It's been almost 10 years since a bike ride changed an East Texas man's life forever. Terry Howlett was hit by a truck while he was riding on Texas Highway 64 West, not far from Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.

Howlett suffered severe injuries that day. He went into shock after getting hit by a truck going 50 miles per hour.

It was a long road to recovery, fueled with encouragement so he could get back to an athletic lifestyle.

"My wife arrived right before they put me on the helicopter out on 64 West and she prayed for me, and I knew I would live then," Howlett said.

But Howlett had no idea how excruciating rehabilitation would be in the coming months but he fought for his life.

"I lost about 40 percent of my body blood volume over a couple of days," he said.

He sustained compound fractures to his left arm, ankle and leg and endured several surgeries.

"This was the worst part right here," he said, pointing to his leg. "I have a lot of titanium in here. It took two years for the femur to finally connect at the worst part."

During his six weeks in the hospital, there were moments Terry wasn't sure he'd be active again, let alone walk.

"I had to go 12 days of hyperbaric chamber treatment," Howlett said. "They would put me in this tube for 90 minutes at a time, but it helped to save my leg and arm and I am very thankful for that."

Howlett moved out of physical therapy and into East Texas Medical Center's Olympic Center.

"One of my favorite things I am doing right now is the spinner class," he said. "It's a class and you are in a big circle and you have a leader and there is music and it just encouragement of the group therapy together."

Howlett believes encouragement was a powerful part of his healing process. He credits much of his success to ETMC's doctors, nurses, therapists, family and friends.

"I don't think there is anything I can't do now and probably better than I was before," he said.

Howlett also believes being in good shape before the accident helped equip him. He now flies with the Civil Air Patrol and will occasionally ride his bike, but only in a group.

He was recently featured in ETMC Olympic Center's "Fitness Focus" as a motivational member. It recognized his will and drive to live an active lifestyle, inspiring others to do the same.

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