It’s been a year since the Boston Marathon bombing changed so many lives. For example, Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who became an amputee, has been able to turned this tragedy into inspiration when she danced at the recent 2014 TED Conference. There are so many people like her, who were injured that day, and have faced long battles to overcome adversity. Thinking of those amazing individuals, we reached out to Stephanie Decker, who was a survivor of a different event (a tornado cause her house to come down on top of her; while she saved her children, she lost both of her legs). We hope her answers provide some inspiration to these and similar people on this day.
Q: After finding out you were going to become an amputee, what was the first goal you set?
A: The first goal was to find out how I was going to walk again. Having that freedom taken away from you can be overwhelming. I needed to understand that I was not going to live my life in a wheelchair and that there was HOPE. Hope of having everything I ever wanted out of life and just because an accident took my legs, this wasn’t going to stop me.
Q: While you were attempting to accomplish that goal, was there something your were afraid of?
A:There is always fear, the fear of failure. Without failure we don’t succeed though, right? Things were never fast enough for me and I wanted to have it ALL back right now! But sometimes we don’t always get what we want and that’s a tough lesson that we all have to learn at some point in our lives.
Q: How did you overcome that fear?
A: I overcame fear through motivation, determination and a “survivors” mentality. I would never be a victim but rather a survivor and by dedicating myself to recovery, fear was not allowed. When I failed or didn’t achieve a goal, I would analyze why I didn’t and then reevaluate that goal and find a way to achieve it. Fear is never a reason for quitting, it’s an excuse.
Q: Is there any advice or encouragement you would like to send to the survivors who became amputees after the Boston Marathon bombing?
A: My advice to the courageous Boston Marathon survivors is to be patient. The hardest thing for me was and still is to understand that the body takes time to heal and recover (and so does the mind for that matter). As much as you want things back to normal, as fast as you can, sometimes you can’t, and that’s not easy. It’s not easy to accept and it’s not easy to embrace, but if you do embrace it, you will find that it doesn’t mean you have failed, or that you have quit. You will find it motivates you more. Pushing yourself is important, and pushing others around you is important, but knowing when to slow down, to stop and rest … that it’s okay to not have it all back right now will make you stronger and better than you ever thought you’d be. Look how far you have come from a year ago! That should speak for itself.