This too was a published article in Train magazine-

Not too long ago, I was forced to settle for a life that was far less than what I knew I was capable of living.

There was no longer room left for dreams, and I had exhausted my body from the amount of energy I gave to my fears each day. However, as time passed, I gradually began to replace the toxic energy in my life with dreams again.

Life happened. I had a few curve balls, lots of road blocks, and many bricks thrown at me. I began to replace each tear I shed with positive energy and became stronger within. Those bricks that had once knocked me down became my foundation.

I knew I had two choices: to continue through life hoping, wanting, waiting with my eyes closed for my dreams to come true or to wake up each day with a vengeance and never again settle for anything other than what I knew I deserved. With every fear and every triumph, I began to dream again.

It was in that moment of deciding that I knew I was going to conquer this life and defeat my fears. I embraced the courage that lay deep within, stood tall, and started to pursue my dreams again with my eyes wide open.

No one could stop me, not even myself. I didn’t wait to close my eyes at night chase my dreams. I began to actively dream during my waking hours. Any dreams in the rear-view mirror were only history, and from then on I was the one chasing them into being.

I stopped placing boundaries on myself from that moment on. My life woke up, and everything had meaning again. Waking up and doing something extraordinary was part of my daily routine.

I hope you are dreaming with your eyes open and taking on each day with a vengeance. No one and nothing will ever have the power to defeat your sense of purpose and place in life. It may appear otherwise, but it is up to you to find that strength deep within and make those dreams a reality!

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t!

I listened to doctor after doctor tell me these two words, “you can’t,” for three years while battling this injury, and I allowed it to destroy me from the inside out. I reached the moment one day when I knew this choice was the one I chose to believe and live by for the rest of my life. However, something powerful deep within me changed my mindset forever. Only I have the power to decide how to live by my own will and for my own desires. It was then I knew I wasn’t ready to quit anything.

This was not the life I had worked so hard to live. I hadn’t yet achieved the dreams I had set out to achieve, and I wasn’t ready to settle. I sure as hell wasn’t ready to give up because someone with a degree but no idea of where my soul was to tell me I couldn’t or wouldn’t.

I slowly tested the waters and regained the sanity I had lost through all the sickness and surgeries in the past two years while I made this comeback. It’s been a year and a half since my final implant, and six back surgeries later, I’m doing more than I ever dreamed I could. I will face obstacles for the rest of my life due to chronic medical issues that came from all of this as well as ongoing surgeries. I have surely had some life changes because of this injury, but I wouldn’t change any of it for anything in the world. I believe everything happens for a reason.

To be completely honest, if I had to go through it all again to get to where I am today, I would suck it up and do it because there is no greater place in this world than where I am today. I’m healthy, and I have the most amazing husband, friends, and family anyone could wish for. I’m stronger, happier, and so damn in love with this life that no one and nothing will ever change my path.