‘Not Without God’–a Passage

Today I would like to share a little bit of writing from my book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival:

Here is a passage:

‘As a child, I knew my path would not be easy. The Lord told me. Not in words but in feelings and in thoughts. I would ride my bicycle up and down our street, we lived in a cul-de-sac, and I would climb to the top of the tree. I was active. I’d play sports. I was kind of a tom boy, and I heard from God on my daily bike rides–I felt his presence strongly and he would say, “This road will not be easy, Zina, but I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I knew it would be difficult. These were more of ‘whispers in my heart.’ God was introducing me to what was to come, but letting me know that I would get through it.

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At seventeen years of age, practicing how to walk!

After my accident at just sixteen, I had severe injuries, my spine not only broke but shifted at the (mid) thoracic level. My tibias and fibias were shattered in both legs as well as in my left femur bone. I needed rods and screws to hold my broken bones in place. I had a C1 fracture, and I’m lucky it wasn’t worse. That kind of injury can leave someone a quadriplegic (a quadriplegic typically loses usage of their legs and their arms, they may even have breathing trouble and need a trach).

I was told by a select few doctors that I would never walk, and today I am able to ambulate with forearm crutches or a walker. Unless it is icy and snowy out, or unless I am not feeling good. I especially use a wheelchair on ‘icy’ days because I have had a few falls!

It’s ironic because the street I grew up on was called “Gramercy Ct.,” and archaically, the word “Gramercy” is used to express gratitude, the word ‘mercy’ can mean, forgiveness or ‘many thanks.’ I am thankful to be alive so I don’t think that the name of my childhood street was a coincidence.

I am able to walk with AFOs (an ankle-foot orthosis) now, because my braces have been cut down through the years since I’ve gotten stronger, but it was something I had to ask about. A physical therapist will rarely ask if you want less of a walking brace, I mean, they evaluate you at periodic evaluations but as with all recoveries, one needs to be proactive.

The reason I am telling this story is because my life is a miracle, and so is the ability to walk. I don’t take it for granted, and I thank God every day! I want you to know that whatever it is you are going through–you can make it, too! As long as you persist, work hard, and have faith!

May God bless you all…

About Zina

73840719-0BFE-4A74-979C-DE7D4B67C89AZina Hermez authored the best-selling book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, the Southern Writers Magazine, various guest blogs, medical journals, newsletters, and she’s written over 200 of her very own articles. She’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. She’s taught at automotive corporations like General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Bosch, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and worked with students of all ages. She began her own teaching services incorporating math and other subjects. Her writing endeavors have earned her an invitation to speak at the Harvard Faculty Club’s “Business Expert Forum.” Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity. Socializing with friends, taking trips, listening to music, and networking are among her hobbies.  You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Be a winner!

Winners take full responsibility for everything that happens to them – even when those things seem remote and are not directly attributable to their actions. To achieve superior health, you must take 100% responsibility.–David Wolfe

This is true. But hard. It’s hard to take 100% responsibility. Even for people who walk “normally” it’s hard to exercise and always eat right. Imagine you could not walk? Or walked and it was a struggle? It’s that much harder to get up, get out. You may not even want to get out of bed sometimes.

The spinal cord is like a tree trunk, with nerves and fibers representing branches and stems. The vertebral column is a bony structure, like wood. When the spine breaks, the nerves and fibers are damaged. Just as if you took an ax to a tree trunk, all of the stems, branches, and twigs would start to wither away.

I’m up to 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the elliptical–forty minutes of cardio combined. A goal my physical therapist set for me several weeks ago. I’ve reached it!  Now I need to set a new goal for myself.

I’m walking faster and getting around better. It’s paying off! I just need to relax. Sometimes I get down on myself for not being able to move around like everyone else. I expect to be able to do what others are, not taking into consideration all of the injuries I had. I not only have a spinal cord injury at L1-L2. But several of my bones were broken. My left femur broke, my right tib fib, and left tib fib broke as well. I not only have a rod in my spine, but rods in my legs. My C1 was fractured. That’s not even all of my injuries. I’m lucky it wasn’t worse!

David Wolfe says, to feel like a winner you must be 100% responsible. It’s hard to feel like a winner when you can’t walk. After a severe injury, your self esteem is compromised. What makes us winners? The perfect job? The perfect mate? A nice big house? I think winning is in your attitude. We all have obstacles. Tragedy can strike all of us. I believe the winner has to be within, to not give up on life! Even on bad days, you have to bounce back.

One strategy that works for me is thanking God even when I feel bad. It’s not easy to do, but as I start to thank him for what I have, my mood starts to turn around. I feel better. The other stuff doesn’t seem so bad. Being a winner is not what you have, it’s who you are. And who you are, is what you make of yourself!