Good morning, and welcome to July 2, 2011. As I got up that morning I went on an amazing three and half mile training run, gearing-up for the Plymouth, Wisconsin Cheesehead Chase 5K Race in which my goal was to win my age group. Running eight minute miles was a great accomplishment that day, but that is the last thing I will remember for quite some time.
Most of what is written below is from what others have told me because I don’t remember anything on July 2, or the 22 days thereafter.
Anyone who knows me knows my passion for racing runs deep and I would not change it for the world! I grew up in a racing family and now co-own, with my husband, our own team. Racing is in my blood. It just so happens that on the night of July 2 my husband was racing in a sprint car race. As night grew closer and the dirt track racing grew stronger, my husband had a mishap and flipped his 360 winged sprint car. This race car is specially designed to carry a wing on the top of the frame (car) and a front wing by the front axle and bumper. We needed a new top wing which gets placed on the top of the frame because ours had been ruined. It was time to hurry to the race shop.
As we headed back to the track after going to the shop, the spare top wing and I were in the bed of the truck, and I was trying to keep the wing from moving around. I don’t remember why I got back there but I do know I did it on my own. I also remember that we had a short time to get it back to the track.
Somehow I catapulted out of the back of the truck onto a now very special Blueberry Road.
People make decisions all the time and accidents happen — that’s why they are called accidents.
As I have been told, I was coherent when Plymouth Ambulance and a Sheboygan County Sheriff’s deputy got to me and I was very combative. They worked hard and fast and are amazing at their jobs!
I was bleeding heavily and had over 58 stones/rocks embedded in me due to road rash from my head to my toes. With the severity of my injuries, it was decided by the Sheboygan Sheriff’s Department and Plymouth Ambulance Service to have me transported by Flight For Life. Bill Richie (pilot), Jon Hagen (flight nurse), and Justin Klis (flight paramedic) were in charge after I left the amazing Plymouth Ambulance crew.
Bill landed safely at Froedtert Lutheran Hospital and my journey continues on... Once I arrived at the hospital I was taken in for CT-scans and was given the name “Honeysuckle Doe” because they had no identification documents to tell them my name. The name they gave me has really proven to be a beautiful piece of an incredible journey.
My sister arrived very soon after I did, and made them aware of my name. Blake Shelton’s “Honeybee” song has taken on a whole new meaning for us all and someday I hope to have him hear my story and sing it live to us.
I was quickly moved into the NCIU unit due to blood clots, heavy bruising and fractures on the left and right side of my brain and skull.
Surgery and I met after my family was given no more than 30 seconds to say what they needed to say, and goodbye was not an option. This racer’s life was changing and it was a “caution” in the race of life as we knew it.
After a long but successful surgery I returned to my room, however the next 72 hours were crucial and intense for everyone around me. The swelling had to go down on my brain and I also had received two blood transfusions, five units each, for spiking fevers. My brain had to rest so there was silence. Not even speaking softly in my room was allowed. I was quietly wrapped in prayer.
As the journey continued, God knew that it was time for me to wake up and continue the strong fight with the help of my husband and entire family. They did not know what type of memory or brain activity I would have or be limited to... or it could all be completely gone. Again, it was the waiting game.
While waiting, my brain was healing, and I was soon well enough to be hauled off to another surgery, this time on my left pelvis. This part of my body was shattered and needed a large amount of care. There are now a total of eight metal rods and plates on that side of my pelvis. I was not done yet; there were more bones that needed attention.
I was put under once again to have surgery on my left wrist which was shattered and in need again of a large amount of care, including screws and plates to repair the damage. My left shoulder also required surgery to place a metal pin to fuse two bones together. By 2012 I had four surgeries complete and was recovering amazingly well.
I had surgery number five in December of 2013 in which a metal plate was removed; it felt great to have it taken out because I am healing and embracing every moment of the life I am blessed enough to have.
My brain function is back to where I was pre-accident and I am beyond grateful to be able to do the things I love which include writing, speaking in public and being creative.
Many say I am “Froedtert’s walking miracle.” I say I am God’s and He had the right people doing their jobs at the right time and His guidance was among all of them. For we walk by Faith, not by sight.
To the Flight For Life-Fond du Lac crew, Sheboygan County Sheriff and Plymouth Ambulance crew – thank you for doing your jobs and embracing me in your care. To my surgeons and staff at Froedtert – I thank everyone who prayed for me and continues to do so today. To my family, my church family and our Pastor – you all are my rocks and fortresses.
It's not about the destination, it’s about the joy of the journey and capturing that checkered flag.