3 Major Events that Transformed my Life

1. Knee Trauma

Lesson learned: you can achieve what you want – but only if you truly want it

How would you feel if one day doctors said you will never walk again?

I’ve heard that said to me.

At the age of 15, I nearly lost my leg in a horrific accident. After several reconstructive surgeries, the doctors told me that I would suffer the consequences of the trauma for the rest of my life. They said I will never be able to walk straight and forget about playing sports or doing any challenging physical activities!

What does a person feel when given such a dark prospect for the future? From firsthand experience, I can tell you it felt like the world was collapsing under my feet. Those same feet that I was told would never walk straight again.

Anger, frustration, self-pity – they were all waiting for me out there. Expected me to walk right into their embrace.

But while I was feeling lost and horrified, I knew that I did not want to accept this future for myself. I did not want to just give up.

So I decided to give my fate a good fight.

I started training. I shed blood, sweat, and tears. Every day was a physical challenge, but a more difficult challenge was a mental one: the uncertainty and doubt. No one could guarantee me that I will win in this fight. What if, despite all my effort, I will still never be able to do what I love? What if I don’t succeed?

18 long, grueling months later, I ran my first fall trail marathon. That was an unforgettable, triumphant feeling that I will remember forever. All the pain and struggles were worth it because my hard work, dedication, and perseverance had finally paid off.

This is not an entirely happy ending story. My knee never fully restored; in fact, its condition worsens with age and time. But who said it’s going to be easy? Who said life is going to be perfect? What’s important is that I still train, I still push forward and I continue to do what I love against all odds.

2. Snake Bite

Lesson learned: accept that there are things outside of your control, make your peace with them – and keep your spirit up

Once I was on helping a friend set up her hammock on a beach. Suddenly a strong pain shot all the way through my arm as if someone drove a sharp nail into my finger with Thor’s hammer. Or at least that’s what it felt like.

Turned out to be a bite of a poisonous snake.

Anxiety, horror, panic, and shock; heart racing, breathing accelerating, entire body stiffening in a powerful, primitive fear – this is how it felt like. I froze at the realization that this had happened to me, that I will not live another day, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it.

What do you do when you can’t change what happened to you? You accept it.

So did I.

I also accepted that if I live, I will most likely lose my arm or, in better case scenario, a finger.

Nonetheless, despite this gloomy prospect, the choice was still there: life or death. I only had a few seconds to make that choice.

I chose life. 

I wrapped a sling tightly around my wrist, put my shoes on – and ran back to the mainland as I’ve never run before.

With the help of Good Samaritan and my friend, I made it to the hospital – and faced an unexpected obstacle: I had no apparent symptoms, so I first had to convince the nurses that I was in fact bit by a poisonous snake, and every minute of delay can cost me my life.

I spent three days in an ICU – days filled with lots of medication and long dreary hours between life and death, not knowing which one it will be.

Finally, I was out of danger.

One important thing I learned from that incident – you have no control over some events in your life. And when they happen, the best thing is to accept them. And of course, you should always keep a positive attitude, even if it seems that an ordeal you are facing is insurmountable. At the end of the day, it may save your life.

3. Cave Terror

Lesson learned: no matter how big the fear is, you CAN overcome it.

Once I was on an expedition to the Krubera cave, the deepest cave on Earth.

It’s not easy, especially mentally when you know 2000 meters separate you from the surface of the earth. You have to constantly push yourself, both mentally and physically. And the mental part often is way more challenging.

At one point I reached a Syphon, a very narrow passage full of water. The only way to keep going was to dive through it without oxygen, in complete darkness.

I had a malfunction with my diving suit, I was wet and freezing and exhausted, and an idea of diving right into this cold, dark and very narrow water passage terrified me. I fell deep into that fear. Well deeper than those 2000 meters of the cave that separated me from the surface.

I could have turned around, of course. I did not have to do it, and no one would judge me.

It was so easy to give in! So tempting!

But when I hit rock bottom of that fear, I forced myself to take a break and recompose myself. And once I regained control over my emotions, I went right into that Syphon – and made it through.

That incident changed my perspective of fear. I realized you can overcome fear no matter how huge it is.

And after I took the time to process what had happened to me, I also learned that it is very important to regularly access your life plans, relationships, and goals and reflect on them.  And then balance what needs to be balanced.

To Sum Up

You are here because you have your own fights and challenges that you are facing.

Together we can overcome anything!

Just remember: no matter how difficult a situation is, there is always a choice to give up or to fight for what really matters to you. And that choice is always yours.

Make the right one!

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