X Games and X Terra!

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It's the 2nd week of 2nd semester and so far I'm enjoying all of my classes. Winter break wasn't nearly as fun as I thought it would be. Besides totaling my car, I didn't do a whole lot... Not a lot of people were around. I'm glad to be back in school and seeing all my friends, even if it does mean a little less riding.

My mom and brother left early this morning to drive my new X Terra SE 4x4 out here! My mom's dropping my brother off at the airport and then she'll be here around 10:30 tomorrow morning! It's been 2 1/2 weeks without a vehicle and I am soooo excited to have one again. My mom and dad sadly fell in love with the X Terra after they bought it for me on Saturday. They wanted to keep it! It's used, but looks brand new.

Next weekend is X Games and I'm soooo excited to go watch my friends compete!!! I will also be doing some stuff for CMC and Woodward, so if you're there, look for me in a Woodward jacket! Oh, and if you know anyone in the Aspen or Glenwood Springs area who would let me stay at their place for a night or two, let me know! 


Movin' On

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This past week was really rough. I started my new medication for Fibro, but because it's such a strong med I have to start on really small doses, so it's not helping my pain much. It's also making me super nauseated. I laid flat on my stomach on my couch yesterday until about 4pm. I have been struggling to find a vehicle. I was going to buy an Acura MDX until me and my parents realized how much it would be to insure. Super bummed. I wanted to go out to Utah this weekend to cheer on my friends in the Dew Tour, but with no car it's not going to happen. I haven't been out riding in almost a week because of Fibro either, which is also a bummer because it's been so beautiful out.

Since I have been stuck inside a lot this past week, I decided to make a list of places I wished I could travel to. Traveling is a passion of mine, and when I don't have much transportation at all, it makes me want to get out that much more. I think it's crazy how some people can go their entire lives without leaving the country. TV just doesn't do it for me, I want to see it in person. I know I probably won't get to half of these places, but I can dream right? (These are in no specific order.)

Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats, Potosí, Bolivia
The salt flats usually look like white cracked dirt, but magical things happen after it rains.

Cappadocia, Turkey
A city made of rock.

Chichen Itza, Mexico
The Mayan ruins.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The largest art statue in the world, standing 130 feet tall.

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
More than 2,000 years old, it accommodated 60,000 seated and 10,000 standing.

Trans-Labrador Highway, Labrador, Canada
If you think driving in the winter in Colorado is rough, think again.

Easter Island, South Pacific Ocean
For being one of the most isolated islands in the world, these guys make it feel pretty occupied.

The Great Wall of China, China
Built over 2,000 years ago by emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.

The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands over 133,000sq miles.

Bora Bora, Pacific Ocean
A French Polynesian island that has one public transportation bus that goes halfway around the island.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Believed to have been a retreat for Incan rulers, located between the Andean Mountain Range.

Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavarian Alps, Germany
Construction began in 1869 for King Ludwig II. It was still unfinished at the time of his death in 1886.

Petra, Jordan
Over 800 monuments carved by the Nabataean people over 2,000 years ago.

Off the coast of Phuket (Po-ket), Thailand
A slum village floating and attached to it's "anchor", located off the Island of Phuket.

Cliff Overhang, Forsand, Norway
Located near the Preikestolen Cliff, around 1,982ft above the city of Lysefjorden.

Great Pyramids of Giza, outskirts of Cairo, Egypt
The largest and most preserved of the 138 pyramids in Egypt.

Santorini, Greece
Located in the south of the Cycladic islands that looks over a caldera caused by a sunken Volcano.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
A mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.


Fibro Fighter

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This entry was going to be all about my favorite riding spots on Breck with maps and pictures, but something else recently came up. When someone thinks about all the things a college students struggles with, studying, homework, relationships, or finding the balance between partying and work might come to mind. But I'm not your average college students, and my battles are quite different.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (Fibro-My-Al-Jah), or Fibro for short. It is a condition of the Central Nervous System that makes all the nerves in my body hyper-sensitive. Instead of feeling the sensation of a "touch", my body perceives that as pain. It hurts my digestive system to eat and drink, bright lights hurt my eyes, loud noises hurt my ears. In fact, I don't remember what it's like to not feel pain. All of my joints, especially my spine and fingers, are in pain 24 hours, 7 days a week. I use to have certain fingers that I wanted amputated, and I was serious. When I get "flare-ups" my pain is 10x worse, and I usually have a fever. I get "fibro fog", where I feel drugged, can't think straight, and my memory gets really bad. I never know when I'm going to get a flare-up, and I never know how long they're going to last. Sometimes just an hour, sometimes for months. There's little known about Fibro- what causes it, how it manifests, etc. There's no cure, and currently not that many medications out there for it. It's a very devastating diagnosis, but if I could live again, I'm not sure I would chose to not have Fibromyalgia. Fibro has given me qualities that I would have never had.

There are a few key things that help me live the way I live: Acceptance, self help, letting go of the negative, embracing the positive, living in the moment, and never quitting what I love. I have had my triumphs and my failures, and I want to share them all with you. I am no doctor, and I can’t tell you how to live and what is best for you. But I hope that in some way, my story can inspire others to live happier lives, and enjoy themselves.

I was in denial for a long time, and I remember the day I came out of it. I was at my doctor's office and he rolled his chair over so he was eye to eye with me. He choked up ever so slightly when he looked me in the eyes and said, "I am going to be honest with you; there will probably never be a day in your life when you're not sick and in pain, but I'm going to do my best to make you as comfortable as I possibly can." I spent the next several months at home feeling sorry for myself. Most of my time was dedicated to research on Fibro forums, where all anyone did was talk about what they were going through and how hard of a time they were having. I realize for some people getting that out can help, but it was the worst thing I could have done for myself. All I read about were the issues people faced with getting disability benefits because they could no longer work there 9-5 job. I was brain washed into thinking I was no longer capable of college or anything else that young adults do. Until one day I had an epiphany. Fibromyalgia can take my body, but it can't take my soul. 

I have always been told that anything is possible, and no one should ever give themselves limits. I started to realize that I was never going to be the same person, but I should be okay with that. Just because I can't run as fast doesn't mean I shouldn't try running at all, should it? When I finally accepted my diagnosis, I started accepting the fact that I was different, but I wasn't gone. I began doing all the things I use to love, and I started feeling better. The more active I became, the better I felt, and it dawned on me. I spent so much time being angry and feeling bad for myself, when the only disability I had was my bad attitude. If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. I didn't want people to feel sorry for me, I wanted people to be proud of me. I changed everything about my daily life, from my diet, to my activities, to my outlook on the world.

Before Fibro I easily judged people by the clothes they wore, the job they had, or the car they drove. After Fibro, I didn't physically look any different. I was easily hurt by rude people who didn't have the slightest clue what I was going through. It made me realize that behind every pair of eyes there could be a war that I knew nothing about. I learned what compassion was. We feel bad for all the blind kids who can't see, but do we stop to notice all the kids who wished they didn't have to see the things they did? Or do we tell them "at least you can see?" Everyone struggles in their own way. It doesn't matter if they're a stranger or your best friend. It doesn't matter if you see them everyday or you're never going to see them again. Being kind, generous, and showing someone that you care is the greatest gift you could ever give.

It is ironic however, that the biggest war I have been fighting since Fibro is one you can actually see. When I was first diagnosed I started taking a medication called Lyrica. It helps dull my pain to the point where it's bearable and doesn't stop me from doing my daily routines. It was a great medication, except for the one side-effect I suffered from: weight gain. After I started Lyrica, I felt such a relief that the extra weight didn't bother me. But as time went on, it did. I accept the irritable bowel/bladder syndrome, the migraines, fevers, and aches and pains. I accepted all that Fibro threw at me, but I did not accept the fact that I had two choices in my life: Be "fat", or be in pain. So over the last few months I have tried to ween off of Lyrica. The first two times I lasted two weeks, and this time I am on my third.

The reason I wrote this entry is because today, I am in an immense amount of pain. The pain I feel in all of the joints in my fingers is very easily described as what it feels like if a clothes pin was on every single joint of your hand. My spine feels like it's being set on fire, squished together, and beaten with a hammer all at the same time. The digestive pain makes me curl up in a ball in my chair and not move for hours in the morning. I am going to try a new med on Wednesday, which is called Sevella. It doesn't have weight gain as a side effect, so I am praying it works for me. So far, only Lyrica has.

I start school tomorrow, and this is where I have to dig deep into my soul and think of a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." For most, pain is only temporary, and only comes in waves. For me, pain is a daily part of life. But pain has opened my eyes and made me realize that in every negative, there is a positive. Without pain, would I have become the optimistic, accepting, caring person I am? Probably not. Since crashing my car I have had to walk so many places... and I have never felt more refreshed. It's so easy to get caught up in the negative things that often times people forget to look at the positives.

Humans are creatures of habit, and it took time for me to change my ways of thinking. When you're mad about something, let yourself be mad. Everyone has the right to be upset, but no one has the right to be cruel. So when you find the strength within yourself to let it go, if you can't find any positives... make some. "Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself." It's 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react, learn, and grow from it. 

To sum things up, I saw a movie called Kung Fu Panda, and in it was this quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift... that’s why we call it the present.” And that’s how I live. I can’t change what happened to me, and I can’t change what’s going to happen to me, but I can control how I feel and live today.



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Yesterday evening was the first (and probably last) time I saw my car since my accident. I knew the bottom of my car was probably pretty bad, and I knew my windshield and driver side mirror were busted... but I had no idea how bad the front end was.

The picture doesn't do it justice, I was shocked when I walked up to it. There were still tree branches and snow packed into my car. I didn't realize at the time of my accident how deep one tree actually went into the front end. I have strong reason to believe me and that tree would have had a face to face introduction if the snow wasn't so deep.

I took all my belongings out, and took my ski racks, bike rack, and trailer hitch off. I sat in the drivers seat one last time, and then walked away with as little emotion as I possibly could. Physically I am fine, which is probably the most shocking thing to me. Emotionally I am up and down. I drove past the accident site on the way to my car. Contrary to what I thought, I think seeing the accident site and my car again helped. I was able to make some closure, and accept what happened.

I have always been very resilient to change or tragedy, but this is a challenge. The entire thing was over in a matter of seconds, and I think when that much happens in such a short amount of time, it takes that much longer for your brain to process it.

Of course I have been back skiing since my accident. In fact, I've done a lot of skiing. I've gotten away from the park, and have decided to discover the rest of my mountain. There is so much I almost missed forever. I have ridden almost every single run at Breckenridge ski resort except peak 10 and the back bowls. I don't know that I am ready for all of the terrain on peak 10, which is the expert peak of Breck. Today was the first "pow" day I've gotten to ride all season. I rode almost all day in white out conditions with my friends Maggie and Jordi, but it was amazing.

I am hoping to hear from my insurance company within the next few days. It's not easy living without a car. But I rather go a while not living easy than not living at all!


Happy New Year, I'm alive.

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Yesterday I was driving home from work around 2:00pm. The roads weren't too bad, so I was going right around the speed limit, which is 45mph. As I left Frisco, I came up to the long right hand turn before Lake Dillon. There was snow in the middle of the road, so I followed the clear tire paths made by all the previous cars. I go over a rutted area on the side of the road, and within a split second my car begins to fish tale all over. I swerved out of oncoming traffic, and headed straight towards the very long, steep embankment. I'm sure most people would have tried to swerve again to avoid going down it, but I knew in that millisecond that I was going too fast, and too out of control. If I tried to correct it and failed, I would have rolled down the embankment and been killed. If I had been successful, I probably would have swerved back into oncoming traffic and killed someone else. So I made the scariest decision I've ever made in my life, and nose-dived as straight down it as I could.

I looked down at the bottom in terror; there were trees. The only thing that came into my head: "Trees kill people." As I hit the flat ground below, a massive white wall of snow came over my windshield, and I knew I was going to hit the trees soon. I let my entire body go limp in my seat, except my arms holding my steering wheel hard in the direction I wanted to go. And then I hit. The first thing I remember thinking was "Wow, that didn't hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would." I was in shock, because not only was I alive, I was conscious. I looked up to see a cracked windshield covered in pine tree and snow. I looked out my side window to see this:

I guess you know you're a real photographer when you think to take a picture after going through something like that.

After assessing the surroundings of my vehicle, it really hit me. "Wow, I'm really not hurt, am I?" I looked back up at the road, to see that clearly, none of the passing cars saw me. "How could the person driving in front of me not have seen me, how could there have been no one behind me?" I started asking myself. As I pondered while staring up at the road, trying to make sense of things, two other cars hit the same exact rut. One, a red hatchback, came so close to sliding down the embankment that I winced and got ready for a 2nd impact. Both were able to do complete 360's in the road and save themselves. It was then that cars started noticing me, but I was too far down for them to see me sitting in my car. I reached down to my phone and called 911, the first time I've ever done so in my life.

Two cop cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck showed up shortly, but it took them a bit to get down to me. An EMT opened up my passenger door and sat down in the passenger seat. "Well hello, how are you doing today?" He asked me. I remember thinking what a silly question it was, so I responded by saying "Oh spectacular! You know, just going for a little joy ride." After he asked me the classic "What day is it? Who's the President?" questions, we decided I was fine enough to get out and walk, (more like climb, with a rope), back up the embankment.

They ended up taking me to the hospital for precautionary reasons. I can't say I blame them. I originally told them I didn't need to go, but I couldn't stop complaining about my car. I'm sure they thought the repetitiveness was due to a head injury. HAH! When I got to the hospital a police officer came into my room who clearly woke up on the wrong side of his house, much less his bed. He began telling me how lucky I was that I wasn't killed. "You could have rolled and been killed. If there was a few less inches of snow you could have been killed... yada yada yada." I was very aware, after taking the ride myself, that I could have been killed. He wished me well by giving me a ticket for "Improper Mountain Driving", which I now find hilarious."Well sh*t, so much for my heroic driving skills." I thought to myself.

I have heard a million and one times since it happened that cars can be replaced and people can't. I know that is true, but there's a sentimental value my car had to me. I had so many fun road trips with friends in that car. It (usually) did fantastic in bad weather, and I felt safe in it. It was my moms car before I drove it out here, and I felt like she made a sacrifice to give it to me. This may sound silly, but I loved that car, and often told my friends I did. I would always tell people how distraught I'd be if I got into an accident with it.

This morning my parents called me after the police called them back. They weren't planning on even attempting to pull my car out until tonight. They told my parents my car was around 300 feet down, that's 60 feet short of a football field mind you. They were also impressed at how I was able to keep it upright, (finally, a little credit...) After I hung up with them, a massive wave of emotion came over me, and I couldn't help but cry. It was at that very moment that I realized the decision I made probably saved my life. Nonetheless, I felt extraordinarily guilty and lucky at the same time for how unscathed I am. It terrifies me to think about what would have happened had I tried to save myself and rolled, or hit another car, or had friends with me who I would have traumatized. I have never been so close to death in my entire life.

The lock keychain for my car was lost a day before my accident. Though I did not realize it at the time, I feel like it was God's way of preparing me to say goodbye to my car. It was his way of letting me know that it was meant to be. I have always believed everything happens for a reason, but because I don't think his intentions were to get me a fancy new car, I haven't quite figured the reasoning out yet. But New Year's is about starting fresh, and in my case, getting a new lease on life. I will miss my little trustworthy CR-V, and I almost feel like I let him down. But in the end, I have to remember that it's only a bunch of metal, plastic, and fabric. What I have is my life, and that is all that should matter. And as much as I miss my car, I do not regret my decision to drive down. I can only hope that that decision saved mine, or better yet, someone else's family a whole lot of grief.

Happy New Year's everyone, be thankful you have made it to yet another one!

P.S. I'm considering purchasing a Choo Choo Train. I feel like those would be substantially harder to drive off cliffs. If you know anyone by the name of Thomas in the train industry, give him my digits!

Or if anyone has anything for sale that can be used as a form of transportation, preferably something with four wheels, or legs, let me know. A car, SUV, donkey, I'm not going to be picky... As long as it runs, no pun intended.


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