Up from the pavement 5 years later: Former Ahwatukee psychologist tells her story of survival - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Up from the pavement 5 years later: Former Ahwatukee psychologist tells her story of survival

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Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 5:51 am | Updated: 12:28 pm, Sat Oct 12, 2013.

Each year during the month of July Dr. Marlo Archer and her husband pass out baskets with an assortment of gifts to people who were there during her motorcycle accident.

This year marks the five-year anniversary since Archer’s accident, which nearly killed her on July 21, 2008.

The Archers pass out the baskets to show the appreciation they have for the people who gave a helping hand when it was needed most.

Archer said she’s extremely grateful that all the pieces were in place, so every year on the anniversary of the accident the Archers express gratitude by visiting each facility that helped save her life.

While Archer was driving her Harley Davidson home from work, a Buick darted in front of her leaving her no choice but to smash into the vehicle. 

The incident left her body mangled. She suffered from a broken foot and elbow, a smashed pelvis and other injuries to her body.

Good Samaritans that day helped by calling emergency contact and applying pressure to her bleeding leg, giving Archer a fighting chance to be rushed to the hospital to seek medical attention.

Archer went through an immense amount of surgical procedures, spanning through 14 hours and being in the Intensive Care Unit for nine days, while doctors were unsure of her chances of surviving.

“They were telling my family to not get too hopeful because they were still unsure on what was going to happen,” Archer said. 

After being released from the hospital, Archer was sent to a nursing home for four months to be given treatment.

 

Turning point

She was then sent home to be given in-home occupational therapy and went through two years of physical therapy at Spooner Physical Therapy in Ahwatukee.

The physical therapy would consist of a 20-minute warm up to see how much her body could tolerate, Archer said.

“They would tailor specific exercises for me to do because I had a lot of nerve, muscle and tendon damage on three of my limbs and whole core,” Archer said. “After doing a certain exercise I would find that I gained movement that I hadn’t been able to do previously. Nerves and muscles that weren’t working began working.”

Given the state of physical and mental trauma that Archer suffered, it’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting to throw in the towel and give up.

It was with the help of her family, friends and spiritual beliefs that aided Archer to recover from her accident.

What’s more amazing is her body appears to look as if it wasn’t in an accident at all.

Her body has been able to regenerate back to functioning normality allowing her to participate in marathon runs and 5K relays.

“I found myself thinking that anyone who doesn’t have a lot of friends, family and doesn’t have a firm belief in spirituality, I don’t know how they could make it through something like that,” Archer said. “I had my friends and families, my spiritual beliefs, sense of humor and my background in therapy to get me through.”

While in the hospital Archer began blogging about her experience and what was occurring during her time in the hospital, which allowed her to write about her experience in her book, “Up From the Pavement: Triumph over Grief and Trauma through Medicine, Miracles, Love and Faith.”

Her book is available at www.lulu.com and www.UpFromThePavement.com.

The book ended up writing itself when she was introduced by her sister-in-law to a website called caringbridge.org, Archer said.

The website is designed to let family members who have loved ones admitted into the hospital to post the status of their health for friends and family to see.

Archer began to use her phone to update what was going on each day on caringbridge.org, and with the mixture of her good sense of humor and hospital narcotics, it made the most uncomfortable situation turn into comedic relief. 

She also would try to focus on the positive rather than concentrate on the horrible circumstances she was dealing with.

Nowadays Archer spends her time working as a psychologist at her home office in Tempe, before she had offices in Ahwatukee and Tempe, where she made an office to be able to practice from while she was still recovering from the accident. 

Her husband, Jon, assists her with daily clients that come in and out of the office, and both are pleased that the commute to work is a hallway away.

Archer explained she is dying to get back on the horse and ride motorcycles again, but promised her husband that she’ll stay clear from them until he is long gone.

“I was raised in a motorcycling family and you get back on the horse, so my dad’s side of the family is wondering why I’m not riding. I would actually like to, but if it wouldn’t make my husband sick to his stomach I would do it,” Archer said. “That man stood by me while I had a bag of poop coming out of my belly, and any guy who stands up for that gets a few request.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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