Wednesday, March 7, 2012

365 days ago...

My whole life changed at 2:00pm on March 7, 2011. My right foot flipped upside-down (literally folding almost a full 180 degrees to the inside of my shin) and my tibia bone was protruding from my skin. I saw a lot of things flash before my eyes as I was lying on my side in a sand pit, seriously thinking that my foot might have to be amputated. My coach, Edrick, jumped on top of me, gently holding me down to keep me from flaying about from the pain for the whole 45mins it took to get me drugged, splinted and in an ambulance. My Stanford teammates were quick to rush to my aid with frantic 911 phone calls, calls to the training room, to the medical facility, and to my roommate. In my state of shock, all I could think about was that my dreams of making a second Olympic team were over, that I would never jump again, and that I would be lucky to even walk again. On the best practice jump of my life, I jumped too far and planted my second phase at the edge of the runway, where the pit meets the sand. One second I'm flying fast and high, then the next I feel a snap, scream in pain, and look down to see my full spike plate looking up at me. Ever stepped in gum? How many awkward contortions did you have to go through to see it on the bottom of your shoe?? There is no way you should be able to stand up straight and look down at the whole sole of your shoe, no matter how you twist and turn your ankle. I felt dehumanized and reduced to a cartoon character.

It didn't take long to get my mind refocused though! Less than 24 hours after my traumatic accident, one of my surgeons nonchalantly told me that with my injury "it would be hard for a couch potato to go back to their lifestyle of being a couch potato." Well I pity that lazy couch potato and I made up my mind, on that hospital bed at 10:15am on Tuesday morning, March 8 2011, that I would prove that doctor wrong. I WOULD jump again. I WOULD make another Olympic team. At the time, confined to a hospital bed for a total of 5 days, I had no idea how I would make my goals a reality. I just knew that I would.

In 354 days... less than 1 year... I went from: 

My surrogate coaches for US Indoor Nationals: Kirk and Terrence
2nd place at US Indoor Nationals!!! I lost by only an 1 inch, but I also had my best jump of the year and in the 3 meets I've done this year, I've improved almost a foot each time. My mark at US Indoor Nationals was 45'1". It's a long way off my usual jumps, but I'm working hard and will get were I need to be soon. I need to jump 46'11" to get the 'A' standard for the 2012 London Olympics. Less than 2 feet to go! WE got this! And yes, I do mean WE! Although I'm the one jumping, this is far from a "one (wo)man show". I couldn't do it alone and thanks to the wonderful people in my life, I haven't had to try. Here's a list of some of the individuals who help to keep my heart beating stronger each day, who help to pick up the pieces in the moments when I cry from pain and frustration, who make me smile and laugh til my abs hurt, who give me the world's best hugs, who fix my daily aches, who slap me upside the head when I need a reality check, who encourage me when I don't have the strength to encourage myself, and those who simply let me know they care:

My parents: Kevin and Terrie who flew out to California to care for me while I was in the hospital and who have been there every scooter push and step of the way
My little sis: Kelsey, who helps to keep me lookin' "fly"with her new found fashion sense and who makes me more and more proud of her with each passing day.
My coach: Edrick. I can't say enough about him. He's with me 6 days per week and in my head 24/7. I know some moments are frustrating and he might want to drown me in the underwater treadmill, but even in those moments, I know he only wants the best for me and sees my potential. He's been my rock and a lifesaver. He pushes me through the pain, but knows how to nurture the pain I feel in my heart at the same time.
My Bestie: Terrence who has been there for me since I began triple jumping my freshman year of high school and who cheers me up just as often as he chews me out ;-)
My leading lady: Leah who stayed with me the first night in the hospital and well...she knows! lol Needless to say, we got close and personal really quickly and she was a god-send, helping my parents while I was in the hospital. She was my roommate at the time and has quickly become one of my best friends.
The big sister I always wanted: Esra, who taught me to harness the strength and beauty inside myself.

OSCAR MUSIC PLAYING.... haha ok ok, I'm trying to wrap it up...

My closet friends: Becky, Vicki, Amanda, Elena, Shelli, Adam, Laura, Anargyha, James, Joel, Jakki, Curt and Jason
My teammates: Whitney, Brittni, Griffin, Mark, Patton, Karynn, Kori, Katie, Jordan, Sarah, Mia and Amaechi
My godparents: Joyce and George
My "extended family": Suanne, Kirk, Theanne, Alexa, Will, Cole, Ann, Mariah, Natalie, Eliza, Lynore, Sibby, Aunt Dollie, Julie, Jenny, Jill, and Coachie
The creator of Vapser: Peter Wasoski
A few of my biggest supporters: Coach Kwad, Erika, Jordan and Juliet
My massage therapists at SMI: Mark and Greg
My acupuncturist: Colleen
My ankle specific therapist: Brian
My surgeon who believes in me: Dr. Hunt
My surgeon who did a great job stitching me up, but whose lack of faith in me stirred me into action: Dr. [will remain nameless]
My grammy: Grandma aka Helena... I will "go to my destiny girl"
And last but not least: My physical therapists at Agile: Marc and Renee... whose magic hands have made all this possible!

OKAY! OKAY! I'm done. I left off some names for the sake of time and your sanity ;-)

AND THANKS TO YOU! (really! thanks for reading this!)

I'll leave you with some of the short videos I made over the past year about the progress of my injury. ~xoxo

Pin It Erica McLain ... The Official Blog: 365 days ago...


Crusty said...

What about MEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Jason said...

Erica you are the hardest working woman I know. Big time big time come back. I tell people about your story all the time. Very proud of you! Keep being the beast that you are. I'm trying to make a trip to see you in London so get it done!! I'm here if you ever need anything!

T Wheatley said...

Very proud to be your bestie!!! From the darkness... Champions emerge!

Tbmc said...

I told you one year ago when you were laying in that hospital bed in agonizing pain and trying so hard to be brave... "God is all up in this!"
Just look at all the awesome people he has placed in your path to help you with your recovery. You have worked so very hard and I am so very thankful for all that you have accomplished!


Leah said...

Very proud to be a part of your journey and more importantly your life! ...And thankful every day that your foot is on straight! You CHOSE to harness positive energy and you CHOSE to persevere -- a powerful woman indeed!