How other’s stories can help you stay inspired

Posted August 27, 2014 1:20 pm by Marco Longley

overcoming adversity

While receiving physiotherapy awhile ago I met an amazing young lady (who I’ll call Sandy) who was also getting physio treatment. When I first looked at her, nothing really stood out as to the nature of the injury she was being treated for and at the outset I was oblivious of her injuries and her many, many scars. The first thing I couldn`t help noticing was her infectious laugh and upbeat attitude as she and the physiotherapist joked around.

Looking at Sandy from the head down I saw nothing that really looked wrong until I saw her legs. Her skin and muscles had been shredded off them as if by shark, perhaps a Great White Shark with very sharp pointy teeth. I was initially taken aback as her upbeat personality seemed in such stark contrast to the trauma she had suffered. She also had an assortment of vibrant flower tattoos bursting with radiant colours crisscrossing the fronts and backs of her legs which seemed much more in keeping to her personality.  How could this be – this upbeat, laughing woman with such horrific scars?

Sandy grinned proudly and pointed to one special section of her freshly grafted skin. She explained how the surgeons were able to remove her tattooed skin from her upper left leg and graft it to the more damaged lower right leg, equally awash with tattoos,  all while matching the right leg tattoos to the new transplanted skin.

She then told me about her accident. She was working at a construction site and a dump truck rolled backwards, running her over with the tires crushing her across her chest, abdomen and legs. It was a large fully loaded dump truck. The driver didn`t know she was under the rear wheels and all 11 tons of truck sat upon her – crushing her. She should have died that day, but she didn’t. The engine roared as the driver put the dump truck in first gear, completely unaware that she was caught under his wheels. Sandy was stuck under the truck as she heard the engine rumble to life and was dragged over 30 meters until the truck driver heard the screams and stopped.

She said that everything from her chest to her ankles looked as though it had been through a meat shredder, and I cringed with pain as she shared her story. She was in a coma for six days; spent six months in physical rehab at GF Strong learning to walk again, and then tried to return to a normal life. Her child was 4 years old at the time of her accident.  Sandy has had 23 surgeries and goes to the gym every day and also tries to be the best single Mom she can be. She is 32 and moves like she is 132. She has had multiple infections that almost killed her. She doesn`t have a belly button and sees her plastic surgeon every month as she has many more surgeries to go.

Sandy had the most horrendous injuries of anyone I have ever met yet she was a great story and joke teller and smiled a lot – she said it was because she chooses to smile.

When I hear the saying ‘I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man that had no feet’, I try to remember every day to FEEL and LIVE those words, not just say them. I own those words when I am fortunate to meet amazingly strong people facing adversity and it gives me the strength to accept my own pain and back problems and to carry on with positivity and enthusiasm for life.  As Henry Ford said ‘whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right’.  Choosing to be in a good mood or to see the glass as half full vs half empty WILL make a difference in how you perceive others, your job and your life.  Just remember the story of Sandy.

Contact Marco at marco@marcolongley.com.