I'm Yigit Caner Aydin. If you read my story and my fight till the end and decide to change something in your life, or realize what you have; it means that I touched you. And at the turning point of my life, I will have kept my promise to myself, and I will also fulfil my mission.
When you see my name, follow the arrows I shoot and look at the photos I share on social media, you only know a little of me. I am saying you because I want to talk to you and I want to touch you. Now I'm here to tell my story.
I was born in 1992 in Trabzon, my father's first place of duty. The oldest image I remember in my life belongs to when I was 3; It was me, running after the chicks we put on the balcony when I came back to Istanbul.
I was a calm, good and, according to everyone, a smart boy. Enlightenment that I had already experienced at a very young age also revealed the way I struggled. When I was 5 years old, I suddenly stopped inside the house and said: "I can think, I can talk to myself, and I have a brain!" It was such enlightenment that whenever I tried to do something, I felt stuck; I would leave the physical endeavours of my work and say to myself, "First, solve this in your mind!"
As my curiosity grew, my interest in electronic things increased and then my interest in digital things increased. I was the one who solved problems, especially around friends and relatives, also repairing people's things.
When I came to high school, I started learning coding and software. Maybe that's what improved me most about problem-solving. A website that you write its code must respond to the error that even 1 out of 100 people will enter. You have an answer to everything you come across in life. You plan how to rejoice when you meet good things or how to handle a problem when you meet something bad. And you have all the answers.
In 2010, I graduated from Istanbul University, Department of Astronomy and Space Sciences. I started working in the computer lab at school. My goal in life was clear, establishing a technology company.
In 2013, I started working on a student social network project with my friend studying software engineering. He used to meet at his school because he was studying at a different university. I had a different entourage at his school. We even participated in social responsibility projects of the school and even provided some training for children living in disadvantaged cities.
There was a lot of hustle and bustle, the things I was trying to do and the school, I started to wonder if I was putting too much responsibility on myself in my 20s. I've always tried to do things that I've always enjoyed in life.
It was May 23rd. When I was going to meet my friend for the project we worked on, I started sweating on the top floor of the Beşiktaş bus I got on. And the "monotony" I had been thinking about for a long time started to overwhelm me. "I wish there was something that ends monotony."
While we were working together at school, I went out for a phone call and when I came back, my friend was asleep. Where I was sitting, someone else was sitting and he was asleep as well. Anyway, that trouble inside me was always trying to move me somewhere. I took my computer and went to the schoolyard. Each area of the garden had seating areas filled with cushions. For the first time, the yard was so crowded but only one place was empty. I approached and asked the boy sitting next to cushion:
- Excuse me, is this empty?
+ Of course, it is empty, come sit down.
While I was sitting, stretching my legs, holding my computer in my arms darkness came out. There was a humming in my brain, people were gathering towards me and there was a big white thing in front of me. My ears were hearing the sound of the sea in that darkness and a filmstrip was passing before my eyes. The filmstrip that people talk about when they mention death was right in front of my eyes. I didn't understand what had happened yet, and I wasn't even aware of anything, I saw a wheelchair. Within a few seconds, I was on a journey. My struggles, sidewalks, people's willingness to help, and the rest of my life...
A few drops of tears floated from my eyes which do not know crying well after childhood, and I started saying, "I feel like garbage."
A big booth fell over me. When I opened my eyes, my hands were closed, I could not move. I lost the feeling below my chest. But I came to myself with equanimity. The rest of my life depended on my actions there. I didn't bring anyone near me and the nurse came from the infirmary. He put on a neck collar and touched my legs. "Do you feel it?" he asked. No, I didn't feel it. She told me that it was a shock. But now I knew everything.
When I got in the ambulance, I told them to hold my head as the vehicle shakes because I didn't want to take any more damage. I was trying to keep everything under control because I was conscious. When they took us on a stretcher at the hospital we came to, it feels like all the responsibility for me was left and I said to myself: "I think the monotony is over now."
After the MR and CT scans, it was clear what exactly I had experienced. With the weight of the stand falling on my head, my 6th neck vertebra was broken and gave damage to my broken spinal cord. I was transferred to another hospital for surgery. My family, my relatives, my friends were there. It made me feel bad to see them all sad and worried. I lifted my arm with my last strength and said: "I'm fine, don't worry!"
The coldness that descended upon me and the feeling of sweet sleep was very peaceful. It was like death. But I'm only 21. I was going to see a lot of countries, a lot of things to do, even dozens of kids to see. I can’t die at this age, I should not upset my loved ones, and I have to fight! The nurse who carried the stretcher said the same: "Don't sleep!"
It was time for me to go into surgery, and I had my favourite shirt on that day. He started cutting my shirt. He asked me to cut my pants off. "No, you don't have to cut it, I'll wear it again when I get better," I said.
I couldn't breathe when I opened my eyes. Actually, I was, but with a respirator. It was the biggest pain I had ever felt. You can't even control your breathing and you can't talk. I wanted to raise my arms again, tried to make a sound and tried to say get it out. A few hours passed, I opened my eyes again and I started to ask questions like "Did you remove it, how many hours passed?" I had an 8-hour surgery, and they make me sleep for a couple of hours before taking my respirator. Luckily my surgery went well, my neck spine was fixed with screws and there was no more pressure on my spinal cord.
I was just watching the ceiling with a neck collar on my neck and I was the only patient who was conscious in the intensive care unit. The voice of dozens of people in the corridors of the ICU was always in my ears. I even gave my nurse my password and make him tweeted to let everyone know that I was fine because I couldn't see them all. It would be better if he didn't typo. :)
As the days went by, I kept questioning what I had experienced, what I had done and where I was in life by watching the ceiling. This incident was definitely not a coincidence. Maybe I had a mission on me. Because in this life, everyone had a mission, a message to other people and a purpose to survive. On one of those days, I asked myself the question that might change my life. After this incident, will people say that: "There was a Yiğit who was very young. He had an accident and now he can not do anything. It is unclear what will happen to us in life." And thank their lives or "There is a Yiğit who had experienced a lot of hardship and struggled so much in a very young age, but he succeeds lots of things!" and will they tread in my footsteps? That's where I made my decision. I made a promise to myself. We only have the chance to experience this life once. I will struggle to inspire people!
I had such enlightenment that it started to give me strength and motivation. We started physical therapy in the intensive care unit and I was struggling to move my fingers and legs with zero movements. It was like I was moving the world.
I was counting days to get out of intensive care. At the end of the 6th day, after the obstruction of the respiratory tract, I was taken from the intensive care unit and finally taken to the room. This was one of the biggest steps for me because I found out that the probability of survival was 20% before the surgery. I have already ensured a great victory.
I continued to win victories step by step. I felt that I gave the due to struggling with the removal of the neck collar and the removal of the staples on my neck. In fact, a cleaning worker told me that a patient like me had recovered in 6 months and started to walk. I started to question how long six months were and how time would pass. Because I had such a power in me that I would have run if they had let go. But the real confrontations began after that.
When I started taking physical therapy in the room, a physiotherapist said that he wanted to talk to me in private. He began to explain the process before beginning to receive treatment in the physical therapy department. He told me that the injury I had was a very high level, that I had come back from the dead, that it would be a miracle that I could even sit in a wheelchair. He said you're gonna start everything from scratch. First, you learn to turn around in bed, then you will able to sit down and then you will start eating yourself. I was dizzy even when I straightened my body. It was like my world collapses on me. I want to walk or even run as soon as possible, what does turning around in the bed mean?
But don't give up hope, he said, you're young, we know that you can. I questioned all these for days. Then my childhood came to my mind: "Leave everything aside and think. You solve everything in your mind." I said. In fact, he confronted me with something very right. Didn't everything in life come true step by step?
In one of the first days when 4 people carried me to the physical therapy with a chador, I noticed that I could move my left-hand index finger while I was moving towards the elevator with my eyes darkened. It was my hope. And the physiotherapist was right. It all started with a little step...
Then I started to be able to sit in a wheelchair, move it on my own and do many things step by step which was called a miracle. There were infections, fever and physical therapy sessions lasting for hours. I lost 33 pounds. The hospital had become our home, but it was time to return to real life.
At the end of 8 months, I got out of the hospital and after that, I started to go to the physical therapy centre. For years, a struggle had begun to give my body a single movement and not even to lose it. I've shuttled between home and physical therapy for more than 2 years. On one of those days, my father said that on the way home, he met an archer at the place where he worked and that he was on the national team and told me about his achievements. And he asked me this question:
"He said you could do archery too. Would you like to meet him?"