June 30th – Two Years Since My Accident.

Today’s date is one that stands out to me more than any other. More than any birthday or holiday. I spend the days and weeks before, counting down to this day, and dreading its arrival. June 30th, 2018 – the day my life changed forever, making today the two-year-anniversary. Usually I only focus on the good, but I’m learning to allow myself to acknowledge, to accept, and to feel the pain as it comes. Yes, my life is good and full of happiness, but today is hard and that’s okay.

Not only does today mark this anniversary, but it is the marking of two important dates. Dates that I have been working to beat, and yet somehow, they have already arrived. My injuries, surgeries, treatments, and necessary medical equipment have been totaled to be an estimated sum of $20 Million. But today marks the day where I can no longer file a case for any payment or compensation, as if these injuries no longer matter. As if we’re just now all agreeing that they deserve nothing.

But in another way of looking at it, it’s also time to put down the fight that has drained us of our energy and our time. The United States Embassy, a United States Senator, a United States Congressman, and three different lawyers have all joined us in this fight. Yet, we made no progress. 

The greater goal here has never been about the money. It’s been about the hope to create real change, so that the next family that vacations on that island can go onto a boat and be able to walk back onto shore. To create change, to protect and prevent all that we have survived. 

Today also marks the day many doctors have reminded me of. They say that you typically only see your recovery from a spinal cord injury in the first two years. But I am not ready to believe that my recovery has reached its end. I’m choosing to ignore this. To focus on the stories of those who one day walked again, after 5, 10, or however many years it took.

I’m choosing to stick with the hard work that has carried me to each of  these successes so far. Ignoring any statistic, percentage, or date that says I should do otherwise. But again, this just still means that today is a hard day. And maybe tomorrow and other days to come will be, too. But I’ll let myself feel this pain – feel the anger and the frustration that this will surely cause, and again, I will pick myself back up. 

I will continue to advocate for change despite receiving no consideration for myself. I will continue to work hard despite this timeline I feel I should have met. I will work hard. I will search for the good. And I will see where life takes me. 

 #StefFindsNewRoads #StefStrong #NorthCountryChevyDealers

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