One Foot In Front of The Other – Rose O’Neill Runner, Survivor, Amputee

Rose O’Neill – Runner, Survivor & Amputee
“Running long distances gave me the strength to leave. He will never take that freedom from me. I will fly again one day ”

On occasion I meet people that really inspire me, and today was one of those days. Somehow Rose and I because friends on Facebook. I became curious to know more about her story after several of the comments she made on my posts, so I asked. She candidly shared her inspiring story and gave me permission to share it here on my blog. Just when you are having a bad day, think of what Rose has been through and find courage in her own words. (Thanks for sharing Rose!).

Her story in her words:
It isn’t a pretty one, just so you are prepared for that aspect. If you still want to know I am an open book. The shame is not mine to carry; it’s my ex-husbands

Long story short my ex-husband hit me with his work truck in an attempt to kill me. My dog and I were 50 km out in the middle of nowhere. My boy Titan gave his life for mine that day jumping between myself and the vehicle to take the brunt of the impact. We were thrown down an embankment landing roughly 30 feet down. Thankfully my ex thought we were dead and left. Somehow I managed to get myself and Titan up the embankment and after that I don’t know anything other than what I was told. Apparently some lost loggers found us on the roadside and rushed me to hospital. During emergency surgery my nerve bundle was nicked causing severe nerve damage to my right leg. Upon waking I was told the damage was so serious I would never walk again.
After 11 months in the hospital I walked out. (I believe the nurses were happy to see me go, I was arranging wheelchair races with the other patients who were all seniors The prize was my daily dessert.) Upon release from the hospital I got a cut on my heel. Due to the nerve damage sustained it wouldn’t heal. For 4 years I fought to heal this wound that just got worse and worse all the while still determined to walk daily with my crutches, walker or if needed the dreaded wheelchair due to pain. Eventually for the last year it was to the bone, nurses were coming to my house daily to change dressings for 2 years. Multiple surgeries and medical procedures did nothing to help. Then, I had 4 bone infections and I told the doctor it was time to amputate. On July 4, 2019 my lower leg was amputated and I once again had to relearn to walk – third times the charm
My ex-husband is still out there somewhere, he hasn’t been caught by the police as of yet. I refuse to hide (although I have a gun permit and trained guard dogs at home)

For years I suffered abuse in silence and I was obese. I started walking even as he made fun of me. I went from 267 lbs to 175 lbs of solid muscle. When I left him it was a situation of “if I cannot have you, no one else will”. Running long distances gave me the strength to leave. He will never take that freedom from me. I will fly again one day.

I am happy and I am perfect exactly as I am. In the absence of light you can always dance in the dark. Challenges reveal our inner character and core personality in ways that good times cannot. We all have choices. I could be angry, stuck in the past, refuse to move forward past my amputation. Where would that leave me? Bitter? Empty? Unfulfilled? Losing any objectivity to clearly see the true joy in my life. From my family and friends, my fierce internal drive to achieve greater success in my life with my mobility. To be better than on par than what I was as a long distance mountain runner. I breathe mountain mud and dirt for breakfast. From discovering my desire to help others overcome their disabilities. You see, through my disability I have gained so much. Insight, knowledge- about myself, courage, strength and a fantastic use for my stubbornness . Today I am up to 15 km a day! I have worked hard and diligently to get here, failing my way to success often.There are so many others that are not fortunate out there, I’ve found my voice and I am using it to hopefully give hope to others out there. It can be done if you want it bad enough. The only thing in life that will ever stop me from achieving my goals is simply my belief in me!

I decide every morning that my path for the day is simple – I am going to succeed. I am going to try to be better than yesterday, be it in thought, actions or activity. It is simple really when broken down. Just one foot in front of the other, that is a powerful impact over time.

– Ruth

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Coach Lora Erickson is an Ironman All-World athlete and certified running and triathlon coach recently competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Africa in 2018. Lora was born and raised in Colorado and was to run for the University and Utah & Utah State University where she obtained a degree in Community Health Education with duel minors in Chemistry and Nutrition. Coach Lora has a true passion for health promotion and loves to share her experiences. Learn more: About Coach Lora Erickson