A Change in Life Perspective – My Personal Metamorphosis

 

First off, Happy New Year to you! 

 

Coming into the New Year I thought it only fitting to discuss the concept of perspective.  I was asked by a fellow reader if I could touch upon the topic of how my mental perspective has changed over the last eight years since breaking my neck as opposed to just how my physical life has changed with being paralyzed.  I will start off by saying my life perspective has changed drastically and I can’t be entirely sure if this is due to my accident or the fact that I’m also getting older.  I suspect it is probably a little bit of both.

In general a change in perspective in life is quite gradual in my opinion, takes many years, and is usually preceded by many hardships along the way, which affect one’s opinions on many topics.  When I broke my neck my world got turned upside down, which violently shifted my perspective on a lot of things in life very quickly, but more from a physical standpoint.  I was so engulfed in trying to figure out how to live a life with a body 80% paralyzed that I didn’t have the presence of mind to think about how my mental health was going to change.

For the most part my perspective change has been for the positive, but there have definitely been some dark changes that I would be amiss not to dive into as well in light of always being open with my writing, and my life even though I run the risk of exposing myself further 😉

The old saying “we only have one life to live,” no matter how cliché it may be, means more to me now than it did prior to my accident merely due to the fact that I suffered a life altering event.  I see so many folks who live simple (and I don’t mean that in a bad way), but happy lives, and go about their business not realizing how easily life can change on a dime.  While it is easy to say that we will change our lives when something drastic happens – it is a lot easier said than done to take actionable steps each day to change.  However, these small steps are not only key, but they can take very long time to see the effects of as they require determination, and will over a long period of time.

For example, take those who have suffered from a heart attack.  Many of these folks take drastic actionable steps to change their lives because they have teetered near the brink of death, which made them realize they need to change something.  However, there are also equally those folks who have every intention of changing their life after such a traumatic event, but end up going back to eating hamburgers several years later.  Physical change and mental change not only take time, but a persistent effort to keep them going.

In ancient Stoic philosophy the following little reminder sums up the three essential parts of this philosophy worth carrying with you every day into every decision:

Control your perceptions

Direct your actions properly

Willingly accept what’s outside your control

Before you can take any action, accept what is and what is not in your control, you need to control your perceptions.  Let me give you an example.  Take people with a terminal disease.  Many of them have the most incredible outlooks on life and are extremely positive despite the fact that they know they are going to die.  They’ve taken a very long and arduous journey within themselves to change their perception and perspectives on life, which I know cannot be easy.

On the flip-side take a very high powered professional who has a very demanding job, high stress levels, eats horribly, is unable to make time for important things in life such as family, etc. Someone in this situation has trouble seeing the trees beyond the forest.  Many of them only see day-to-day, making money, providing for the family, but lose perspective on the fact that they are not going to be able to take their work with them when they die.  I hate to say it, but it usually takes some sort of disaster, trauma, or life crisis to shock many of us into realizing that something needs to change in our lives to reduce stress levels, increase our happiness, and appreciate the little things in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of folks who have not had any traumatic incidents in their life and they are very appreciative of everything they have every day.  However, many of them still suffer from extreme levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.  All of these mental states of distress are just as serious as a physical injury as they can cause physical ailments down the road, destroy relationships, and so much more.

Before I get into how my perspective has changed over the last 8 years I want to tell you about Dr. Frederick Cook.  Dr. Frederick Cook was an American explorer who was famous for having reached the North Pole in 1908.  To make a long story short his ship and his crew became stuck in the Arctic facing 68 days of consecutive darkness and freezing cold temperatures.  They were stuck at the beginning of winter in the Arctic and faced the most likely circumstance of death.  However, Dr. Cook, in his journal, noted that he never lost hope about surviving in the harsh physical environment.  He did not know the emotional challenge awaiting him and his men. His men started to lose hope and gradually grew more apathetic, and pessimistic, but Dr. Cook held his men together.

How did he do this?  He appealed to their internal mental sense of survival, hope, perseverance, and camaraderie.  He actually resorted to direct exposure to an open fire as his primary method of treatment, not for the warmth, but for the spirit of his crew as sunlight directly influences the control of our emotional brains.  The point of the story is that Dr. Cook changed his perspective on survival.  If you merely tried to keep the crew alive and warm, but did not appeal to their mental will to survive I don’t think any of them would have made it out of there alive.

It’s incredible what we as human beings can achieve with a simple change in mental perspective in our lives.  

My Personal Perspective Changes

My metamorphosis and how I think now as to how I approach life today certainly did not happen overnight.  When I was first injured it felt like I was always trying to push wet string.  I think I was trying to fight being paralyzed, not so much in that I was trying to walk again, but rather that I was always trying to be the best at being paralyzed.  I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning every day exercise like a crazy person, try and push my professional life to the brink of sheer exhaustion, fight my nerve pain I suffer from every day that feels like pins and needles burning through every cell of my body at every moment of the day, be stronger and faster than fellow quadriplegics, and try to get over the trauma of my accident as quickly as possible, so I could get on with living my life.

What I didn’t realize was that I was looking towards the future every single day and completely forgetting about the present.  I literally felt like I woke up five years later with nothing to show other than being completely physically and mentally exhausted on a daily basis.  I was never negative, but I was dead inside.  I had not achieved what I wanted to in my professional life as I thought if I could just make enough money or ensure that I could beat every medical challenge I came in contact with I would find happiness.  I did not find happiness nor could I change certain aspects of my life such as having super sensitive skin that prevents me from going on wild adventures that so many other quadriplegics I would read about got to participate in.

The Pursuit of Happiness is a double edge sword in my opinion.  We spend so much time trying to be happy that we never consider are we happy enough?  This brings me back to one of the Stoic principles of accepting what is out of our control and creating a world of contentment within the boundaries of what our lives have to offer.  I could not accept what I could not control … I kept trying to control everything that was out of my control, and I did not focus on the absolutely essential part of finding that balance in life — My mental health.

All of the photos below are people who have contributed to the improvement of my mental health… So for that, thank you!

 

Gradually over the years I started to realize that I simply could not control everything despite my best efforts.  I’m not saying I’ve reached a Zen level of happiness in life, but I certainly have taken gradual steps each and every day to realize what is actually important to me.  When I push so hard all the time I find myself slipping back into periods of darkness.

I’ve come to realize, again even though it may be cliché, it is the small things in life that make the biggest difference.  When I was stuck in bed for almost a year with a pressure sore and all I could look at was my four walls I never realized how important little things like going out to dinner with my loved ones was, taking a stroll in the park, appreciating conversations that make me laugh, etc.

Certain things in life are just not as important to me as they used to be, which makes me so much happier.  For example, physical things.  I simply just don’t care about material objects like I use to.  I certainly can’t take them with me when I die and I find that getting back to the concept of simplicity in life other than things that I need that are necessary such as my wheelchair, my computer, my voice dictating program :-), is essential for my mental well-being.

Another perspective change for me that has helped me leaps and bounds is how I approach chronic pain.  Despite living in intense chronic pain complaining about it certainly doesn’t make it better, it actually makes it worse, and I’ve learned to create a separate persona for my pain where sometimes she gets the day and sometimes I get the day.  When she wants to scream and cry like a little girl because the pain is too intense I humbly accept that she needs the day more than I do.  So, I’ll down tools so to speak, get in bed early, relax, meditate or watch a TV show, and simply let her have her moment.  I used to fight my pain and try and push through it, but a simple change in the way I approach pain from a mental standpoint has allowed me to live more comfortably, and without pain meds.  I used to try everything from acupuncture to massage to medication, but to no avail.  It wasn’t until I decided to change the way I look at my own pain that things started to change for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I still live in chronic pain every day, but keeping myself distracted and really listening to what I need on a particular day has helped tremendously.

Change, whether that be physical or mental, is a choice based on one’s perception of reality.  Many people think they are stuck with this ailment or that ailment, in this situation of that situation, which may be physically true, but the way in which they approach it from a metaphysical, emotional, spiritual, and mental standpoint is a choice.  You can choose to be miserable or you can choose to take small steps to change the way you approach this misery.  Now, I’m not speaking of those who have physical chemical imbalances that very well may need professional help, but I’m speaking more to those who constantly think their life is out of their control.

I’m not perfect and there are still certain mental aspects that still throw me into fits of anxiety and cause me to feel wildly overwhelmed at times.  For example, caregivers is such a topic for me.  I have been through so many and have had so many traumatic experiences over the years that my mind has just not yet wrapped itself around the concept of letting life happen because I’m currently trying to control other people.  When a caregiver does something traumatic to me I have learned to not get as upset, but it definitely has dampened my view on human kindness to some extent.

I still get bewildered at the fact that some of these folks who take care of me can treat human beings in such a manner like leaving a quadriplegic without notice.  I want to say it baffles me, but, again, it speaks back to one of the Stoic principles of accepting what you cannot control.  I have to accept that there are some horribly inconsiderate people in life. I do very much appreciate that I also have people in my life that love me and will not let anything bad happen, which so many people do not have in my situation.  Therefore, I’m constantly working on trying to go with the flow and accept what is not in my control.

Another aspect of a change in perspective I have experienced has been what I am physically capable of.  For so many years and to this day I always feel like I am missing out on being able to travel, explore the world, and go on adventures.  However, due to many of my physical limitations I can no longer go zip lining in the rain forest even though I know there are certain handicap accessible places in the world you can do this.

Why?  Well, I am one of those quadriplegics who suffer from extreme skin sensitivity meaning that I get a pressure sore at the drop of a hat.  So, I’ve had to learn to accept that I need to change my definition of the concept of adventure.  An adventure can be as simple as going out to dinner with my fiancé, meeting a stranger who might affect my life in some unknown way, going on a cruise instead of taking a wild adventure in the rain forest, etc.  Every day I remind myself that it is important to learn to go with the flow, albeit this is much easier said than done 🙂

  

The list of things that I have changed my perspective on over the years could go on and on.  The last one I’ll mention here is death.  Prior to my accident, and I think this is probably normal for many folks in their 20’s, I never thought about death.  After my accident and multiple episodes of coding in the hospital I eventually became more comfortable with the idea of death.  After all there’s only one thing that is certain in life and that is that we have a terminal disease called death.  Perhaps it is due to my pursuit of studying ancient philosophy and learning to accept the unknown, but I am no longer terrified of it.

It’s hard to explain how I am comfortable with the concept especially for those folks who are not, but it’s a feeling deep down in my soul that starts with relinquishing control.  Control of what you might ask?  Everything!  While I’m not an expert at giving up control of how I plan my day, but I’ve found a kind of peace with this short life that we have to live.

What Do I Want Now in Life?

The ultimate question! I want peace, simplicity, and small joys.  I want to want nothing and graciously accept everything that comes my way.  Life is a precious gift and I’ve spent periods of my life where I didn’t want to live my life because the pain was too much, I couldn’t handle what was presented in front of me at the time, and I am intimately familiar with the feeling of wanting to end it all.  Upon reflection, I realize during these times of my life I had made no attempt to change my mental perspective on the way I saw anything.  I was a doer and a pusher, and while I still work hard every day I work just as hard on my mental happiness as I do to physically pushing myself.

There are many folks who have a spinal cord injury who push to be involved in say clinical trials to improve bladder function, bowel function, walking, etc.  I definitely respect their choice as I used to be one of those folks, but I’ve changed my tune over the years.  I simply want to spend time with those around me, find mental peace, and I don’t want to wake up in 10 years realizing that I’ve spent a decade of my life trying to get back a small amount of finger movement for example.  I respect those that want to push to improve their physical motor function, but my perspective has changed in that if I can find mental peace and happiness or at least being happy enough I’ll be able to live my life with contentment.

On a final amusing note, my tolerance for so many things in life has also changed dramatically.  For example, I tolerate ignorant people quite well 🙂 Since my patience has increased over the years because I am constantly around so many people in life it has allowed me to learn to handle complete a diverse group of challenging people with grace and elegance.  I simply smile, remove myself from situations that I find untenable as it usually increases my pain, roll away, and move on to whatever life has to offer me in the next moment of that day.  It really does take quite an incredible amount to get under my skin in any way shape or form these days!

Here’s to a mental perspective change in the New Year of 2019!

LOVE in a “DISABLED” World

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Last week I was on one of my spinal cord injury Facebook groups and I was reading a post where a gentleman was commenting on how he was in love, but he just felt so incredibly lucky that someone could love him with everything that comes along with dealing with spinal cord injury.

The endless comments that followed really resonated with me as folks told him stories about how they had been married for decades whether both the couples were injured themselves or whether they were with an able-bodied person.

This post really struck a chord as it got me thinking about the concept of love and what we as human beings can look past in order find the beauty within another individual.

Read the rest on Push Living Magazine: https://pushliving.com/love-in-a-disabled-world/?fbclid=IwAR1r3Cw3DfWrFQlRaP_GWIJ5JYiw-twhvBNUCWr8WIjCagasvJ8aEl-ZNK4

 

An Engagement to Remember

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… I was staring at a blank page while thinking how to write the perfect article on how I got engaged this past weekend. My mind kept wandering back to when I was first injured in 2010 laying in my ICU bed with tubes coming out of every orifice of my body, a neck brace immobilizing my head, and copious amounts of morphine coursing through my veins.

I distinctly remember several people huddled around me, thinking I was mostly unconscious, commenting on how devastated they felt that I would no longer be able to live a full life and likely not get married or find love. I know it was not meant to be hurtful as they were just intensely concerned for how my life would turn out, but I recall thinking at that exact moment the romantic part of my life was finished …

… The point of complete comfort, love, intimacy, and trust came for me when he saw everything I physically had to deal with on a daily basis. I always joke, but up until I met my fiancé I would never go out in public or let a man see me without mascara and eyeliner on … Seriously! One day I decided to not wear any makeup and he told me how utterly beautiful I looked, and that he actually preferred me without makeup. It was at that moment I knew I had a keeper; okay maybe there are a few other things that made me know he was a keeper, but that was definitely a big one for me …

Read the rest on Push Living Magazine: https://pushliving.com/an-engagement-to-remember/

 

 

 

Life’s Sacrifices & Choices with Spinal Cord Injury

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When we are growing up we are faced with all kinds of choices a consequences and as children that we are blissfully unaware of.  Do we want a cookie or a doughnut?  If we finish our vegetables then we get dessert; if we go to bed early than mommy will read us a bedtime story, etc.  At a young age we don’t really associate making a choice with sacrificing one thing for another either.  It’s only as we develop into young adults that many of us come to the realization that everything in life is a choice, sacrifice, or compromise.

Choices and compromises become exceedingly more complicated as we grow into adults.  If we want a family, then we have to save to have a baby; we can’t go on that family vacation because we are trying to save money to buy a house; if we keep eating donuts every day then we run the risk of becoming obese; the list goes on.

I was thinking about sacrifices and choices the other day as it relates to spinal cord injury, and more specifically, the compromises I have had to make and continue to make as a C6 quadriplegic.  As I was pondering some of these choices lately I was surprised at how many things I have had and will have to give up in my life.  I was having a challenging day, so of course this was a glass half empty point of view, but after waking up the next morning feeling more like myself I made a list of the things that I have gained, and given up over the last 8 years since my accident in 2010.

Living with spinal cord injury presents such a unique set of challenges that many folks, unless you are the one injured or know someone who is, may not think of on a daily basis.  I often play this game with myself because while I know that I am faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges at times, there is always someone who is dealing with A LOT more than I am.  This is not to say that we should go around comparing ourselves to other people, but I do find pausing on certain days to take stock of what you have in your life is a quality many of us lack.  This age-old saying may seem outdated and redundant, but I personally find that it rings true when the proverbial “ship hits the fan” in people’s lives … “You don’t know what you have, until you’ve lost it.”

Here are a few of my choices over the years: Continue reading

Let’s Talk about Sex Baby

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I mean really, who doesn’t love sex? I suppose it is one of those taboo topics that you don’t talk about at the dinner table like politics or money, but it is such a natural act – I’m not quite sure why we are so weary to talk about the subject publicly.

Before my accident I thoroughly enjoyed sex, exploring my sexuality, and engaging in as much sex as I could 🙂 Admittedly, I probably had sex too young, but as the saying goes “curiosity killed the cat,” “curiosity killed my virginity.” I was a young teenager and I simply had to know what all the fuss was about. I even let a guy convince me that I could not go to high school a virgin because I would be the odd man out. How gullible we are as young teenagers!

For several years I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about as I don’t think I was doing it quite right … Not that many teenagers, in my opinion, know how to enjoy sex anyway. I finally met a guy when I was living in the Bahamas one summer who was several years older than I was and he really taught me about the enjoyment of sex. I mean we literally had sex classes on a daily basis with respect to experimenting with what felt good to me, what felt good to him, trying different positions, oral sex, etc. It was also new and exciting to me, and by the time our lessons had completed at the end of the summer I felt like I had earned a degree in sexual pleasure … Probably not something most parents want to learn about their children as teenagers 😉

“Partying in my young 20’s with my sister”

Over the next 10 years before my accident I had multiple partners and I was not ashamed of it either. Naturally, I think I was called several “not so nice names” by women around me, but I simply didn’t care. I was a completely free spirit and enjoyed sex just as much as I did hiking in the wilderness. I wanted to keep a diary for the future of all of my “Sexcapades” because in my mind I thought one day I would always write a book about sex. At that time Chelsea Lately was one of my role models and she had a brilliant book called “One Night Stands.” While I did have some more thoughtful and influential mentors, she was definitely my sex mentor. I decided to keep a little black book with all of the men I had slept with over the years. Honestly, sometimes I couldn’t remember their names, but I remembered where I met them, what they were wearing, what they looked like, what we did, etc. I will spare you the hot and juicy details, but after my accident I completely forgot about this book.

When I broke my neck the concept of sex completely flew out the window for me. I considered myself “A sexual” at that time and figured sex was behind me, which did not make me very sad because I certainly had my fair share of fun for 27 years before my accident in 2010. However, years later amongst all of my things I found multiple pieces of paper stapled together with all of my sexual exploits in a box. I must admit I was laughing my ass off because I had forgotten about many of these gentlemen. I decided to take the time and type several pages of stapled paper into a digital black book of sorts. I still have it to this day and I think that is what probably prompted me to finally start dating five years after my accident. A funny inspiration, but my personal story none-the-less.

Post-Accident Sex Continue reading

New Zealand Wilderness Survival Trip (Part 2)

The Viking Adventure

As I wrote about in my previous blog our instructors did not let us know what adventure we would be partaking in until several hours before we headed out on an adventure. One of our first endeavors was taking a several day trip in these large wooden old-fashioned sailboats called Cutters.

Think of those old primitive wooden boats with giant oars that the Vikings used to row with. Well, somehow Outward Bound had constructed some of these boats with a very primitive sail. We packed up a minimal amount of gear and food into some dry bags, and were told to swim with our gear fully loaded to get out to the boat. I didn’t think this was a particularly brilliant idea because we were going to be soaking wet and freezing to start our adventure. I suppose this not only tested our physical endurance, but mental as well. We hoisted our shivering bodies into this old boat and listened to our instructors as they taught us how to navigate the waters in front of us. Fortunately I knew how to sail, so I was eager help my teammates learn how to how to a sail, understand wind direction, and navigate the oceans.

What we did not count on was no wind at all. We were not moving anywhere – we were simply drifting out to sea.  Continue reading

New Zealand Wilderness Survival Trip (Part 1)

After receiving a slew of emails regarding my last blog on my wilderness survival trip in Australia I was asked to write another blog on one of my many wild wilderness adventures. So, today I will diving into my Outward Bound wilderness survival trip in New Zealand in 2000. My recollection of this trip came back to me when one of my old teachers from high school sent me a 5 page email I sent him and the family after my voyage giving a detailed account of all of my adventures. It was wild to read something I had written 18 years ago. Quite frankly I was appalled at my grammar, lack of spelling, misuse of commas, and poor grasp of the English language. 🙂

Regardless, after reading the email it took me back to this trip like I was there yesterday. There was only one surviving photograph from my trip 18 years ago (see below) … The rest of the photos I found pretty similar photos from other folks who participated in this New Zealand Outward Bound Trip over the years.

“The 17-year-old “Ali” with a look of utter joy upon completion of the trip”

Growing up in Europe and then transferring to school in the United States I ended up graduating early from high school. I decided to take some time off before heading to Occidental College in Pasadena, Los Angeles. I decided to embark on a life-changing experience to Beijing, China. However, when I graduated I had several months to spare before heading over to Asia and I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with my summer. I had been on previous adventure trips in my early teens, but none of them really offered me a test of my endurance and will.

I rigorously started researching different outdoor survival programs and came across Outward Bound. Outward Bound was originally founded to help troubled teenagers using trips into the wilderness to teach them responsibility, leadership, accountability, etc. Initially I had hesitations as I did not consider myself conventionally troubled, but I really liked the idea of a challenge. I went on their website, but you must remember in 2000 websites were still quite primitive, so I did not have that much information to go on, but I signed up for a trip as far away as I could possibly go. New Zealand was the winner!

When I graduated high school I went back home to the Bahamas for several weeks to start training because I read that there was a physical fitness test one had to pass upon arriving in New Zealand. Every morning the Bahamas I would wake up at the crack of dawn, run several miles in 90° heat, stripped down to my bathing suit into the crystal-clear Bahamian waters and swim for hours, do an ungodly amount of sit ups, push-ups, and whatever else I could think of. I was 17 years old and the time had come to fly 27 hours to the other side of the world. I wasn’t quite sure what gear I had to pack, so I packed light, and I was told what I needed would be provided for me when I reached my destination. Continue reading

AUSTRALIAN WILDERNESS SURVIVAL ADVENTURE

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I’m often asked what keeps me going during those dark times, seemingly insurmountable challenges I constantly face with spinal cord injury, and how I remain determined to try and live a life that does not consume me with anger for everything I have been through. I must admit there are times when I do feel like giving up, but there’s something inside me that keeps telling me to push forward just a little bit more each day. I’m sure everyone who has dealt with tragedy in their life have their own coping techniques, but I attribute much of what I’ve accomplished to who I was before the accident.

You must remember I had 27 years of my life before I broke my neck and only 7 ½ years of being paralyzed. My parents raised me to always be curious, challenge the unknown, explore life beyond your comfort zone, and above all be kind to others. I was an extremely mischievous teenager, to say the least, but somehow I always managed to get myself out of uniquely perplexing situations before things went south. I like to think that I was “Responsibly Irresponsible.” I would plan out an adventure, write down all of the things that could possibly go wrong, how I would fix them, and then hope for the best.

To understand a little bit more about my nature I’d like to tell you a tale of one of my many adventures that would always bring me back to a path of serenity and focus when things were not going my way in life. I’ve always traveled around the world, much of it on my own, and I would find myself getting bogged down in life’s drama, people, the stresses of self-expectations I would constantly put on myself with respect to what I was hoping to accomplish by what age, etc. With this in mind, I started embarking on wilderness survival adventures around the world as a young teenager. As the years progressed I would find different wilderness adventure companies that challenged me physically, mentally, and really tested my strength of will in the wilderness for months on end.

At 23 years old I had just graduated from the University of Miami, could not find a job because, frankly, I was much too cocky for my own good, I started to get into drugs, and I just could not see a way out of life. Eventually, I made a decision to sign up for a very intense several month wilderness survival course in Western Australia, specifically the Kimberly Mountains.

On this trip I would be accompanied by 10 to 12 fellow hikers and one instructor. On these trips you learn to navigate the rough terrains of the Australian outback in degrees sweltering over 100° per day, carrying a 60-80lb pack on your back, hiking from water source to water source, sometimes killing your own food, navigating topographical maps with only a compass and no GPS, building leadership skills, and running into whatever dangers might be headed your way that day. I had already been on several wilderness adventures, but this was going to be by far the most challenging for me mentally and physically.

I purchased all of my necessary gear, did my research, and flew over 25 hours to reach my destination in Boone, Australia, which was located on the West Coast of the continent. I didn’t know what I was in for at that time, but I was eager to get my head on straight so I could find some clarity in life at 23 years old. I might’ve been having a midlife crisis of 23… Who knows 🙂 I arrived at a hostile the night before I was set to meet my team, and wrote in my journal about how I was feeling at that moment. I was feeling like a failure, low, curious as to how I was going to get my life going, I just broken up with a very serious boyfriend, and I had no idea where life was about to lead me.

 

Our Group on Day 1 before the Adventures Begin

I woke up bright and early at the crack of dawn the next morning, and met my team at the designated location at 6 AM in the morning. We went through a several hour orientation, were ordered to get rid of most of the things we had prepared to bring, and instructed to only pack what we were comfortable to carry for over eight hours a day. The packs normally ranged between 60 to 80lbs. There were, of course, a few items I stuck in my pack because I simply could not do without them. I was wearing contact lenses at the time, so I clearly needed to bring my contact solution, a little mirror, and antibacterial solution for my fingers. I refused to wear glasses … I don’t know why. I also snuck in a couple extra pairs of clean socks and underwear, and biodegradable baby wipes. We were supposed to dig holes in the wilderness when we had to use the bathroom and wipe our bums with leaves. I had done this on one of my prior wilderness survival trips, and let me tell you the amount of poison ivy I got in places where the sun does not shine was no joke! So, I stuck these little babies in when no one was looking 🙂 Continue reading

My Intimate Experience with a Paralyzed Guy BEFORE My Accident

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When I was strolling along the Art Deco streets of South Beach with my boyfriend this past month while on vacation in Miami I stumbled across one of my old stomping grounds … A beat up Irish pub called the Playwright where I would love to dance and get into trouble. I couldn’t resist popping in for memory sake when a flashback hit me of an experience I had with a gorgeous man in a wheelchair.

Beautiful South Beach

I must have been 24 years or so when I was out late one night and I spotted this beautiful man sitting at a table with his friends. I’ve always been the type of person to go up to random people and start talking to them. I walked over to the table, took a seat, and decided to strike up a conversation with the group. They happened to be from Australia and I have always been a sucker for Australian accents.

I was attracted to this one guy in particular and we started flirting. Continue reading

Welcome to the “Quirky Quad Diaries”

This blog and website has been a long time in the making. I created the Quirky Quad Diaries on my personal Facebook page over the last year and a half. Several months ago I realized I had over 80 pages of blogs written on Facebook, but they were lost to the news feed.

So, I got off my butt and decided to create a website & blog to share my stories. Now, you can browse my stories, blogs, and other sections of this website at your leisure in an organized manner.

I created the Quirky Quad Diaries to share stories of my life experiences before and after the accident, crazy adventures I have experienced, things I have been through, and so much more. Hopefully, and above all, I will make you laugh, but I may make you cry, shock you, and hopefully will be able to bring a little joy to some people’s lives 🙂

I will do my utmost to post a blog each week unless I am on some sort of crazy adventure.

I have created multiple sections for this blog, so please poke around and explore!

About Me

Blog

Pictures

Crazy Medical Stories

My Life

Get Involved

Magazine Articles

Please feel free to reach out to me as I love to help everyone and anyone in any way I can!