Don’t Be Afraid of Life’s Uncertainties

Doctor VisitThis past week Mike and I went to see my kidney doctor, as we do about every 4 months.  The purpose of the visit is to monitor my kidneys and how they are doing.  It’s always like sitting on pins and needles until he reads the numbers from the blood test, which tell you everything.  Fortunately, this past week the numbers were good.

I’ve been off dialysis now for almost three years.  My kidneys started functioning to the point where I did not need dialysis any more.  This is not common and I am very fortunate. However, living with constant uncertainty is not easy.  Many people have illnesses that have no treatment options. I know firsthand how difficult it is to wake up every day and not know my medical future.  Being afraid of this is a normal response.

How I have learned to cope with fear is by talking about it with Mike or someone I know well.  There is something very healthy and therapeutic about vocalizing my struggles.  This has helped me also to accept the facts that I can’t change.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

My First TV Interview

Angela Pierce TV InterviewRecently, I was a guest on a local TV program hosted by Scott Kaplan and Amber Mesker.  It was the first time I had ever been interviewed.  I did not realize how simple the set up was, as I expected to see a lot more cameras, lights and noise.  It was a simple set and very quiet.

I was asked to come on and tell my story about my accident.  When the interview began, I thought it would be about how to motivate people via my story, but instead it was an account of what actually happened.  I took a moment in my mind to figure out how to bring motivation to the story, so I referenced the moment when I was put in the ambulance and told Scott and Amber that my thoughts were centered on survival.  Instead of laying in a hospital, I’ll be laying in the sun and enjoying the weather.

The way I thought I could motivate people was to tell them that the most important thing when facing tragedy was to tell yourself, “don’t give up.  You’ll have your day in the sun if you hold on to life.”  After almost thirty years, I still tell myself that same message and find it to be very helpful to me as new challenges and struggles surface.

In conclusion, here’s the message for you, the readers:  When difficulty or tragedy strikes, realize that there are many different ways you can respond.  The most important thing to remember is that you can tell yourself is that it will be OK.  The moment won’t last forever.  You are worth more than the price of the trauma!

RESOURCE

U-T San Diego – Front Page with Scott & Amber. Watch Angela’s interview. January 14, 2013.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Walking Out Your Front Door Is The First Step Up Your Mountain

Since my accident in 1985, I have been through some very difficult times.  There have been many days when I’ve felt fearful to “walk out my front door.” However, the focus of this blog is to help you as the reader understand that when you push through fears and “walk out your front door,” it changes your focus from what you can’t do to what you can do.

Here is an example while I was on a recent trip to Colorado.  I stayed with my sister Marcia.  During this visit, we had decided to have our nails done.  However, she could not go due to the fact that she had to work.  I decided to treat myself and get my nails done without her.  This was awkward, as I was already in an unfamiliar place and was somewhere that I had never been to.  I made the decision to “walk out her front door.”

I was under the lamp waiting for my nails to dry when I noticed a woman sitting next to me and complimented her on her nails.  We had some small talk during a big hailstorm.  I was concerned about leaving and going to another salon to get my hair washed because the rain was pouring down like crazy, and I did not have a car.  This woman, whose name I still did not know, offered to not only give me a ride, but told me she would move her car for me and opened the umbrella right in the store.  Going outside in the pouring rain and hail, I did not get a drop of water on me thanks to this woman.

This was a complete stranger who did this for me.  She saw that my hands were shaking and asked if I took prednisone, a common prescription drug for tremors.  I told her that I did not take it, but I knew what it was due to my kidney disease (prednisone is also prescribed for kidney disease patients).  She asked me about my illness.  I told her “it is a long story.”  She wanted to hear about it, so I told her about my rock climbing accident.  After I had shared my story, she opened up about an illness that she struggles with.  I invited her to the 2012 IDA Awards Banquet and mentioned that my husband and I were the keynote speakers.  She said that she really wanted to come.  She eventually told me her name, which is Suzanne.

What I learned through this is that you can “walk out your front door” and make a difference in a stranger’s life.  When you live with an invisible disability, you may be pleasantly surprised by the impact you can make when you tell someone your story and what it has taught you.  Many strangers that we could meet every day have challenges like us, and they are looking for someone to talk to.  They need us as much as we need them.  That is why an organization like the IDA can be so helpful.

The key to “walking out your front door” and moving forward is to not only go outside, but to meet people and have meaningful conversations with them.  My meeting Suzanne in an unfamiliar place and not being afraid to tell my story, led to a meaningful conversation and a new friend.  This was worth “walking out my sister’s front door.”

OK, here is the conclusion: Come to the 2012 IDA Awards Banquet on Oct 14 in Denver and you’ll not only hear my story, but you will meet many people and hear many inspiring stories from those who “went out their front door.”

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

My Mother’s Day Climb

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. It is a very special day for everyone who has children and families.  However, for some of us who may have lost our mother or possibly a child, it is a very difficult day.  It is also difficult for those of us who do not have children, especially those who do not or cannot have children due to the fact we have a disability.  In addition, we need to remember that some mothers are spending their special day at a hospital or other facility, tending to a child who is seriously sick or injured.  This is what my mom experienced for many of her mother’s days after my accident in 1985.

I am grateful for my mom and happy for my friends and family who are moms.  However, there is still a part of me that feels a void since I am not a mom and will never have my own child.  I am reminded of this when someone asks, “do you have children?” At that moment, my heart drops and I say, “no, I do not.” The decision I made to not have children is just one example of how the damage from my rock climbing accident continues to be a daily challenge.  If you met me for the first time, you’d never know that I live with several invisible disabilities.  As a result, I have had to make many difficult choices, including not having children.  I have wrestled with this for 27 years.

I know that there are many women who cannot or choose to not have children, due to health problems and disabilities.  The solution is to find something else that fulfills the void to want to take care of someone or something.  I’ve found different avenues to fulfill my desire to nurture and care for others.  For example, I’ve been a volunteer at local colleges helping students transition into adulthood, worked with young adults who have special needs, have taken care of pets at a local pet store,  and I keep in touch with my godchild and her mom.

Even though many women, including myself, do not have children, there are opportunities to get involved in other people’s lives and make a difference.  It is not a substitute for my own kids, but it is very rewarding and takes the sting out of the wound.  For those out there with severe disabilities, invisible or not, nurturing a child, friend, family member or pet can be just as rewarding.  A simple phone call, email or sending a card, can make a big difference, not only to the person who receives the call or note, but to the one who sends it.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Angels on the Mountaintop

Those of us who live in suffering do not realize the depth of understanding we can give to others.  Whether it is on the internet, phone, or praying and sending good thoughts to others we know who live with invisible disabilities, we can make a difference.  Sometimes our pain and sickness lead us to being lonely.  Since we are already angels, we should try to remember that we are suffering for others who do not even know they need our help.

Here are two examples of how God has been able to use me to help someone that did not know they needed my help.  One, a friend of mine was having a baby.  I went to visit her in the afternoon and found out that nobody else would be there to support her during birth.  I stayed with her, postponing my dialysis, which meant more pain for me; however, not only was I able to hold Hadley’s hand during her C section, I was the person who cut the umbilical cord.  What an experience for me to be able to hold a new baby’s hand and to be able to celebrate a new life with a good friend of mine.  I held the baby, placed her next to my Hadley’s cheek and with tears in both our eyes, we shared a quiet moment that neither of us will ever forget.

A second example was this past week.  A good friend of mine from dialysis had been in the hospital for the past 3 days.  She had a heart attack brought on by congestive heart failure.  While I was visiting her in the hospital, the hospice nurse came in and asked my friend Molly if it was OK with her that I be allowed to stay in the room.  Molly shook her head yes.  Molly and I were very good friends.  The nurse continued to ask Molly questions concerning her quality of life.  At this point, Molly was in bad shape and was fighting for her life.  The nurse asked Molly if she had spoken with her kidney doctor about the possibility of not continuing dialysis.  Molly said no.  This was difficult for me to hear, as Molly was making the decision to possibly not get dialysis treatment any longer.  The nurse was basically telling Molly that even though her mind was strong, her body was weak and was giving up.

Most people could not go to a hospital to visit a friend or family member and listen to a nurse or doctor have a life and death conversation.  Even though its difficult, its very important to be there for people like Molly, when they need us the most.  Those of us with invisible disabilities can relate to people like Molly and can truly be an angel during some of the most exciting and difficult moments in people’s lives.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Climbing the Mountain of Weakness

“When you are weak, you are strong.” What does this really mean? For those of us who have invisible disabilities, this is a haunting statement, yet it is one of the most liberating and powerful principles available to us.  We want so desperately to look someone in the eye and say, “I’m doing great.  How are you?” The reality is that when we are hurting, we are not doing great and we find it difficult, if not impossible, to look at someone in the eye and say, “I’m not doing well at all.  Can you help me?”  When we find someone who will listen to us and understand how we are struggling, it is a huge boost of strength.

What do I mean by weak?  Simply this:  The fear of admitting that you are having a very hard time or struggling to the point of not seeing a way out.  For example, in the last 2 months I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not feel safe to drive my car due to how I’m doing physically.  Telling someone that I can’t take myself where I want to go is very difficult, as it means I have to depend on others.  On the one hand, this is a weakness, because I’m afraid to admit to someone else that I need help.  On the other hand, it is a source of strength because when I ask for someone else’s help, I’m letting them into my world; when I see that they accept me after knowing this about me, it is a great relief and source of strength.  It takes a lot of courage for me to let someone else know my weaknesses.  Regardless of their reaction, the courage that I put forth to do this, strengthens me.

Unfortunately, in our culture today, admitting that we are weak, unable, not smart, feeble, or anything other than strong and powerful is frowned upon.  Going one step further, it is my belief that we not only frown upon this, but we push people aside who are anything other than positive, strong, full of answers and fully capable of overcoming difficulties.  This is true not only for us who live with disabilities, but this attitude exists in our schools, neighborhoods, companies and families.

What does all this mean for you? Admitting that you are weak is OK.  Choose an area of your life that you’re having a hard time with.  Make a decision to tell someone you trust about this.  You will surprise yourself with how this is very liberating and how it will strengthen you.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Facing the Mountain of Insecurity

I have been involved with the Invisible Disabilities Association for a few months and have found it to be very helpful in many ways.  I’ve met several people who share some of the same struggles I do.  I have also really enjoyed telling my story through the blog and hope it has inspired others.

A while back I was asked to consider telling my story on video.  My first reaction was “Oh my gosh, I can’t do this.” The reason I struggled with doing a video was because I had been having a difficult few months physically to the point where I was not able to get my hair done for six months. What I realized is that my real struggle is that I don’t want anyone to see my real sickness. I thought that having my hair done would somehow cover up my invisible disabilities and would make me feel more secure.

I realized that it is very important for me to look as “normal” or “healthy” as I can before others see me (outside of my doctors, who see me at my worst – LOL!).  I find myself fighting in many ways to look and feel healthy, but I know that I’m not. Therefore, anything I can do to change my outside appearance becomes more important. While this may sound vain, to people like me who can’t hide their disability when they are not feeling well, a good appearance has much more meaning than I’d like to admit. It is a form of security that helps me feel better about myself.

To conclude, what I’ve learned (the hard way) is that living with an invisible disability means that some days I’m going to look and feel like crap.  Period.  However, that is OK.  Some days my struggle is going to be so hard that I could not hide it or make it look better no matter how hard I try.  I found that I’m better off putting that energy into something that I can do to try and best manage the pain for that day and not worry about how I look because I know that it won’t make any difference.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Climbing the Mountain of Pain Management

Living with pain is very difficult, as there are many times when there is no way possible for me to get rid of it or be comfortable enough just to relax.  Having physical pain can be a constant obstacle for many people, including myself.  Instead of remaining angry or frustrated, I try to create soothing options to mitigate the pain, like soaking in a hot bathtub or by taking deep breaths.  One thing I have to learn to live with is managing the pain.

Another thing that helps me to manage the pain, is to create distractions.  While the pain in my body is real and not just imaginary, I’ve found that activities that take my attention help me to focus on other things , such as reading or watching a good movie, especially if it makes me laugh.

Sometimes the pain is so bad, I feel like giving up.  Even admitting it is a struggle.

There are many definitions of what chronic pain is, as everyone’s body and tolerance levels are different.  What I’ve found to be important is to seek out help as soon as the pain sets in, as it becomes harder to talk about as the pain gets worse.  As in my own case, I began noticing that my Fentanyl patch began losing its impact and the pain began to increase.  I tolerated this for months and did not speak up about it.  Now it has caught up with me and has become more of a crisis, as the pain level seems to have hit a tipping point.

If you’re living in pain, I would suggest that you try other possible solutions to mitigate the discomfort before turning to medication.  A few examples are, acupuncture, physical therapy, or light exercise in a swimming pool.  These are examples of things I tried  before turning to narcotics, which for me was a Fentanyl patch.  The reason I suggest trying non-medication solutions first is because you avoid long term risk to your body brought on by possible side effects and long term effects from the medication.

If you are new to chronic pain, I understand the frustration, anger and other emotions that say, “this is too much.”  I know from experience that it seems like some days feel like they’ll never end, as well as the pain.  In this case, medication can be a short term solution while you explore other alternatives for a longer term solution. The key is to take one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow, next week or anytime in the future.

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor before stopping or starting any medication, treatment, therapy or exercise.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Falling Off the Mountain of Trauma

Have you ever been in a car accident or known someone who has?  Have you ever experienced another type of accident that either injured you or left you fearful?  Have you ever had, or know someone whose had a serious health condition or one that scared you?  Most of us can identify with one of these situations.  By definition, you’ve lived through trauma, which is defined as a wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury or an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.

When you hear the word “trauma”, what comes to your mind?  Most people would picture a car accident, a heart attack or someone serving in the military who has been seriously injured or has seen others get shot or killed.  While this is true, trauma extends far beyond the common pictures or stereotypes in most of our minds.  For example, this month we as a nation remembered ten years back to the attacks of 09-11.  For many people who may not realize it, 09-11 was a traumatic experience, regardless of where you were when it happened. Reality is this: Trauma is much more common in most people’s lives than we realize. Our human nature does not want to admit this, as it is very painful and embarrassing.  Unfortunately, running away from trauma or sweeping it under the rug only makes it worse.  Trauma is a one type of an invisible disability and a mountain that many people “fall off of” metaphorically.

Many of you may know my story that in 1985, I had a serious rock climbing accident, falling 125 feet and breaking my bones in 168 places.  At the time of my accident, I realized that I had suffered serious physical trauma.  However, just as damaging, if not more damaging, was the psychological trauma. It was not until 17 years later that I got professional counseling to help me through my accident.  What I learned from my counseling is that I had not only suffered physical trauma, but also serious psychological trauma.  My counseling was very helpful because it got me to open up, admit some difficult struggles I was having, and it helped me to learn to live with myself regardless of what I had been through.

In summary, many people are living with ongoing trauma and don’t realize it.  I understand that the subject of trauma is serious and not one that many people enjoy reading about or discussing.  However, my intent in writing this blog is that people will be honest about their lives as well as those they care about.  Trauma, as bad as it is, can be managed and people who go through traumatic difficulties, can find peace and freedom to live their lives.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Falling Off The Mountain

February 13, 1985 was a day that changed my life forever.  I was a freshman attending Ft Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.  On that day, I spent the day rock climbing with 2 friends, a sport I had taken up 9 months prior.  Later in the afternoon, I had reached the summit; it was an exhilarating moment, as looked out across the valley.  I felt at peace and was thankful for the experience I had.  I was now ready to come down.

I leaned back as I began to repel down.  As I looked over my shoulder to get my bearings, I heard a loud click and a swooshing sound, and I knew I was in a free fall.  Suddenly I saw the sky, trees, ground, and the mountain racing past me at what seemed like 100 miles an hour. Seconds later, I hit the ground feet first and heard a loud crunch.  I blacked out for a second and saw my body twisted like a Raggedy Ann doll turned in all the wrong places.  The pain was excruciating.  I had just survived a 125-foot free fall.

During the course of the next 26 years, I went through 40+ surgeries and have too many scars to count, many of which are emotional.  I have many physical and emotional complications as a result of my accident, including hepatitis, kidney failure, severe pain continuously, battle PTSD, and other challenges.  I take multiple prescription medications on a daily basis.  My life is a challenge beyond description.

The irony is that if you met me today, you would not have a clue that anything was wrong with me.  I did not lose any limbs and am not in a wheel chair.  I look like every other average size female you see every day.  The truth is that I’m permanently disabled, even though I don’t look like it.  The fact that my disability is invisible only adds to the challenge. However, I’m not alone, not even close.  Everyday we all pass by people who look, sound, and smell “normal.”  They’re far from it, because they’ve “fallen off their own mountains” and are living with one or more invisible disabilities.

Believe it or not, there is a silver lining in my cloud.  I have learned many valuable lessons as a result of my accident and the challenges I face every day.  As I continue to write about the specifics of what I’ve learned, I believe that I can help others to learn how to live with their invisible disabilities.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Facing the Mountain of Loss: Losing My Health

One of the most difficult mountains I’ve faced in my life are those that deal with my health.  The reason is because many of these challenges have been things that I have had little to no control over.

I can try to mitigate some of the symptoms with medication, healthy eating and good lifestyle choices; however, as disciplined as I am and as hard as I try, sometimes this is not enough.  For example, I discovered in 2009 that I had kidney failure.  After a biopsy, I was put onto dialysis, as my kidney’s were barely functioning.  The doctors could not figure out how my kidneys failed.  Simultaneously, I have had hepatitis C since 1985.  I got this disease from a blood transfusion that I received after surviving a rock climbing accident.

The only way to eradicate hepatitis C is to take a drug called Interferon.  Unfortunately, I can not take this drug due to my kidney issues.  Living with both kidney disease and liver disease is a mountain that seems impossible to overcome.  Especially, since the best option for both of these illnesses is to receive an organ transplant.  There are so many factors that I have no control over so the destiny of my health is largely out of my hands.  That is one of the scariest things I live with every day.

The silver lining in my situation is this:  Even though I have kidney disease and have been through dialysis for 2 years, I have been fortunate that my kidneys began to function well enough to take me off dialysis.  This is a miracle, as my kidney doctor told me that I was only the second patient in his entire career that he has taken off dialysis.

Some of the things I’ve learned through my illnesses may sound familiar but they are still worth noting.

1. Do your best each day to take care of yourself.  Get enough rest, have the right diet and exercise as much as you can.

2. Talk through your fears and concerns with someone or some people you trust.  Getting your feelings out in the open is a great source of healing.

3. Be OK with the fact that some days will be harder than others.  It may be very difficult, to the point where you may not be able to get out of bed or speak with someone.  Recognize that days that are very overwhelming are a part of healing and they will not last forever.

4. Remember that you are not alone.  I realize that some days it feels like I am the only person struggling beyond belief; the truth is that there are many people living with disease and/or multiple diseases just like me.

5. No matter how challenging your situation is, do not give up.  I know that is difficult to hear when you lose your health to an illness or have another kind of loss, but it is important to remember this: DO NOT GIVE UP!

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Facing the Mountain of Loss: Losing a Friend

In the last two years I have lost four people I cared for very much.  They both were about my age, 45. Losing these friends forced me to face a mountain of loss that I was not familiar with. Standing at the bottom of this mountain, I had no idea what to do next.  There are others out there like me who know what its like to lose a great friend and face this mountain.  When we lose someone we love, many thoughts and emotions went through our mind.  Getting myself to move forward would take some time.  This kind of mountain made me wonder why I am here? I thought to myself, “these people were no different than me, yet while I am alive they are gone from this earth.” My first step was to face my grief, talk about how I felt and admit it made me feel afraid.  After a while I asked myself the question what was my purpose in life?

This is a mountain I did not expect to face when losing friends.  They were no longer there to talk to, laugh with, or even cry with, so it made me focus on how I wanted to live my life. I missed all four of these people and I treasured our memories together.  Somehow their death gave me the a opportunity to face my fears.  To move further up the mountain, I had to realize getting passed this pain may not happen today or tomorrow or even a year from now, but I believed if I kept trying, I would discover how to get to the top.

As time progressed, my perspective began to change. My sense of self-confidence started to grow.  When I found myself getting closer to the top of this mountain, I remembered great memories and how they touched my life. Because they died at my age, I realized you never know when your life will end, so if you can, give it your best.  Different emotions have come as time has gone on. I know that there will be times when I’ll experience their loss again,  and I will face another difficult mountain. For now I am at peace.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

Facing the Mountain of Loss: Losing a Pet

It takes time to appreciate the value of climbing a mountain.  You do not know if you will be able to make it to the top, get stuck half way, or be so frightened you stand at the bottom, afraid to take the first step.  Choices in real life are the same.  Some things we can do very easily; others we begin, but midstream we freeze and have no idea what our next move should be.

The hardest thing is when I have faced mountains that seem insurmountable.  I have been trapped at the bottom several times, afraid of what to do next.  Pushing myself forward has taken minutes, days, weeks, months, even years.  Each time I have worked through the difficulty,  I see something amazing that I did not know or understand about myself and life.  Recently, I faced a big mountain.  My husband and I lost our 18 year old cat Sebastian.  We do not have children so when he died our hearts were left empty.

He was part of our family.  The next few weeks we started looking for a new cat, but we were not into it.  It felt foreign to not have a cat but it was hard to think how we would replace Sebastian.  Two days ago we found two kittens.

They are so fun and playful.  The mountain of losing something or someone you love makes it hard to want to give to anything or anyone else.  The beauty is that when you do,  you appreciate life in a brand new way.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.