My name is Lori Ramsawack. I love to push my body to it’s limits by working out, running races and competing in Spartan events. When you look at my life, you may not realize what I have overcome.
Everyone has a story. This is mine.
On November 11, 2012 I was driving in the rain to pick up my daughter Kaitlyn after work before heading home. The details are fuzzy, but somehow I lost control of my car causing it to spin several times before flipping two to three times off of the exit ramp at the intersection of Germantown Rd. and I-40, landing in the ditch. The paramedics had to wade through water and cut me out of the car before sending me to The Med.
I was treated there for about a week before finally being discharged. My multiple and severe injuries included a bad concussion, strained neck, bruised lungs, two herniated discs in my back, multiple hip fractures, and a crushed pelvis. I couldn’t move my left foot or leg and could barely even feel them. My fear was that I would never walk again. I was bedridden, using a wheelchair when necessary for many weeks. Even sitting in the wheelchair caused excruciating pain because I was sitting on broken bones. I used multiple pillows in the wheelchair just to be able to tolerate going to the bathroom. I used a special elevated toilet seat and a special shower seat that I needed assistance to even get to.
A friend of mine came over every day while my husband, Matt, worked to help me take a shower, wash my hair, make me food, help me reposition to get comfortable, get me dressed, and brush my teeth. I was out of work indefinitely and our youngest daughter was only 3 years old. Matt was my caretaker and a single dad while continuing to work to support all of us. Initially, I had a home health nurse and physical therapist but eventually Matt had to drive me each week to multiple physical therapy visits, doctor appointments and hospital visits for pain management.
Physical therapy was summed up in one word…PAIN! With Matt’s support and my determination, I relearned to walk slowly. At physical therapy I used a HydroTrack, an underwater treadmill, to relearn how to walk without weight bearing. I finally progressed to a walker after months of water therapy. At only 29 years old, I used a walker (with some cool pink tennis balls that Matt made me) and was in constant pain. Emotionally it was tough! I didn’t want to be in public and I felt like I was embarrassing to my family anytime we were out. I did eventually progress to walk with a cane, but I’m not sure which was more embarrassing!
My spirit was crushed and I was frustrated more days than not. I didn’t feel like I was healing fast enough. I just wanted to be normal, play with my kids, go to work, and enjoy my husband. It felt as if my doctor had constant bad news telling me that I would probably always walk with a limp and within 10 years I would likely need a hip replacement. He laughed when I said I wanted to run, saying the pain would be too much if I ever ran more than 3 miles. I refused to accept this as my future!
By the time I was finally able to go back to work on light duty, my body was weak from muscle atrophy, overweight from laying in the bed for months and I was still in constant pain. Matt saw something in me and said “Let’s run the St. Jude Half Marathon!”
And in December 2014, I did it!! The pride that race gave me motivated me to do more. Soon after, Matt suggested running a Spartan Race. Crazy right?! I said absolutely not and I could NEVER do that. We began working out and training. I began with 5 pound weights and was in so much pain. I got frequent cortisone shots in my hip and 3 nerve blocks for the herniated discs. But I kept pushing through the pain.
The satisfaction of earning that first Spartan medal gave me even more fuel to keep pushing. I already overcame so much and proved my doctor wrong. What else could I be able to do? With each race Matt found for us, he knew it would continue to give me more strength, pride, and determination.
I work out hard because I CAN. There was a time when I couldn’t. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t go to the bathroom, couldn’t shower, couldn’t play with my child, couldn’t date my husband, and couldn’t work. We take those things for granted.
Our health is a gift that is not guaranteed. You never know when it could be taken away. Bad things happen so that we can appreciate the good things. Yes, I hurt from residual pain and yes I want to give up sometimes. We all do. But I remember the days when I couldn’t even get up. Now, I can. And I never want to take that for granted again!