A Gift From God

crashAdam opened eyes to white walls, and the sanitized smell of a hospital. His elbow, shoulder, knee and ankle were broken. Six ribs were broken in three places and both bones in his right leg were broken in multiple places. The last thing he could remember was admiring the beauty of the Georgia Mountains as he leaned his motorcycle into a curve.

His wife and mother stood by his bedside, awaiting his death. He survived the night. The doctors said he might live but would be paralyzed for life.  When their diagnosis proved wrong, they said he would never be able to use his right leg. After physical therapy, he moved his right  leg. They said he would never have full range of motion, and would need a cane to walk. “None of their predictions came true,” said Adam. “They didn’t know how big of a God we serve.”

After spending a month in the hospital, Adam returned home in a wheelchair with an external fixator attached to his leg to maintain the correct position of the leg as it heals. The doctors drilled sixty-nine holes in Adam’s leg to attach the device. I couldn’t work,” said Adam. “But God blessed me. My business partner continued to give me half of our business income the entire time I was confined to the wheelchair.”

fixatorAdam endured a slow and painful recovery. When a bone did not heal properly, the doctors would break the bone and reset it. Powerful drugs were prescribed to ease the pain. One day, Adam realized he had become dependent on the drugs. He stopped taking his pain medication and suffered withdrawals. Rather than become a drug addict, he chose to endure the pain until it was unbearable.

A turning point came when a friend invited Adam to volunteer at the Louisiana Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual 150 Mile Bike Tour for Cure. The event raises funds critical for programs and services that assist people living with Multiple Sclerosis. The two-day bicycle tour had rest stops provided every 10 miles for the cyclists. Volunteers were needed to distribute food and water at each stop.

Adam was reluctant to volunteer because his wheelchair made travel difficult, but his friend was persistent.  He parked Adam at the first rest stop. When a sea of cyclist in tight formation sped past, Adam thought I could do that, and then prayed, “God if you see fit to let me out of this wheelchair, I’m gonna do this to honor you.”

He returned home excited and set a goal to be a cyclist at the next Tour for the Cure. He reached a low point in his recovery when he failed to accomplish his goal. Discouragement grew with each passing cyclist as he sat his wheelchair handing out food and water. Refusing to be defeated he fought back the discouragement with hope and a renewed determination that one day he would ride in the Tour for a Cure.

The following February, he begged the doctors to remove the fixator, so he could begin training. His bones were healed, so they complied but warned him to take it easy. Two months later, he purchased his first bicycle. “I rode one mile and was exhausted,” said Adam. “It was harder than I thought it would be. My weight had increased to 330 pounds while I was confined to the wheelchair. After a month of riding I gained two more pounds.”

Adam struggled to exercise and watched his diet but losing his first two pounds after so much effort was little consolation. He felt himself slipping into depression when he heard the Holy Spirit whisper to his heart “You have to lose 2 pounds to lose 12, and 12 to lose 20, and 20 to lose 60.”  Spurred on by the gentle encouragement from the Spirit, he determined to be faithful in whatever his body could handle. He arose at 4:30 a.m. every morning and rode his bike for an hour. When he had time he rode again in the evenings and on weekends. By late August, he was riding an average of 300 miles a week and his bike was falling apart.

bike-raceHe had purchased a mountain bike to accommodate his weight that was not designed for riding long distances. Now sixty pounds lighter, with a goal of riding 150 miles, he invested in a road bike. “I was fortunate to find a bike with a chip in the paint that was marked down 40%,” said Adam.

After two long years, Adam attained his goal. He finished the first 75 mile leg of the tour in four hours. “My time was slow, but a lot of people don’t finish. I never planned to compete. My goal was to complete the 150 miles, and I did,” said Adam.

In addition to completing the Tour for the Cure, Adam accomplished more goals. He completed a half marathon and then he learned how to swim, so he could participate in Ironman.  The Ironman required a 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles on bike and a 13.1 mile run. Adam obtained permission from his doctor to run, but was warned not to make running a career.

“Exercise was not a part of my life before the accident. There was no way I could have done all of this without God’s blessings and favor. To me, being able to exercise is a gift from God,” said Adam.

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