My name is Mike Wojcik. I am currently recovering from a serious brain injury. I was a kid who had everything he ever wanted, a beautiful girlfriend, always played acoustic guitar and sang and I was hired for my dream job that I had worked extremely hard to get. Life was fun, I thought I was set and 3 weeks before I was to begin my career teaching and coaching I was out with my friends partying and celebrating it was suppose to be my one last hoorah before I was to begin my career and I got on a quad with my friend who had been drinking and he hit a tree and I hit my head and was immediately critically injured. I suffered three broken ribs, collapsed lungs, broken clavicles, many facial fractures and minor cuts and bruises.
However that was the good news.
I suffered two ruptured arteries, one to my right arm and one to my brain. Then that was followed by 2 strokes. It was determined three-fourths of the right side of my brain had been destroyed. I was air lifted to a community hospital, they worked on me a little bit but they were unable to handle me. My lungs were collapsed and I wasnt breathing. I was air lifted again to a trauma center where they performed life saving techniques. I was kept alive by machines, I was unable to breathe on my own for months, it was touch and go for several days. After my life was saved I woke up out of a coma 3 months later. Doctors then told my family I would most likely never be able to walk, talk, eat, have the ability to learn or remember memories. This was all based on if I would survive and wake up. My family and friends were only filled with possibilities and much uncertainty.
When I woke up I had no idea what happened to me or why I was alone in a dark lonely hospital room. Confusion could not even begin to describe my feelings at this given time. I had forgotten I had a girlfriend, among many other things. It was a difficult depressing time for me due to the fact that I could not talk or remember anything. I was forced to live in a rehab hospital for 8 months.
I woke up from 3 months in coma and unconsciousness at JFK hospital in Edison. Sometime in that 3 months I was flown from Lehigh Valley hospital in P.A. After I woke up, I contemplated suicide. I didnt want to live one more day but couldnt even do that. I was unable to walk or use my left hand. They kept me in a net bed with my hands taped because I always tried ripping out my breathing tube. I was put under the impression therapy will help me get back to how I was before my injury so I worked extremely hard in therapy. I woke up in October 2008 and I am done with all therapy in march 2010.
My instincts told me go home when I woke up. I cried and cried to my family begging them to bring me home but they were under the impression therapy will get me back to normal. I was a county, district, region champ and new jersey state place winner in wrestling at Old Bridge High School and a member of a division 1 wrestling team at West Virginia University and used that same work ethic in therapy. No therapist was used to a patient telling them their wants, needs and to push them harder because my injuries and deficits were far too much for therapists or technology. So I am on my own waiting for a miracle to help me talk and eat.
While I wait I continue traditional therapy on my own at my house and at Retro Fitness gym in Matawan. I miss my day having structure and being around other people. Socializing is what I missed the most ever since I woke up. My life has been very different since the day I woke up and I will never be that same person I once was. I am forever changed for the better. I have the same work ethic and perseverance but I see life in a whole new way. I have an extreme appreciation for the little things and my 2nd chance at life as a gift.
One of the many reasons I designed this website is that I dont want anyone who reads this to go through the suffering like I have. Be smart and use good judgment to allow only good decisions to be made, think before you act. One of the biggest decisions, always wear a helmet while on any motorized vehicle. Most importantly, never drive drunk or with a drunk person. Be careful while in traffic and always wear a seatbelt. These are all simple precautions, why take the risk. I will never be the same person as I was before.
Im currently still in mid-recovery and still cant talk or eat but I keep thinking of a few reasons that I would like to share. First, to get the message out and to be safe because bad things do happen to good people. Id like everyone who reads this to think before they act and use good judgment. Second is I would like everyone who reads this to appreciate the little things in life. Things you probably do and dont even think about. The third reason I made this site is I that I would like whoever reads it parent, child, whoever to know anything is possible if only you believe, have patients and extreme work ethic. Doctors told my family I may never walk, talk or eat and it was even said I may not have the ability to learn or remember anything and today I run and lift 5 days a week, drink 3 protein shakes a day, currently writing a book and also do motivational/educational presentations.
I just want everyone to know with anything and everything that happens to you in life you are given a choice. You can either use the event that occurs in your life to let it motivate you and drive you, or you can let it bring you down. We can never control what happens to us in life but we can always control how we react to it. I know most who read this wont listen to my message and you will keep the same mentality that bad things wont happen to you like I thought but if I can inspire 1 person or change 1 persons life or make 1 person think before they act, its worth all the time and energy I put into it.
I was so excited to get out of the hospital and live home. Little did I know a new fight had just began. It was a fight for my independence. When I got home in march I couldnt do a thing by myself. I couldnt use the restroom, put a shirt, pants or shoes on and had to be fed through my tube. I wasnt allowed to go to the gym alone and I was constantly frustrated so I just used common sense and hard work to regain my independence.
I bought shoes I can slip on with one hand, I bought pants that allowed me to use the restroom on my own and I learned to drink my food so I no longer had to use my feeding tube. The only reason I kept it in was to eat the most healthy foods ever which usually dont taste that great anyway so in that case I didnt have to taste it. Since I cant drive I just ride my bike or run everywhere. My life has become a struggle and a constant fight everyday because I made an unsmart decision. I thought I was done with wrestling when I graduated college but I have to wrestle life everyday now.
Its unbelievably frustrating knowing it doesnt matter how hard I work with my abilities to eat and talk may or may not repair and the brain is simply a mystery with no guarantees but what keeps me going is having a positive attitude, god, believing and also all the support and simple words from friends, family or complete strangers. My whole life I believed we cant control what happens to us all we can do is control how we react to it so I felt with this injury I was given a choice.
I can sit around being negative, hating life, thinking its unfair or do I look for the valuable life lessons in this adversity and look at it as a gift in disguise. I chose to look at it as a gift in disguise and I am trying to share all the valuable life lessons I have learned with others without them having to go through the pain and suffering like I have. My whole life I believed we need four things to be in good shape. One, something to do and be passionate about. Two, someone to love. Three, something to believe in. Four, most importantly something to hope for.
So despite my current limitations I am still extremely passionate about being healthy as I exercise 5 days a week at retro fitness. As far as the someone to love part thats a bigger mystery to me now than ever before. For reasons I cant talk or eat, I absolutely have something to believe in and hope for thats why despite my current limitations I feel Im in good shape and the only direction I can go from here on out is up! I already hit rock bottom...
I lost just about everything and anything I had in life and now have to struggle, pray and work hard everyday to regain a better life and happiness. I just hope I get my message across to all whether your a child or mature responsible adult. Think before you act, I Didnt... Now my lifes a struggle
Of course its hard for me to be around things i cant do or have everyday but besides the fact I can walk I am truly blessed that my humor ideas, apptitude, decision making and work ethic was not effected. They all could have easily been erased and they are the charecteristics that had taken me so far so fast in my recovery. The average recovery time for a tramatic brain injury is 5 to 8 years if ever and I have only been awake from my coma for 20 months.