A scar across Rachel Staples’ brow is the only visible sign that the Oak Bay woman was struck by a driver and thrown from her bike just three months ago.
But the real damage can’t be seen from the outside. Her shattered scapula and screw-filled knee might cause her chronic pain for life, but Staples is still choosing to focus on the positive.
“I feel lucky that I’m up and walking,” she said. “There were things that surprised me. When they removed the fentanyl, the pain and the reality of what had happened was kind of more real. But I think I’m doing better than the doctors anticipated.”
|Rachel Staples and husband Brock Eurchuk requested a coroner's inquest into the 2018 overdose death of their son Elliot. Now Staples, a breast cancer survivor, is recovering after being struck by a driver while cycling to work in December. (Courtesy of Rachel Staples)|
Staples, a dentist with offices in Victoria and Colwood, is still recovering. After spending three weeks in the hospital she was able to access home care and now undergoes regular physio treatments and cognitive therapy sessions.
On Dec. 4, Staples was riding an electric bicycle to her Colwood practice when she was struck by a driver in the Galloping Goose trail crossing at Wale Road. She suffered more than 18 fractures, perforated lungs and broken ribs. Her nose was broken and there was several cuts to her face.
The scar on her forehead builds character, she says with a laugh. But so has the last five years. In 2017 Staples received treatment for breast cancer and in 2018, she and her husband Brock Eurchuk lost their 16-year-old son Elliot to an opioid overdose.
And since she was struck in December, the family has been dealt more blows. Brock has received a leukemia diagnosis, she said, and her son Oliver, 17, suffered a major injury to his jaw that requires several major surgeries.
“I feel blessed that Oliver is going to be OK,” she said. “And I think Brock will be OK in the long run too.”
The family’s struggles became public when they launched an inquest into Elliot’s death, asking for changes to health laws they believe might have helped to save their son.
Now Staples embraces the opportunity to share their adversity, and she is in the process of writing a memoir. The community’s support, she said, has been invaluable.
“I was overwhelmed with the support online,” she said. “Perfect strangers were reaching out and sending their blessings and prayers. Particularly in a time where you’re in a pandemic and you’re suffering your own pain, for them to make that effort…it’s so heartwarming.”