I write to you from four years in the future. I know you’ve been through several unsuccessful ankle surgeries and years of treatments, even reaching the point of contemplating amputation – hang in there, hope is coming.
You don’t know this now, but your life is going to change. You’re going to go from hobbling to running, jumping, and most importantly, for the first time in over two years, you’re going to feel what it’s like to not live in debilitating pain. The soccer injury that changed it all will no longer own your life. You’re going to meet the most amazing team of people at the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, WA and they will change your life forever with a device called the ExoSym – there will be no words to thank them enough.
Upon returning home, you will begin setting goals for yourself – feeling determined, inspired and charged for life. People around you are going to be so happy to see your progress and many won’t believe the transformation. Getting back to an active lifestyle will be an amazing feeling and you’ll feel so grateful just to be able to stand, walk and sleep without pain. There will be ups and downs, and learning curves along this journey, but you will keep pushing through.
As you progress with your ExoSym, you’ll begin running in races again and along the way find the person you once were. The device will become a part of you and you with it. You’ll named it Old Faithful for its durability and dedication to get you to places and milestones you couldn’t reach without it. You and Old Faithful will move to three different cities, enjoying life and trying a bunch of new things from Camp Gladiator to CrossFit to adventure racing, distance cycling, running and more. You will become really strong and fit – nothing will hold you back. People will underestimate you and that’s okay because you’ll prove them wrong. ☺ You will push yourself really hard and at times Ryan and Jared will tell you to slow it down. Listen to their advice. You’re going to feel super pumped about life, but remember to put the breaks on sometimes. The ExoSym will make you feel invincible, but you’ll have to remind yourself from time to time to chill and take more rest days. Remember life’s a marathon, not a sprint.
You’re going to start a blog to help other patients and along the way, you’re going to meet the most amazing community of people – Team ExoSym. You’ll travel to meet other ExoSym buddies and even do races with them! You will get a second ExoSym to help you get around when Old Faithful needs to be mailed back for adjustments and also to alternate devices for equal wear, and you’ll name it The Jaguar. Together, with your pals Old Faithful and The Jag, you will conquer whatever comes your way. You’ll travel the US competing in events and hiking mountains, pushing yourself further than you can imagine – it will bring you to tears with your heart so full of gratitude for how much the ExoSym has changed your life. ♥ You’ll go through a lot of running shoes and socks, but in time you’ll learn how to make them last longer. You’ll get asked “What happened to your leg?” more times than you can count, and sometimes you’ll wish you didn’t have to explain, but you’ll figure how to deal with this. Challenges will be a constant in your life and things will happen to you that you can’t plan for, unexpected ups and downs, but you’ll learn to take it as it comes.
About three years into it, you’ll get into a major car accident, and your life will once again change forever. You’ll go through months of therapy and many dark days, finding the road back to normal, but Team ExoSym will be by your side to support. Many months later you’ll work yourself back to running a half-marathon again and return to Gig Harbor to run it alongside your ExoSym family. You’ll continue to face some setbacks along this recovery, and have to take a step back from priorities, but you’ll never give up.
When you look back over these last four years you’ll see how God brought you closer to him through your injuries and how much your faith has grown. The staff at the Hanger Clinic will become like family and every time you head back it will feel like returning home. As you reflect on this four year ExoSym journey, you’ll remember how Ryan always said to “trust the process” and to take it “one step at a time” and you’ll thank him because in these last four years that advice has rung true.
So, as you take this journey to Gig Harbor to try the ExoSym, never forget that God is always with you. Believe and trust that this is the next step. I am here to tell you that you are stronger than you know. The ExoSym will change your life.