It was a bright and warm morning in early May 2009. Many families gathered in an hangar at Fort Bliss, TX, for the farewell of the 1st Armored Division Soldiers getting ready for a new deployment to Iraq. One of these Soldiers was my wonderful and loving husband, at the time staff sergeant (SSG) Victor Medina. Before leaving, he ran to me three times for a last hug and kiss. I will never forget that memory and how it felt.
Some weeks later on May 29th we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Victor always made me feel so special and important in his life, and this time was no different. It was the fourth time we celebrated our anniversary apart and as always, he didn’t forget and planned ahead to make sure it was special. Little did we know we were a month away from experiencing a life detour, the biggest test of our love and lives, all in a click of a button.
On June 29, 2009 during a patrol mission, Victor’s MRAP was hit by an explosive formed projectile, one of the deadliest forms of improvised explosive devices. After moments of confusion, disorientation and pain, he was indeed “wounded in action”. Victor sustained a moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI), with scattered hemorrhage in his brain among other injuries.
The road to recovery was far from ideal, easy or pleasant. We encountered many challenges along the way, but we also experienced the beauty of faith, love and strength. We witnessed what resilience looks like, we tasted the bittersweet of new beginnings and although we bled while grabbing the thorns of frustration and sorrow, we smelled the fresh fragrance of family, friendship and support.
It is undisputed that June 29, 2009 is a day we will never forget, but also a day we will never regret.
Because of it, Victor and I have met and have been embraced by a wonderful community of people with disabilities, we are one of those families that appreciate the good in life, that doesn’t take anything for granted and that live by faith, knowing we will prevail. We have risen from the ashes.
This journey has taught us that perseverance is the master of success, gratitude opens the blinds to beauty and opportunity, that good leaders lead by example and that the healthcare system needs significant advances to understand and treat the brain.
Now, 9 years later, our healing journey hasn’t been easy but well-traveled, with many memories and stories to tell.
Roxana (~ Dr. D)
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