A bit of my story, to hopfully lift your spirits.
Four years! Wow! four years since that night I laid at the side of the road, bleeding, broken bones, and dying. Yes, it was a matter of life and death. Paramedics arrived pretty quickly and started immediately handling the blood loss. Straightening the leg out would be a fruitless effort, though they tried. The pain… well… it cannot be explained.
It all started with a fun night of games and laughs at my brother Nate’s home. I left around 1:30-1:45 in the morning on my motorcycle to head home. I made it 75% of the way there. At 2am, I was driving about 30-35mph down Main St in Clarence and at the intersection of Spindrift, I noticed an oncoming car in the left hand turning lane slowing to a stop as I had the green light. BUT, just then, as I made it about half way through the intersection, he turned! WHY!? I remember thinking in my head, “dude, don’t go yet!” as he hit me.
Left hand side, straight into my leg.
I bounced a bit off his hood then went airborne, rolled and skidded across the pavement. I came to a stop lying on my back with incredible pain in my leg. I looked down and saw something horrific that I cannot explain without welling up in tear to this day. My foot, my left foot, one of two feet that had just carried me thru my first half-marathon five days prior, was facing my crotch with the bottom of the foot up and twisted the opposite way (toes facing in). It was twitching. I reached down a bit with my right hand and pushed it down a bit, that helped slightly with pain but I couldn’t handle more movement without pain. During this time, the driver of the other vehicle had gotten out of his car and stood distant yelling to me if I was ok… ummm… NO! Dude, seriously!?
He called 911. I could hear him talking to them and saying “I am in trouble, I just hit some guy”
Paramedics arrived. They focused on the bleeding first. The leg was so mangled and torn apart below the knee that they couldn’t splint it not matter what they tried. At this point, it was about getting me in the ambulance and to the ER because the bleeding was not slowing. Loss of life was a real possibility. My mom called, my brother called, my wife called. I honestly said goodbye to each of them expecting to never see them again. BTW: my (then) wife, was in Florida at the time visiting family; I cannot imagine what went through her mind 1,000 miles away. My momma was, well… a momma… Scared, but telling me not to be afraid and not to give up fighting.
In the back of the ambulance, they cut all my clothes off to analyze other injuries. This is when the bone protruding from my thigh became the focus. I had been holding the thigh in pain and couldn’t move it since the first minute after the accident. It was a shattered femur bone (the hardest bone in your body and the hardest to break). It shattered through the skin leaving about 2-3” of bone missing. So, in addition to lower leg being torn almost completely off, I was also dealing with a left femur break. But guess what… not ONE scratch ANYWHERE else on my body… not a scratch on my face or head (helmets save lives!); not a mark anywhere else. There is only one way that is possible… like God carried me to the pavement. We made it to the ER after a bumpy ride (different story about my leg falling off the gurney at one point during the ride) and straight to the operating room. Straight into a medically-induced sleep. I had not lost consciousness the entire time until they put me under. This, I believe, is what saved my life. If I had blacked out I may have become comatose from the blood loss. They actually have no idea how I didn’t blackout. I do… God saved my life. I had cried out to Him multiple times from the roadside. I know prayer and cries out to God happened immediately when mom, Tracy, and Nate heard the news that night.
I awoke the next day unable to speak, because of the tube in my throat. I felt incredible pain in my left leg still but as I looked down at the blankets I felt a void there. I was not aware at this point that they removed my leg in operation. Mom and dad were right there. A doctor and nurse entered the room. They revealed the news… below knee amputation. I cried… uncontrollable tears… I saw my life as I knew it being over. I didn’t want to see my leg yet. Later, my wife arrived having caught the first plane out of Florida she could catch. The nurse came to change the bedding and I accidently saw my leg. This was not a good moment. I lost my emotions again. I probably cussed out the other driver a hundred times, I cried, I screamed, I was honestly inconsolable.
But… here’s the story… here’s where it gets beautiful. There is HEALING in God’s name! There is HEALING in FORGIVENESS; and I eventually forgave the other driver. I no longer become angry, even to this day, at the other driver, I actually pray for Patrick Burke and his road to recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. THERE IS HEALING IN LETTING GO! I let go of my anger toward Patrick, my bitterness toward God for this happening, my hate toward the doctor who cut off my leg. I let it all go AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS! Jesus is my savior, He was there that night! He had angels around me, their names are Marcus, Rick, and Joshua; those were three specific angels He sent. To hear my entire story, or learn about these angels, or learn how I overcame and became a 100-mile cyclist, a mountain climber, a carpenter, and best of all – a child of the ONE TRUE KING… please look me up, Joshua Karczewski. There may be a book in the future, LOL. God is good people! Through all adversity comes a story. Pain to purpose, trial to testimony, hurt to hope, all by the power of God. From nearly lost and dead to totally found and alive in CHRIST!
But, do not be inspired by me… be inspired by Jesus and the power He gives me… be inspired by yourself because His power is in you… ready to be released. I praise God for every friend that has been there for four years; fighting this battle with me.
And if you read this far… thank you.