Kara is a former director and producer who is passionate about being positive and finding her bliss. Four years ago, after the birth of her second child, she knew it was time to make some healthy changes for her life, so she signed up for her first gym membership. Since then, she’s helped Growing Bolder share the stories about other strong women!
“It was a dark and stormy night” sounds like the start of a mystery novel but that is exactly how this chapter of Carrie Root’s life began.
Three years ago Carrie was driving down a stretch of Interstate 95 with a co-worker as passenger. “It was raining so badly, tractor trailers were pulled over on the shoulder of the road.” As Carrie took an exit to another road, her car hydroplaned into the back of one of those tractor trailers. It took first responders half an hour to get her out of the car. Because of the rain, helicopters were unable to fly to the scene. She and her co-worker, Emily, were taken by ambulance to Shock Trauma.
Carrie, now 40 and mother to Simon (11) and Alli (7) has an incredible lust for life. When you first meet her you are instantly drawn to her outgoing, happy personality. Her hard work and determination is what made her successful at her job as a project manager and prepared her for the challenges she was now facing.
Carrie doesn’t remember much about the first few days. Her mom would later tell her that she was unrecognizable. Carrie suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple skull and facial fractures. She has scars in her hairline as a reminder of the drain doctors placed in her skull to relieve the pressure on her brain. The carotid arteries, vessels that supply blood to the brain, on her left side were crushed. Four stents were placed to prevent them from collapsing. Carrie’s left hand was also crushed. “My left hand has been completely reconstructed. All four fingers were shredded and they are put together with pins. And my wrist was broken.”
Carrie spent six weeks in the hospital. Many complications arose but she met them like she does everything, head on and with a positive attitude. “I always thought I was in exactly the right place. I was never afraid of being there.”
The scariest moment came when doctors discovered an aneurysm, a weak artery that could rupture, on Carrie’s brain stem. She needed surgery. The doctor said “I want you to understand that you will probably have a stroke (while in surgery). You may never be the same. You may never regain any of the abilities you have now.” A surgery that was supposed to take 4 hours lasted 10. “They were trying to keep me alive. They didn’t know what was going to happen on the other side of it.” Her family in the waiting room was anxious for news, knowing that the Carrie they sent into the operating room wouldn’t be the same one coming back out. When Carrie did wake up after surgery she was worried about her son’s Cub Scout meeting. “Make sure you tell his dad that Simon has Cub Scouts!” It was a miracle. She made it through the surgery without having a stroke and without changing her personality. Carrie was the same. “The doctor said to my mom when I started talking ‘we dodged bullet’. He didn’t know what to expect. He fixed my aneurysm, he fixed my carotid. I credit him for saving my life at least four times.”
Shortly after getting home another discovery was made. Carrie was completely deaf in her left ear. “Nobody knew I was deaf. I could hear on my right side. You get used to what’s going on. I was in a hospital room and if people were talking to me, they were looking at my face and I could hear them.”
Prior to her accident Carrie was working sixty hours a week and taking care of her two children. Her doctors told her in no uncertain terms that she was not going to be able to jump right back in where she left off. Carrie wasn’t having it. Six months after her accident she went back to work. “It was exhausting to try and listen to people, to try and focus on what was going on. It was just too much too soon. I tried it for two weeks and said ‘I can’t keep doing this; this is not actually helping me get better’.”
The realization that she would never be able to work the way she used to was a hard one for Carrie to face. For the next five months she focused on her recovery. She started seeing a therapist and getting back to the gym. The doctor told her she could go back to work but she wouldn’t be able to work as she had prior to the accident. “I couldn’t work sixty hours a week. Forty hours a week was going to be pushing it. I’m going to get sick more often. I’m going to stay sick longer. These are just the things she was telling me that could happen. I thought really long and hard about it. I thought ‘I can’t set myself up for that kind of failure’. I can do the work that I love to do and I can do it on my terms. I can do a little bit at a time and I can grow with it. I decided to start my own business.”
And that’s how Nomis Project Management, named for her son, Simon, was born. Nomis Project Management specializes in operational and process consulting, as well as leadership development and coaching. Carrie took all of her experience prior to her accident and turned it into a successful business less than a year after a horrific car accident that almost killed her. It has given her the freedom to raise her two children and deal with the lasting effects of her trauma.
Reflecting on the challenges she has faced, Carrie is able to acknowledge the road she has traveled to get to where is now. ”I finally am really comfortable with me. Part of that is that I have this fantastic perspective of not dying. Although I wish that perspective for everyone, I do not wish for them to go through it like I did.”
To learn more about Carrie’s story, check out her blog: http://carrieroot-on.blogspot.com.