yoocan - Heather Shorey - Ain't No Mountain High Enough: My Amputee Story
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Ain't No Mountain High Enough: My Amputee Story

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Heather Shorey

My Amputee Story

The picture of me here was taken immediately after I had my first fall as an amputee. It took me a few minutes to get to the point of smiling, but I got there!

I had anticipated this fall for some time and perhaps that is why I felt it was so poignant of a moment. What I had not anticipated was the morning I went out for a run only to get hit by a garbage truck. I was medevaced to a neighboring island where I underwent eight surgeries, including the amputation of my right leg below the knee. I spent almost two months in the hospital and it was more than three months before I was given the opportunity to stand up on my left foot.

While I was in the hospital my brother approached me with the idea to set a monumental physical goal for myself. The intention was to motivate me to continue on my path toward healing, ultimately embracing the physicality that would be my new body. He suggested Kilimanjaro and I said, "Let's hashtag that #kili2020!"

Our goal is to climb Kilimanjaro one year after the date of the accident. As I heal and get stronger, every step is a challenge. I am constantly in awe of what and how much our bodies do for us. I have not yet learned to walk on two feet, but I know that eventually, I will get there. And I'll do it smiling. I've been given a gift to experience the world and this life anew with an appreciation for all that hurts and gives us joy.

I awoke the morning after my first fall and my whole body was in pain. The hurt was everywhere, staring me in the face. But if the process of living isn't magic, I don't know what is. I randomly picked up one of the current books I was reading and turned to where I had last left off. From Oprah Winfrey's book, 'The Path Made Clear':

"I had always thought a mountain is a magnificent metaphor for life. From a distance, the ascent looks clear and smooth, but once you actually set out for the summit, you discover unexpected valleys and precarious ridges along the way. If your internal compass isn't set to keep climbing, every stumble will give you an excuse to turn back."

My prayer for anyone who finds themselves challenged in life is that you too find that climber within you who takes the time to allow your own speed, enjoy the view, envision a way forward and through.

Your Kilimanjaro awaits.

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