Reflecting a bit-by Amy

I'm not usually one to complain or drone on about our problems, so I just don't. Everyone has them, can't pay a bill this month, can't find a sitter, can't find a job, hate a job, etc. Our problems are WAY different than I had ever envisioned them to be 1 year ago.

That's right, almost a year ago I was planning for our baby girl's nursery, working full-time as a nurse in the BEST job (at the VA), Lucas was the best damn senior medic down-range and our son Peyton was excelling in school, sports and his social life. Life was looking good. We had it figured out. Our future was planned out, mapped if I may, to be the one we had always hoped for our family. Lucas would commit to 20 years, go back to the SF Q course to finish out his training, I would finish my bachelors, Peyton would keep being awesome and we would have a princess to spoil soon. We were looking at homes and new furniture, a new family car and maybe a move to a state closer to family. But things change, and for the longest time there, I think I was bitter that they had. I mean, I ,as well as Luke came from lower income families that struggled so we could hopefully one day find ourselves living the American Dream, with 2.5 kids, a dog, and a time share somewhere warm.

Life sure shows you who's in charge.

I think I was angry a little bit over our "new reality". The reality that we would have to struggle and work harder than I would ever anticipate  The reality of going from caregiver roles to being cared for by the many people and organizations here at Walter Reed. We were hardened and struggling to find something to look forward to. An awesome person said to us one day while we were struggling with accepting a monetary gift or not,

 "Look, it's not a hand-out, it's hand-up."

It struck us then that we needed help. We needed others to be giving and understanding and to give of themselves to help us. We had come so far and we had done it with such little help and now, we were lost. If it had not been for some of the great organizations like WWP (Wounded Warrior Project), whom helped me fund and physically moved all our belonging while I was 8 month pregnant, we would have been lost. Yellow Ribbon Fund for all the caregiver outings and numerous events we have attended (too many to count). Operation Second Chance and Operation Homefront for helping our family with things we needed around our new home, since ours was all in storage. And VAC (Veteran's Airlift Command) and Luke's Wings for the numerous flights to and from family visits and Fisher House for housing myself while my husband recovered in a hospital bed.I know there are so many more not named here and even more that we have yet to encounter. I hope if you are reading this, that you NEVER need these organizations, but if you do, just know that they will be there.  

Our next step (one at a time...literally) is A LOT of healing. All types of healing; mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It has been the hardest yet most empowering year of my life. The next year (or 2) will show us what kind of fight we still have in us as we explore civilian life again with a disability and look for a home to raise our family and jobs to support or mission. Our mission you ask?

To be happy!

Lucas and Peyton at the bus stop at Walter Reed NMMC

Disney 1/2 Marathon

Lucas had a great opportunity to participate in a 1/2 marathon at Disney World this past week! He rode a hand bike the 13.1 miles and finished in under an hour. This was Lucas' first 1/2 marathon and first hand bike race, but I'm sure not his last! The wounded warriors from all over the country were supported by and sponsored by Achilles International as part of the Team Achilles Freedom Team. What a great organization and an even better group of people and volunteers that lift our wounded warriors up and encourage them to see beyond the hospital walls and restrictions of their disabilities. 

The sand trap in the shape of Mickey Mouse

Lucas flew down to Orlando, FL. two days before the race and was fitted for his cycle. The next  day he took advantage of the PGA championship golf course and met a few friends along the way,

There were several alligators on the course.

Mike & Sully from Monster's Inc.

The morning of the race was early  and over in under an hour so Lucas got to tour the park and ride few rides and even met some cool "characters".

Overall, we are grateful that these wonderful opportunities allow Lucas to explore his abilities and focus less on his "dis"abilities.  

Lucas with one of the volunteers before the race

Lucas with one of the volunteers before the race

Luke on his handbike before the race

Lucas and is fellow WW's of Team Achilles Freedom