By Christy Evers
Life has a way of throwing unexpected challenges our way, and for some, those challenges come in the form of surgeries and physical setbacks. In my case, surgeries have been a recurring theme throughout my life, shaping my perspective on resilience and the value of every moment. From early childhood to adulthood, each surgery has left its mark, both physically and emotionally. However, amidst the trials and tribulations, I have learned to appreciate the preciousness of life and developed a deep desire to explore the world. Join me as I reflect on my journey and the lessons it has taught me.
Childhood Surgeries: At the tender age of 5, I experienced a life-altering accident—I was hit by a car that left me with a split-open face, a broken arm, and a fractured leg. The path to recovery involved multiple plastic surgeries over many years to reconstruct my face. Strangely, I always regarded the scar on my face as the “bad” side, unaware that it would eventually become a symbol of strength and resilience. As the years passed, I began to realize that the side that underwent plastic surgery remained more uplifted and defied the effects of aging and gravity. Despite the resulting asymmetry, the scar side seemed to perpetually reflect a smile.
Defying the Odds: When I was 16, I participated in cheerleading—a spirited and physically demanding activity. However, one fateful day, while performing a daring stunt at the top of a human pyramid, I plummeted to the ground headfirst. In an instinctive attempt to break my fall, I extended my left hand, resulting in a compound fracture that necessitated surgery. Metal plates were implanted on both sides of my arm to aid in the healing process. This experience served as a stark reminder of how fortunate I was to have avoided a catastrophic neck injury and reinforced my belief in the power of resilience.
The Battle for Parenthood: Surgeries and Loss As a young adult, my dreams extended to starting a family. Unfortunately, my journey towards motherhood was fraught with heartbreak. Multiple miscarriages and stillbirths took a toll on my emotional and physical well-being. In most cases, surgery was required to safely complete these failed pregnancies, preserving my health and preventing further complications. These painful experiences deepened my appreciation for life’s miracles and the resilience of the human spirit.
Confronting Challenges: Surgeries as a constant companion, life had more challenges in store for me, and I encountered them in my thirties. A broken ankle left me in need of surgery once again. Metal plates were inserted into my ankle to ensure proper healing. Without it I would not have been able to walk properly again. Although this procedure may have seemed minor in comparison to the others, it served as a reminder of the impact surgeries had on my life.
Appreciating Life’s Gifts: The Importance of Gratitude and Exploration Reflecting on my journey, it becomes evident that surgeries have been an undeniable presence throughout my life. However, they have also taught me valuable lessons. The knowledge of coming face-to-face with mortality, uncertainty, and the struggle to regain normalcy has heightened my appreciation for life’s simplest joys. This profound gratitude has fueled my love for travel, as the thrill of discovering new places and experiences takes on an even greater significance. I understand the fragility of our abilities and the need to cherish them while they are intact.
My life’s path has been marked by surgeries, each one leaving an indelible impression on my physical and emotional being. From reconstructive procedures to injuries and the pain of lost pregnancies, I have encountered countless obstacles. Yet, through it all, I have embraced resilience and cultivated an unyielding appreciation for the beauty and fragility of life. Surgeries may have been an unwelcome companion, but they have taught me to seize every opportunity, celebrate life’s gifts, and explore the world with awe and wonder. Every day is a gift. Every ability is a gift. Embrace what you have while you have it.
Travel isn’t meant to escape life, but rather to more fully integrate with it. Our time here is short. Be kind to yourself and others and enjoy the ride.