Sunday, December 19, 2010

On the Right Track

I arrived in Denver last week and traveled to my previous hometown of Breckenridge, CO for some days of fun and time with friends before heading into the hospital for surgery. I was fortunate enough to meet up with a lot of special folks in my life there, ski into a mountain hut for a night, and enjoy five unbelievable powder days on my tele skis!

I’m replaying all these things in my mind as I type from my hospital bed. I have been in University of Colorado Hospital’s Neuro Monitoring Unit for the past six days after a successful craniotomy to place electrodes on the surface of my brain. Pretty amazing stuff.

I won’t lie, coming out of surgery feels like crap! You have to tough it out. My new costume has some pretty interesting perks and characteristics too. Imagine a hybrid character influenced by Lawrence of Arabia’s turban, Lord Gandolf’s beard, and the infamous droid C3P0’s intricate wiring. Yeah, that ought to paint an accurate picture of my get up.

Since arriving at the hospital I’ve been reflecting on the journey that brought me here. It’s been a humbling experience. My professional career has always been about serving others and now my situation is turned around. These past several months I have been extremely lucky to have my wife, family and friends helping me through every step.

My Guide Diane has always steered me straight from her own experience with her temporal lobectomy. She’s never once sugar coated things or held back important information. “It’s gonna hurt like hell Jake,” she told me once. Those words raised my nerves for a long time while traveling down this road. Now I’m here with a couple of floating sections of skull with wires poking out of my head, and glad she put things so bluntly! I’m prepared to face whatever the docs throw at me.

I’ve been telling every doctor, nurse and technician about Outdoor Mindset (OM) since I got my room here. Kyle brought over OM business cards and a way cool poster that our marketing folks have been working hard on. My wife Jeanie has put those things into good use while giving our room a holiday touch. We have lights, stockings, and ornaments!! Our room is now OM central. It’s pretty hard for the specialists not to ask about it. When they inquire, all the feedback I get is positive. Most are uniquely drawn to the Guide Program we are establishing.

Last week Kyle, my brother, and I patiently awaited ski patrol’s opening of the Lake Chutes at Breckenridge Ski Resort. If you hit it right, and are willing to boot hike up a steep ridge to access the terrain, there are plenty of fresh tracks to make in untouched snow. On that day I took advantage of everything I could get my hands on. As we descended the chute that day, each laying down our own set of tracks, a few things became really clear. I’m on the right track was my first thought. I couldn’t be in a better position going through this neurological surgery procedure thanks to Outdoor Mindset, my wife, family and friends. The second realization that hit me was just how impressive a set of tracks Outdoor Mindset is making as it starts choosing its own path as a non-profit organization. The board of directors has spent the last year working its tail off to make this organization real. We can see the first summit and the organization is on its way to helping a lot of people.

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