Alison's recovery story

Alison Bray, pictured, experienced a nasty cycling accident in the summer. This is her recovery story...

"This is my personal story and by sharing it I hope that in some way it may be of some encouragement to someone of how God helped to heal me….

Around four months ago my youngest daughter Amelia was preparing to go to China for two weeks in August with a group of nine people.

The purpose of the visit was to work voluntarily with an organisation called International China Concern. This visit entailed working in a Welfare Centre for disabled and abandoned children and adults.

Quite a significant amount of money needed to be raised to fund this particular visit, so I decided to take part in a sponsored 70 mile cycle ride, encouraged along by volunteers Glenn Jones and Tracey Cooke, to help raise some money towards the cost of the trip. As I had only been cycling for a short while I needed a lot of training to undertake this kind of challenge.

Building up fitness for such a challenge is not easy but training went well and as part of this I went out with Emmanuel Church Cycling Club and with the encouragement of the group throughout my training and guidance from Glenn I felt I was on track to undertake the upcoming challenge.  

On Saturday 28th May the group cycled to the lighthouse near South Shields. The route was around 40 miles long leaving from Great Lumley, cycling to South Shields and returning via the essential cake stop on the way.  It was on the last leg of the return journey, just as the group had left Washington Wildfowl Park that my accident happened.

I can remember cycling down a small gravelled hill which I had done several times and the next thing I was aware of was that I was on the ground, without knowing how I had got there. I was immediately surrounded by the members of the group and I can recall holding on to my chin thinking how painful it was.

I found it difficult to focus, I could hear voices but at the time was unaware of who they belonged to.. The next thing I remember was Glenn assisting me and as I stood up felt very dazed and started to faint. Before I knew it Glenn had picked me up and carried me to Alex Duncan’s car which was, fortunately, parked up nearby at the Wildfowl park.

Whilst being carried to the car I managed to drip copious amounts of blood down Glenn’s back…  Which I still need to settle the cleaning bill for. On this particular ride and fortunately for me Alex had been advised to join the group at the Wildfowl park and cycle a slightly shorter route.

I believe that on that day it was through God’s provision that Alex was placed there to help me through a traumatic experience. Had it not been for Alex being able to take me straight to the hospital an ambulance would have been needed to take me there. Alex stayed with me and It was such a comfort for me to have her company and wonderful support throughout my ordeal.

During the journey I began to realise that my front teeth were chipped and one of my teeth had rotated back into my gum. I was finding it increasingly difficult to swallow and was becoming very uncomfortable.

Once at the hospital I was examined by the doctor, cleaned up and was given an X-ray to determine what my injuries were. After a lengthy wait I was informed that my jaw was not broken and that it would be advisable to see the dentist and I was discharged from the A and E department.

A phone call from the in-house dentist enabled me to be seen that night. After my dental treatment was completed the dentist noticed that my jaw was in his opinion not aligned correctly and wanted a second opinion. He arranged for me to be seen at Sunderland General Hospital.

Alex who had not left my side throughout my hospital visit and ordeal willingly took me to Sunderland. It was there after yet another visit to the X-ray department it was determined that my jaw was in fact broken in three places. It was arranged for me to have an emergency operation the next day. Again God had protected me and through his provision he had placed me in the wonderful care of the dentist and the nursing staff at Sunderland General Hospital.

After my operation my jaw was wired up and I began my recovery process. I was placed on a liquid diet which would last up to six to eight weeks. I found it incredibly difficult to move my mouth which restricted my talking but many people commented this did not stop me at all.

I was very battered and bruised with my jaw very swollen and my skin was a variation of colours as the healing process began. I looked like a combination of Shrek and Hannibal Lecter. I did not go out very much at first as I did not want to scare any young children. Over the coming weeks I was on a high dosage of pain killers and liquids to aid my recovery.

At times I was in pain but I felt so blessed that I was surrounded by such wonderful family and friends to support me through a difficult time. On one occasion you know who you are Peter Lawrence after seeing me for the first time greeted me with ‘Oh Jaws’ at my appearance. He then very kindly offered me some cake with my cup of tea. As I had to decline this lovely offer of delicious cake he then proceeded in great detail to describe what the cake tasted like….

Throughout my recovery I felt God’s hands placed on me and I know I was well looked after and I felt a sense of calm and peace within me.. Just before I had my last operation to have my wires removed a lovely lady called Ann Clark prayed with me for a successful operation.. I remember the words that ‘God wants to heal you and when that happens you will be so much stronger and I am so grateful for Ann’s wonderful prayers..

After several hospital and dental visits praise God I am almost fully recovered.  The sponsored cycle ride did take place raising £1,200 and on the day eight cyclists participated in the ride to which Amelia and I are so grateful. Amelia had a wonderful life changing experience in China and returned home safely with the other members of the team.

Our God is awesome and has helped to heal me by placing me in the care of so many wonderful people…

Someone once said to me Imagine a mountain and a railway track running around it encircling it until it reaches the summit. With each of us travelling on board the train, God is looking down on the mountain and knowing what lies ahead for each of us. Eventhough my journey has had some difficulties I know I have had god’s protection throughout. I do believe this experience has made me stronger both physically and spiritually.