The End of the Tunnel Is Closer Than You Think

The image of warm light at the end of a tunnel, indicating that suffering will end sooner than we think.
How I went from waiting hopelessly for a rescue helicopter at the mountaintop after the accident to taking a triumphant solo vacation.

I’m writing this from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

 

This one-week vacation is a gift for myself, celebrating completing my two-and-a-half years of recovery after a horse-riding accident. Last week, I said goodbye to my two knowledgeable and caring physical therapists, thanking them for accompanying me on this long journey. 

 

Well, I’m not at 100% yet, but I’m optimistic about it. 

 

My body feels new and able, and I’ve been itching to go somewhere new, to be curious and explore the world beyond. One day, I received an email alert mentioning a flight deal to Puerto Vallarta, and 30 minutes later, I booked the trip. 

 

I could never have imagined taking a trip overseas alone two and a half years ago. In those days, even brushing my teeth would tire me out.

 

With so much nerve pain shooting up and down my body, and the constant dizziness and nausea from pain medications, I spent most of my time in bed, counting the hours and minutes before sundown, so I could fall asleep.

 

I would be wide awake in the wee hours, counting the hours and minutes again, waiting for the sun to come out. 

rooftop view of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

For a long while, I lived in my head.

 

Kicking and screaming about the unfairness of it all. What had I ever done to deserve this torture? Why me?

 

Eventually, I got used to the pain. It became a part of me, like a second beating heart, thumping around the clock. I stopped asking what and why, and began wondering how to make things easier for myself. It was too exhausting to be angry and sad all the time. 

 

I took online singing classes at a community college to ease my chronic shortness of breath. I learned to play chess to recover my memory loss. I studied all kinds of meditation to calm my thoughts, and became curious about self-healing through Reiki.

 

I listened to audiobooks to transport myself to someone else’s world, a couple of hours at a time. All these little things filled the waking hours that I no longer had time to be miserable.

 

Once I learned to control my thoughts, I worked on my body. 

 

It was then I took physical therapy seriously, practicing every day, and monitoring how fast I could get out of a chair, and how long I could hold a water bottle without dropping it. 

 

After a year, my physical therapists asked me to resume yoga practice. I hesitated and debated for weeks before paying for a one-year membership. The first class was so long and demanding, but I survived it. The second class was easier than the last one. After a few weeks, my muscle memory returned, and the poses felt less intimidating. 

Sunset on the Beach

Before this Puerto Vallarta flight, I was worried about stowing my carry-on luggage in the overhead bin. There is still some muscle weakness in both of my arms. It’s difficult for me to handle heavy things. 

 

As expected, I struggled to lift my luggage high enough to reach the overhead bin. My body swayed back and forth, unable to sustain the weight. I hoped someone would reach over and help me, but everyone was busy with their own luggage. 

 

I said to myself, come on, Ivy, you can do this. Yes, you can.

 

You’ve come this far. You can’t stop now. 

 

And I did shove it inside the overhead bin, nearly dropping it on my seatmate’s head. When I sat down and buckled in, I felt proud I had done it all, from waiting hopelessly for a rescue helicopter at the mountaintop after the accident, all the way to taking a triumphant solo vacation.

 

The end of the tunnel is closer than you think. Believe me.

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Dr. Ivy Ge

Dr. Ivy Ge

Doctor of Pharmacy, author of The Art of Good Enough. She writes to inspire women to design their own fate. Her writings and interviews have been featured on MSNBC, Thrive Global, Working Mother magazine, Parentology, and The Times of India.

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