STANTON, MICH. - Deputy Mike Kotenko is back to work.
"I took a deep breath and I turned the door knob out here and I walked in and it felt great," Kotenko said.
He remembered his stomping grounds as a 16 -ear veteran of the Montcalm County Sheriff's Department.
"It's an amazing feeling to walk back in and be doing it, and I can't wait to get out on the street," Kotenko said. He's doing more of the backend side of things until he's ready to hit the streets.
"Take a nap everyday when I get home; it's going to take a little while to adjust but we'll get there," Kotenko said.
He is adjusting from a night when his life changed.
"I remember the whole thing," Kotenko said. "I was shot while serving a felony warrant up in Lakeview, with a crossbow."
After repeated unsuccessful efforts to get the suspect to drop his weapon, a state police officer shot and killed the man.
"I screamed out in pain and began to back up and tripped over the threshold in the entry door and fell laying partially in the entry way of the trailer and on the front porch," Kotenko said.
He thought his life was over.
"My trainee, Deputy Wierda was trying to comfort me and hold me in a comfortable position and I remember not being able to breathe and tasting blood in the back of my mouth and fearing that I was going to die," Kotenko said.
An image of his daughter forced him to keep going.
"Trying to focus on her and trying to stay alive," Kotenko said. "She's my world, she's everything and I wasn't ready to not see her grow up and not be able to walk her down the aisle."
He knew it was serious. But his will to live was stronger.
"It's a surreal feeling to look down and see an arrow sticking out of your side," Kotenko said.
"The arrow struck between my seventh and eighth rib so right underneath my armpit. I lost a little bit of my lung and it missed my heart by millimeters and nicked my spine," Kotenko said. "I love my job and I didn't want my career to end because of what happened that night. I want my career to end on my terms."
So he's taking things slow and taking every day in stride.
"I shouldn't be here but I am, and I'm sure grateful everyday," Kotenko said. "It's a miracle--it's just a miracle."
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