading to Denver via ambulance (the same company I work for), talk about scared and embarrassed. I stayed in the hospital until Tuesday of this week. It was a disaster, I was stuck there for DAYS and I left still not knowing why I couldn’t walk. It may have been a million different things,they weren’t sure but were hopeful I’d be back to normal soon.

Right now I can only try to work on myself as well as think positive that I’ll have my body back soon.