Eyes Wide Open

A Perspective From Within

The Brutal Truth


The early morning of June 11, 2012 changed my life dramatically. Prior to that, my life as I knew it was great. I had a great job as a senior marketing manager and was considered a trusted employee and high performer, my fiancée and I lived a great life together. My shoe and handbag collection rivaled that of Anna Wintour and I was looking forward to a fun summer by the pool making margaritas and cooking fabulous alfresco dinners for our friends. Cooking and entertaining is a passion for me and it’s probably the only thing that I can 100% admit that I do very well and definitely better than most.

Back to June 11th. I broke my neck, which changed my life dramatically. To get specific, I fractured cervical six and cervical seven in my spinal cord. The end result was paralysis in my legs, my core and my fingers, better known as a partial quadriplegia. This is a label that I never thought would ever pertain to me. At that time the only labels that I was familiar with were Chanel and Prada, not partial quad. My broken neck required emergency surgery and fusion of the fractured vertebrae. I have never had surgery before and have never been under anesthesia. I really thought my first surgery in life would be cosmetic and elective in nature, not as an emergency required to basically save my life.

That day and the few days that followed in ICU is still very foggy to me and probably will be forever. Even though everything happened so fast, I did have a couple very clear memories of before and after surgery. My surgeon told me exactly what he needed to do and how quickly he needed to do it; so consenting was a no-brainer. I was terrified though. Knowing nothing about the man that was ready to take a knife to the back of my neck and put titanium hardware in my spine, I asked him one question while I was being rolled into the OR… “How do I know if you’re any good”? I’ll never forget his reply… “Just Google me”. While under anesthesia there is no sense of time. It really is just like sleeping. Apparently my surgery took four hours, from what they told me. When I woke up I saw Ross, my fiancé peering down on me with a look of relief and happiness. My vision was blurred, but that familiar face was so comforting to me during this uncertain and terrifying time. I must’ve fallen back asleep because the next thing I knew I was in ICU, and realized that I had a metal halo on my head and shoulders to keep my neck stabilized. This was not mentioned to me prior to surgery or maybe it’s something that I didn’t remember, but none the less, it felt totally weird…


10 thoughts on “The Brutal Truth

  1. WOW! Brian and I will be praying for you during and after your recovery.

  2. Mary, I love you!! And I am so happy that I was able to come see you, and I will definately be back. You are a strong motivated woman!!! I am praying for you as well.

  3. Mary, I think about you everyday. Hope you are improving and your attitude is positive. Wishing you great progress

  4. Mary
    You make me laugh and cry all in the same breath! Thank you for including me in your journey! I am hear to support you through our journey in life.
    Love and miss you,

  5. Your new career as a writer is just on the horizon!! How interesting you write using all the right words to describe your every day happenings! This is going to be huge Mary!! I have re-read it several times since I received it and have forwarded it on. Hugs to you and Ross, you will make this journey!! I wish I was not so afraid to fly or I would be there, Ill save my visits for when you come home! xo

  6. Love to read you story May. Your honesty and strength are amazing. Mike and I are thinking of you daily. Yesterday I read you Caring Bridge update to Mike’s Mom !!!

  7. I am utterly speechless! You have shown such a strength from within that is incredible. I am so proud of you sharing your experiences with us as I truly believe this is a huge part of your healing process! My love to you, Ross, family and friends that have been by your side in Miami!
    I will see you soon!

  8. Mary
    I heard about your accident and was devastated for you. There are no words, just know that so many people are praying for you.
    Lisa Packo Dregalla

  9. the brutal truth, is that this is so not right or fair and your beauty and strength are so inspiring that i will think about you forever!



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