Sharing with you about what REALLY happened isn’t going to be easy for me. But what motivates me, is to share how much God has been working to make me whole again. Bringing healing into the denial of what really happened.
A few weeks prior to leaving for the snowboard tour through the various western states, I was raped on Christmas Day that led to so much anger and bitterness. I remember trying so hard to pretend it didn’t happen. My normal cheerful and compassionate self turned into zombie-like, as I walked through the halls of my work. Everyone cheerfully asked how my Christmas was, and only vivid images flooded my mind. Every time someone asked, I fought tears and masked the horrible memories by forcing a smile and simply said that it was great to be with my family.
I hated the images of being trapped underneath, pushing and screaming for him to stop. He said it was a mistake and that he didn’t mean it. The more I tried convincing myself that he really didn’t mean it, the more anger and bitterness took over me. My senses finally kicked in when I realized that it’s not “just a mistake” when someone physically traps you and ignores your screams to stop. The more I pushed him away the more aggressive he became. However, more than hating those images, I hated how it effected me and how it effected my compassion for others. I became apathetic, angry, and bitter. This is NOT me! I needed Jesus, so I cried out to God.
I had written in my journal soon after: “I need your healing and peace, Oh God, in my life and situation. I didn’t journal earlier because I wanted to pretend that night never happened. I quickly learned I cannot pretend. The rape stole my joy, and my personality isn’t even there. I feel empty, yet anger continues to grow. I want your joy again, Lord, that only you can bring.”
I know this is controversial, but I took Plan B to block any possible conception if it didn’t already happen. There were scary complications so I described my symptoms with the doctors office and was informed over the phone that it sounded like I was already pregnant by my rapist. I was given this information right before I boarded my plane to my competition.
Now you are getting the picture of what was really going on in my mind as I was attempting to race with the best. I’ve been an athlete my entire life, and being mentally prepared is just as important as being physically prepared. The disciplined training, technique, and strength doesn’t help much without a disciplined mind. A series of events took place that left me in a wheelchair for months. It wasn’t just because snowboarding was the last thing on my mind while I raced some of the best from around the world, or because my boots were accidentally left untied.
The truth of my accident was trying not to think about what just happened a few weeks prior. I cried out to God to focus on my purposes while being on this tour instead of the scary words that I could possibly be already pregnant by my rapist haunting my mind.
With so many things going on, snowboarding was literally the last thing on my mind as I attempted racing with 30-plus foot jumps. Nailing most of them, and landing on my head on others. After doing a few practice runs on the course, both of my feet were numb from my brand new boots, so I untied them to walk around and get some circulation and feeling back into my toes. I intended to tie them when my name was announced to get into the start gate, but that very important detail left my mind. The boots support ankles to give us snowboarders and skiers the ability to do crazy jumps. Since my boots were untied, I literally heard both ankles snap and crush as I attempted to land after being in the air for about 80 feet (you can see in the video with link posted below).
Thankful for the Squaw Valley Team from California that all came in to check on me while in the Mt. Hood clinic. (RIP Coach Mark Stegall that passed from unknown causes weeks later)Adrian, Mort, and Tom all took turns getting me out of the clinic and giving me piggy back rides off the mountain, to the hotels, packing my luggage, and to the airport where Southwest Airlines literally carried me on and off all the flights. One sweet southern flight attendant even hooked me up with a mini bottle of whisky to help with the pain, God bless her heart!
I was flown from Portland to Columbus Ohio where I was finally seen by a doctor. Soon enough the orthopedic surgeons confirmed that both ankles were crushed, and both talus’s (major weight bearing join of the ankle) were not just broken, but completely snapped in half and displaced with multiple bone fragments. I was admitted to OSU Medical Center and on the schedule for surgery on both ankles in the morning.
It took me over ten months to even tell my parents what really happened. As they picked up their daughter from OSU Medical
Center with both legs in casts, I didn’t exactly know how to say, “By the way mom and dad, not only am I disabled and I need you to take care of me, but I was raped and I might be pregnant.” Honestly, I couldn’t have been more blessed to have such loving and selfless parents that took care of me when I couldn’t.
In October, I saw a doctor and was tested for STD’s from the rape. Praise the Lord I am completely clean. However, each person I had to talk to at the office drilled me, asking why it took me ten months before making this appointment. Each time I had to explain that both legs were in casts, couldn’t walk, couldn’t drive, and couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents yet what had happened so that they could drive me. One nurse’s response was, “So this entire time you have been carrying the consequences of someone else’s crime?”
The healing was not going to happen over night, but I had to take steps to seek God through this pain, or perhaps that anger and bitterness would forever consume me. I can write a book on all the details that go into my story, but it came down to faith and grace for me. I spent hours reading the bible and writing in my prayer journal every day. Three months of sponge baths, crawling to toilets, worrying I was going to get fat because I couldn’t move, worrying that I could be pregnant, my church being 2.5 hours away, it was a stretching time. After three months of being in a wheelchair, a specialized crane would lower me into a swimming pool as part of my therapy to learn how to walk again. Humbling. However, it made me need Jesus that much more. I have completely forgiven the man who did this to me. And even now, eleven months later, each step is taken with pain, I still smile because it’s through Christ of which I have strength.