This blog post may be a little different than most of our posts about child nutrition; this post is instead about a recent occurrence that has directly affected PrimeroEdge. If you follow our company on any of our social media outlets, you may remember seeing a post two months ago about one of our employees who had been in a tragic accident. Well, that employee was me, Cheyenne Meyer. I was out riding my bicycle on August 8, 2016 when I was struck by a car. And let me tell you, it has been one wild ride since then.
It was a Monday – the Monday before the triathlon I had been training all year for, the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Omaha, NE – and I was on my brand new bike for a two-hour training ride. I had been riding out for 55 minutes when I decided to turn back and head home. As soon as I made my U-turn, a driver whose view had been obstructed of me hit the left side of my body with the hood of her car. The impact of the collision unclipped me from my bike and sent me flying onto the shoulder of the road.
Upon impact, my pelvis broken in seven places, and my left leg was dislocated. I also fractured two ribs, my sternum, my sacrum, and my left shoulder. My left arm suffered a huge cut from a large piece of glass from the road, and the glass was actually lodged into the cut. The driver immediately called 911, and an ambulance rushed to my aid right away. The first responders determined that I needed to be fixed by an orthopedic specialist located in downtown Houston, so they loaded me onto a Life Flight helicopter and rushed me there.
I endured 6.5 hours of emergency surgery in which the surgeon and his team fixed my leg, hip and pelvis, removed the piece of glass from my arm, and stitched all of my incisions up. I certainly don’t remember anything about the accident, but I don’t remember much about the hospital stay either. I do know, however, that my family, my boyfriend and my best friend were all waiting on me when I got to the hospital. We had no idea what was going to happen to me, and we had so many questions. Would I be okay? Would I ever walk, run or ride my bike again? How in the world did I survive that terrible accident? It was an extremely terrifying time.
After a week in the hospital, two weeks in a rehab facility, hours of physical therapy and lots of medication, I was able to return home. I was confined to a wheelchair to six weeks; on the second week of this six weeks, I returned to the office to try to be somewhat “normal” again. At the six-week mark, I followed up with my surgeon who granted me the ability to drive again, and to get around with a walker or crutches. In about four more weeks, I will follow up with the surgeon a final time to be released to walk and resume normal life and triathlon training.
It has been hard to wheel or crutch around when all I want to do is jump in the pool, get back on my bike and hit the running trails, but I’m trying my best to stay patient and positive. Now that my arm wound is completely healed, I will be able to start swimming again soon. I am also able to ride a stationary bike! I miss riding on the road, but it will be some time before I feel confident and safe enough to do that again.
I am devastated that I missed the big race I had trained so hard for, especially when I had been racing at the elite level in triathlon just weeks before. And I have really struggled with helplessness, restlessness, patience and FOMO (fear of missing out) in these last two months. But two really amazing things have come from this terrible accident.
For one, I have witnessed the entire Houston multisport community rallying around me and cheering me on in my recovery. My local triathlon store and the team I race for, Tru Tri Sports, had orange shirts made with the hashtag #CheyStrong on the back. They gave them to all of my teammates to wear to their races, and even sold them to members of the community to show their support of me. So many people visited me in the hospital, called to check on me, sent cards and gifts and kept up with my progress on social media – even people whom I have never met! People I had only spoken to a few times before even raced with my name written on their calves and swim caps as they competed in the championship race I had been training for. It means so much to me that members of this large and strong community has shown me their full support as I fight to get back on my feet and my bike.
Speaking of bike…when I had my accident, my bike was almost completely unharmed. After about an hour of maintenance, the bike was ready to go. But I don’t think I would ever be able to ride it again because of the memories it would bring back. So, I was left without a bike – since bikes are expensive and I was stuck with so many medical bills. But when I returned to Tru Tri to check on the status of the old bike, I was presented with a brand-new, top-of-the-line Felt bicycle – gifted to me by an anonymous donor. And let me tell you, these bikes are not at all cheap! I was so overcome with gratitude, I didn’t even know what to do. It means the world to me that someone in the community believes in me enough to be so generous in his or her gift to me. I can’t wait to return and make that person proud as I regain my strength and speed.
The second great thing that has come from my accident is the messages I have been able to share with people about cycling safety and carrying identification. Since this accident happened to someone my friends and family members actually knew, their eyes have been opened to the struggle that many cyclists face when it comes to sharing the road with motorists. They are now opting to give cyclists three feet of room when driving past them on the road, and watching for cyclists and pedestrians alike on busy crosswalks. My cyclist friends have also learned to keep their heads on a swivel, and to always obey traffic laws when sharing the road with motorists.
As for identification, the EMTs at the scene of my accident were not able to identify me by any ID cards because I wasn’t carrying my wallet on my ride. Instead, I was identified by my Road ID bracelet, an identification bracelet designed for athletes and non-athletes alike. This accessory displays the owner’s name and age, any important medical information, and emergency contact information. From this bracelet, the EMTs were able to find out who I was, and alert my loved ones that I had been in an accident.
I really urge anyone – athlete or non-athlete, senior citizens, parents with small children, people with special needs – to get one of these special bracelets. I hope that no one will ever NEED it, but in the event that they do, they will have it. If you are interested in purchasing one for yourself, you can follow this link to save $5 on your order.
I would like to thank PrimeroEdge for being so supportive and helpful throughout this entire situation, to those of you who sent well wishes when the accident was first announced, to my friends and family for taking such good care of me in this difficult time, and for the entire community for rallying behind me to show support. It may take a while, but I am going to get back to normal, and I am going to begin training again! I just can’t stay away from this sport. I plan to come back faster, stronger and leaner than ever. Stay tuned!