Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Colleen's Story

In October 2011, I had been married to my high school sweet heart for a year.  I had already gone through brain surgery and a diagnosis of Lupus. We had recently moved and started new jobs together. Our hope was to become pregnant with our first born. We went to prom together. We had been estranged for almost 17 years when we found one another again, and our love grew rapidly and with incredible strength.   On an October morning, I left dinner on the counter to defrost, pet my dog and cat and kissed my husband as we both headed off to work. He was a postal carrier, and I worked with a non-profit.  The weather was beautiful, my work meeting went well and half way home from work I was run over by a multi ton freight truck.  The truck rolled over me with front and back sets of tires, I was dragged, ripped apart, and starting bleeding out. 

Thankfully I had been trained as an EMT years prior and went into immediate self-triage, I knew that if I was still alive I had to fight. I did not lose consciousness and I lay there screaming in pain. I picked up my head and saw that I had been ripped open.  The double tires ran me over less than inch below my rib case past my knees.  The EMS crew showed up in mere minutes and I stayed alert until flat lining at the hospital.  I had multiple cardiac arrests after my first resuscitation.

I remained in a coma 5 weeks and then in a rehab hospital for a few months. This October will be SEVEN years since the trauma. I have now had thirty surgeries, over 78 units of blood, and multiple resuscitations.  My life has become one of gratitude.  I used to be a very good cyclist, and semi decent triathlete J I decided I wanted to race again, even if I was in a wheel chair, or with a walker and tubes. I wanted to receive medals and give them to my heroes.

My husband has been and continues to be my rock. He was trained in extensive wound care for me which he needed to facilitate for over a year.  We lost our ability to be birth parents that day however we gained a love that is unconditional and an understanding of the power of the human family.  I have learned that I am a product of heroes including myself.   We have the incredible ability to make change in this world when we follow our passions, and lift each other up as well as ourselves.

Currently I serve as a spokesperson and board member for the American Red Cross.  I am honored to have a memoir recently published entitled “Gratitude in Motion”, and work with my husband as a motivational speaker and author.