Dead Stick – Arm Surgery Required

My Right Arm Was A Dead Stick of Lifelessness

In the spring of 2013, I got a hair brained idea to spear a bear. A couple of months later I had a right arm that was a literal dead stick. After months of excruciating pain, therapy and doctors it still hung by my side completely lifeless. We’d met with the surgeon a few weeks earlier. Of course I was refusing the surgery and he told my husband, “This isn’t an ‘if we have to do it, it’s a when she’s ready'”. The doctor said everything will be set up and there’s no need to come down again. Just schedule the arm surgery when she is ready.

I was sick to my stomach at the thought of another surgery. Not only had I had plenty for my lifetime but the thought of losing the use of my arm ravaged me. But the surgeon was right, the day came when my lifeless limb was zero use to me. Equally, the pain was more than I could take any longer. For these reasons, surgery was the only option.

Fear of Not Shooting My Bow Again Was Ever Present

The recovery was long as one could be. Not to mention there was always this little nagging voice saying “you’re never going to be able to shoot your bow again”. My arm was barely recognizable due to all the muscle mass I lost and dead tissue that was removed. I wanted to puke every time I looked at it. And that tiny nagging voice didn’t help matters.

What did help was a husband who knew I needed to be outdoors doing “Angie” things. So he sat me up with a .22 rifle down by our pond. This particular pond had a snapping turtle epidemic going on and he said take care of it. When I asked how the heck was I supposed to shoot with only one arm he responded with “figure it out”. Therefore, I did and the worst summer of my life turned into one of the most memorable summers.

Pain is Temporary – Do What You Love!

I hunted that fall carrying a crossbow per Adam’s request. Of course I had my compound bow too. I had let my draw weight down to 40# before the surgery. Prior to taking my bow hunting I drew and shot only one time. Drawing that bow back was intense and at one point felt like I was sweating blood. Ultimately I prayed a deer didn’t walk out. During late antlerless season I filled my doe tags with a rifle. In time, I knew I’d bow hunt again. After all, I’d already started throwing the spear again. I kept telling myself pain is temporary and you only live once.

dead stickFast forward to fall 2016 and against many odds and doubting people I speared my first whitetail. Then in 2017 I speared another one. Now I knew I was ready for a bear. Last week I got that bear with my spear thrown from an arm that once was a dead stick. An arm that probably shouldn’t have ever even been able to draw a bow again let alone throw a spear.

I’ve been asked what I think my odds are with many things I try. Correspondingly, I always respond with “I like my odds!”. That is because I’ve learned to believe in myself. I’m not afraid to try all the wrong ways until I figure out which way is right. People will talk and maybe even try to discourage your dreams. If you wholeheartedly believe you can do it and you have the mindset to put in the time and effort to learn a certain skill you will be successful!

“Failure is only an option if you quit” – Angie Kokes

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