Three Year Anniversary Celebration

12 May ski_patrol

Sometimes, I wish my ski accident hadn’t happened. But when I notice that my life has truly changed over the past three years, I’m actually grateful. Because of the accident, I’ve been given multiple opportunities to speak to fellow skiers about how wearing a helmet saved my life. I spoke at the Valhalla movie premiere by Sweetgrass Productions, the 5Points Film Festival in Aspen and Carbondale, and a Summit County Medical Center event. If I hadn’t had this accident, I wouldn’t be offered so many opportunities to speak publicly.

March was my three-year anniversary of my accident- our family friends, whose son also had a TBI, call it “rebirthday.” The weekend of March 27-29 (which was a couple days after the anniversary), my parents wanted to get one final ski day in before the season ended at Copper. I decided to stay at the ski house while they skied. One of my close friends from patrol, Colby, invited me to have dinner with his fiancée, Andrea, at Tucker’s Tavern, which used to give a free beer to patrollers, so I know it fairly well. I already had plans to have dinner with my parents, but Colby asked if they could come along. Agreeing, we set a time that we would meet at the restaurant. After my parents got back from the slopes, we went over to Tucker’s to meet Colby and Andrea for dinner. While on the path walking over, I saw Colby’s brother, which was not unusual. I told him that I was excited that he was coming to dinner, too. When I walked in the restaurant, I heard a chorus of voices say, “Surprise!” I couldn’t believe it– there were 30 or so ski patrollers in the restaurant. ­­

I was so shocked and amazed that all those friends and supporters had come to celebrate. I’ve spent so much time around the Copper Mountain ski patrollers, and I was incredibly grateful that they all showed up for my anniversary party. My mom called the head of ski patrol the week before and asked him to encourage patrollers during every morning meeting to attend my gathering. Some of my good friends came, some of whom I hadn’t seen in so long, and I feel very fortunate that many people came to celebrate with me. Lucky for me, my parents graciously offered to run this whole thing- it was their idea, they contacted the head of ski patrol, and they paid for everyone to come to my event. If it wasn’t for their thoughtfulness, I wouldn’t have been able to celebrate with the patrollers that mean so much to me. To my parents, all the ski patrollers who came, thank you- from the bottom of my heart.

Update

28 Mar finished

I realize it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so I figured I would!

I’m up at our cabin in Leadville, and my mom and dad are skiing, so I stayed home (mostly because my foot hurts really bad in the ski boot- before next season, I’ll take into Surefoot or something and see if they can tweak it). So, I figured I better post something to make sure you’re updated!

I just made raspberry coconut bars. Here’s the recipe I followed. The recipe I followed didn’t call for any flour (what? A baking recipe without any flour?!?), but they are actually tasty.

Recently, I applied for many jobs- like 8 or 10. Now that I’ve submitted my applications, I’m playing the waiting game. Who knows, I might apply for more. I’m working with a vocational rehab counselor, because after my ski accident, I don’t have the energy to work 9-5 every day. If I get the interview, she works with this guy whose job it is to talk to the employer and explain what my situation is. Then, if I’m hired, I think I’ll go through this “work span” where the DVR can see if I’m cut out or the right fit for that job, and they actually pay the company to let me do that. There was a loooong wait list when I first started working with them (maybe four months ago?), and since my injury is rated the highest on their scale, I was bumped off first. I applied for sports social media jobs, but those were so easy to find up in Boulder, but it’s way harder down here. Luckily, USA Triathlon is close to our house (I could even walk there), and I applied for three jobs there.

I’m also working with a writing tutor. I majored in English in college, and I used to work for SKI Magazine as the online editor, but after my accident, my writing changed. The tutor has helped me with what maybe are simple things, but they’ve bothered me forever!! For instance, the difference between than and then.Than is a comparison: I like pecans better than walnuts. Then is related to time. I went to dinnerthen I went to the movies. Also, she’s taught me how to use a comma in a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. If there’s a FANBOYS word (For And Nor But Or Yet So) in the section you are wondering if a comma should be added, then it tells you should use a comma. For example, I like to travel, and I like to ski. Since there was an and, that tells you a comma should be added. (I need to find out the rules for saying I like to travel and ski, rather than separating them into two sentences.)

On the 8th Floor of Penrose Hospital where I was, this lady started Rehab Buddies about ten years ago, and she still runs it. She tries to pair me with young people and/or those that have had a TBI. Most patients I’ve been paired with have been older than me, and they are leaving the hospital sometime soon. The patient I see now is younger than me, and he also had a TBI in a car accident. Tuesday afternoon I’m bringing him a milkshake, because when I was in the hospital, my best friend Steve brought milkshakes whenever he showed up, so I’m returning that favor.

I’ve realized after a brain injury, you have to relearn things, or do them differently- it doesn’t mean I have to stop. March is also brain injury month, so that’s another reason to post now (although March is almost over). I’m excited for it to warm up- spring is here and summer’s on it’s way!

Sprained ankle :-(

28 Jan unnamed

unnamedThe SIA snow show is starting Thursday in Denver, and the High Fives Foundation is having a “presentation” on Saturday at noon, which I’m attending. I’ll also see more of my trade show buddies while I’m in the convention center. Then, I was going to ski at the On-Snow demo of SIA on Tuesday, and in order to convince people to ski with me, they had to donate $50 or $100 to the High Fives Foundation. When I was at the trade show on Saturday, I was going to round up some donations from the people I knew.

But yesterday, as we were looking at my brother’s new house, we were headed to eat lunch in the backyard. There was a large outdoor chair at the table we were going to eat at, and I foolishly thought I could sneak by to the other side to sit down. My mistake, because I fell off the patio and onto the ground, causing a severe sprain on my right ankle. Now I have a boot on it. That also means that I cannot go skiing to raise money for High Fives either.

I will still go to SIA and say hi to people on Saturday, but I was also going to convince people to ski with me and also donate to the foundation that has so generously helped me in many steps of my recovery. Since I can’t go skiing on Tuesday, I’m writing to ask you one simple thing. If you would be kind enough to donate to High Fives (with “Sally Francklyn Ski Day” posted in your donation, too), that would be so helpful to me. I’m really sad that I can’t give back to the foundation who has graciously supported me by doing my best to go skiing, and asking people to donate. I can’t go skiing, which is a big bummer, but I ask that you donate in my honor.

Trying nerofeedback

22 Jan skiing_photo

skiing_photo

Thanks to the High Fives Foundation, I’m trying neurofeedback. My dad met some people who’s son was hit in the head by a baseball when he was pretty young, and they’ve seen a benefit to neurofeedback for him. The guy who’s “doing” it to me is his father. It won’t hurt my brain in any way, so I might as well try it.

There’s a chance it will improve my writing. As you probably know, I was right handed before my accident and now I’m a leftie, so there’s a possibility it will help with my handed-ness so I might be able to write with my right hand again. To write this, I’m using an iPad, and to type (because you have to do that on the screen), I’m using my left hand. Neurofeedback has helped me in “small” ways, like I used to get up to go to the bathroom twice while I was sleeping, and now it’s only once. So I’m hoping there’s a chance it will help me with my coordination, too.

My friend Nick Mercer, who also suffered a TBI, has written this post about why exercise is so good for the brain. He teaches Pilates, so I tried that, but it was difficult for me because there was something made of metal (or something similar) that you have to push with your feet before you switch to another move, and the fact that my right side has less coordination meant it banged into the metal thing before I could do the next exercise. So, I don’t think that was for me. I work with a personal trainer, Trista, on trying to keep my body strong. This is the third time I’ve applied for a grant from the High Fives Foundation, and they didn’t approve it (darn!), but I find it so important to keep working with her. I worked out with her again today, because she had to skip last Tuesday, and I find it really beneficial (and important!) to have her twice a week, so I might just pay for it myself.

That’s all for now- my brother just bought a house nearby very expensive Boulder, so I’m happy to help him “design” the place! And that is a photo is of me skiing with Steve Hemphill (aka Steve Hemp) and Kait Rohlfing at Copper!

High Fives Foundation

26 Dec unnamed

Merry Christmas, everyone! I was sick on Christmas Eve, and felt a little better on Christmas Day, and I’m still getting better. I thought I would take this time at home to do some blogging, because it’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

I think it’s important to talk about the organization that has been so helpful in my recovery- the High Fives Foundation. I would in no way be where I am today without their support. They have selected me as a Winter Empowerment Athlete, and they’ve been so gracious in supporting what I need throughout my recovery. LearningRx brain training, a personal trainer, massages, speech therapy and neuro-feedback is what they’ve supported me with so far. I did the brain training almost right after I got out of the hospital, which was maybe too early for me because I got too easily frustrated. But my massuese said that I wouldn’t be as far along if she didn’t work on my body so soon. Also, the personal trainer has been great for me, because she’s helped me get stronger (duh) and has helped work on the parts of my body that were effected by my ski accident.The speech therapy I went through at CU Boulder was monumental in improving my speech..

I cannot say enough good things about this organization. I’ve kind of reached a point, though, that in my recovery, things will only get better if I work on them and force them to. My brother and my mom said last night that the only way my right hand will get better (I’m left handed now after the injury) is if I make it do simple things. For instance, last night, we were playing Mexican Train, which is a game using dominoes, and once we were done, they challenged me to put them back with my right hand, instead of my left. That made me angry, but I did it anyway, and now I realize how important simple things like that are after my injury.

After I get home from the holidays, I will try yoga at home. Many people have suggested that it will be beneficial, and I tried the laying down kind- yin, but that wasn’t hard enough for me. It was almost like I could take a nap. But since my balance is off, I got a few Christmas yoga dvd’s to try at home. When I’m at home, my balance won’t matter, because there’s no one watching, so I can try and fail as hard as I want to. I will set a regimen for it, like going to a class would, and hopefully my balance will improve if I really focus on it.

A fellow High Fives athlete, Jocelyn, posted this video of her skiing recently on Facebook. Since she’s a much better skier than me after our injuries (and hers caused her to be a paraplegic), that is the inspiration I need to re-focus on my recovery.

https://vimeo.com/115455844

Headed Home From Jackson

24 Nov Kevin Pearce_20141122_5D_0019

I spent a long weekend in Jackson, Wyoming. My friend CD (aka Chris Denny) invited me up to the Watershed Jackson event, where Kevin Pearce would be the lead speaker. I watched the movie about him, “The Crash Reel,” and I was so excited to hear him speak. He also ha a TBI, so it was great to hear someone else speak about his TBI.

What I found interesting was that he still found ways to ski, just safer ways. As long as there’s powder or soft snow, he can ski. After watching his film, I thought you were actually not allowed to go skiing again. Doctors in his movie said it would be life-altering if he had another TBI, and I thought that meant never go skiing again. But it was good to hear him talk about going skiing again, but in a safer way than the halfpipe was.Kevin Pearce_20141122_5D_0019

That gives me hope. I fell on a pretty steep tun, and I stopped by hitting my head on some rocks. Luckily, the helmet I was wearing saved my life. Even though I can’t ski like I used to, hearing him say he just has to find a different form of snowboarding and not stopping was good.

The right side of my body has less coordination that the left, so that means I have trouble controlling my skis. I talked to a guy at Watershed who has trouble with his left side, so that ski is much shorter. He said he has trouble knowing exactly where to go, so a person skis in front of him to tell him exactly where to go. I don’t have that problem, but he’s figured out a way to make it work.

Through blogging for Copper Mtn, I have earned a season pass as compensation. And since skiing is still possible for me, and I used to love it, I will try it agin. It’s kind of exciting for me that after a TBI, people still ski, just in safer ways.

Going back to Jackson was great, because I still love it, but I used to be a much different person before my ski accident. The snow they have on the ground here makes it difficult to walk. I also saw some of my close friends up here last night, but I met them through skiing. So it will be hard if I moved back here, because I might have to make new friends that I didn’t make through just skiing. Don and Shea luckily hosted the dinner party that I planned on last night, and my other trends Jeff, Patrick and Kendall, and Karissa came. It was great to be up here and see all those people, and learn that I can still ski, just in a different way.

Speaking Publicly about TBI’s

14 Nov kevin-pearce_73136_600x450

Well, I haven’t written in a long time, so I figured I should. I’m much more glad being at home in Colorado Springs- when I was in Boulder, I had a lot on my mind that stressed me out, like getting a job, to help pay for my rent (and I was dipping into my savings, which defeats the whole purpose of having it!). I found some people to rent my apartment in Boulder, so I’m saving quite a bit of money by living at home. Plus, groceries are way cheaper here!

kevin-pearce_73136_600x450

Being at home gives me more time to publicly speak about TBI’s, which I think is so important. My former boss (and good friend) in Jackson, Wyoming, Chris Denny (aka CD) invited me up to attend Watershed Jackson event, where Kevin Pearce will be the lead speaker. CD knows just about everyone, and I was asked to speak for a few minutes before Kevin does. Kevin Pearce seems like a big name, so the fact that I’m able to speak before him is truly a gift. That has got me thinking about supporting organizations like Watershed. Since I loved Jackson so so much, and I was only there for a month and a half before my accident, knowing that things like Watershed are there that are spreading the importance of being safe while you ski is so important.

I’m also speaking at the Summit Medical Center TBI Support Group event in Frisco, Colorado. I will show photos, this video, and speak for about 30 minutes describing my injury and recovery, and why it’s so important to wear a helmet while you ski.

If I was still in Boulder, I wouldn’t have these abilities. Yes, I world still be asked to speak at them, but being at home gives me more time to come up with my story and photos. In Boulder, I was stressed about finding a job, and my friends from college had other things going on in their lives and I felt like I was stuck where I was, and not moving on. Being at home has made me realize that yes, I do have time and energy to speak about ski accident stuff.

My parents (well, my dad) have decided to “remodel” the second floor of our house- that means new carpet, and new trim and doors. Dad has realized it’s much cheaper to buy stuff at Unfinished Furniture Warehouse (like he did for our main floor), and sand them and stain them himself. This really shows how talented my dad is and that he can sand/stain and then install them himself. I have helped some with cutting the pieces of our trim, and sanding and staining the wood, and helping my parents decide on the carpet, but I feel like I’m not much help. But I have supported them by cooking lunch and dinner, and they say that has helped them a ton.

I will take over the guest bedroom as my bedroom, and use Chris’s bedroom as my TV room and desk space, so it will be nice to have my own space that I can retreat to and get work done. We aren’t finished with the remodel yet, though, so I haven’t quite “settled in.” But everything is going well for me here at home!

(The image above found here: images.nationalgeographic.com)

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