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!

INTERNAL HURRICANES

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(Before I get started on this heavy blog… I will preface by saying I’m posting photos that are not even a little bit related to what I will be writing about below. However, these photos represent moments of pure Happiness in my life! … And, let’s face it, we all need to keep that happy place in the forefront of our minds at all times.)

Over the course of the past month I’ve pretty much been on a hiatus from life, work, writing, posting blogs, going out, and enjoying life.  For the first time in my spinal cord injury career I developed a severe case of Bronchitis.  As I’ve previously mentioned time and time again being physically paralyzed can pale in comparison to the secondary complications we face with spinal cord injury.  For example, pressure sores, respiratory infections, sepsis, urinary tract infections, etc. are just a few of the major culprits that can take many of us out for the count for weeks, and months on end.

Generally folks with spinal cord injury suffer from just a few secondary complications on a regular basis.  I have always been Princess and the Pee when it comes to severe skin issues with pressure sores and osteoporosis.  Knock on wood I have not suffered from many infections, respiratory issues, urinary tract infections, etc.  However, this past month I was surrounded by a myriad of sick individuals in my household, which finally did me in.  I started with a small cold that developed into bronchitis.

I have many spinal cord injury friends who suffer from upper respiratory infections all the time and I could always sympathize with what they were going through, but I could not empathize because I did not know what it felt like.  I do now!  The challenge with spinal cord injury, especially when you are a quadriplegic with paralyzed abdominal muscles and use your diaphragm to breathe, is that coughing, breathing, blowing your nose, etc. are tremendously challenging.  You don’t have the core strength to bring up all of that nasty phlegm that gets stuck inside your lungs.

So, when you’re stuck with mountains of dark green phlegm in your lungs you literally have to have someone push on your stomach, lean forward, and hack up what feels like all of your internal organs coming out at the same time.  It’s quite a process and extremely exhausting to cough to get the phlegm up & out.  There are, of course, machines that can help with this, but they can come at a pretty hefty price.

“Being an Aunt is the Best”

Continue reading

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

Caregiver Neglect and Abuse – The Legal Side – My Recent Story

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Over the years I have spoken with dozens and dozens of fellow quadriplegics who seem to share in the story of having their caregivers leave without notice, emotionally abuse them, physically abuse them, and so many other horrifying tales. If you know me or have read some of my blog posts you will know that I, too, have had more than my fair share of horrifying incidents with caregivers. This blog is not to recount what has happened to me, but rather shed some light on interesting facts I have discovered over the last month due to a recent caregiver leaving me with no notice, no phone call, no text, etc. I have learned some useful tidbits of information and also picked up on some tips & tricks for the hiring of future caregivers, which I hope will help some.

Six weeks ago I was on the hunt for a new live-in caregiver several days a week and after interviewing several my entire household agreed they liked this one particular lady. I don’t use caregiving agencies because they are too expensive and cannot cover the hours I generally need, so I usually look to care.com and Craigslist as so many other quads in my situation do as well.

I think my caregiver radar is broken, so I like to have other people’s opinions to help me choose my caregivers these days. She did really well, was pleasant, a fast learner, and told me repeatedly how much she loved working with me. I was thrilled as I thought perhaps, this time, just maybe we would find one who would stick around for a while.

Anyway, things were going swimmingly, in my opinion, and two weeks ago after one month of employment she simply did not show up the night she was supposed to come into work. She left all of her belongings at my house and we were all completely dumbfounded. I called her multiple times, texted her, but to no avail. Naturally, my first thought was that she was in some sort of accident and was in the hospital. I was worried. Normally, when caregivers leave they take their stuff (secretly I might add) and just don’t come back. When this happens I usually just let it go because I am in such a rush to find someone new that I don’t have time or energy to follow up.

This time seemed different. Continue reading

“SCI” SUPER MOM’S – An Endangered Species!

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A little over 10 years ago BBC produced a television mini-series called “Planet Earth.” They spent five years filming unique exotic environments, plants, and animals all over the world. There was one episode where the film crew spent months in subzero Himalayan temperatures trying to film the endangered snow leopard. After many failed attempts they finally caught the snow leopard on camera for the first time. These leopards are so unique and not many exist, that we know of, in the world today.

An “SCI” (Spinal Cord Injury) Mom is an endangered species of human being, like that of the snow leopard, that are far and few between throughout the world. In general, the bond between a mother and child is so unique and unbreakable. When a child has a severe injury, such as breaking their neck, a mom goes into protection mode in order to provide the safest, best, and happiest environment for their child. However, not all moms are cut out to be SCI moms.

An SCI mom goes above and beyond, dedicates her life to her child, puts their needs above their own life, and puts up with more heartache than perhaps even the child going through the injury themselves. Generally a child starts fleeing the nest in their 20’s, starts their own life, and the parents move on to other adventures in their life because while their job is never done, the daily nitty-gritty caring aspect for their child is complete. With a spinal cord injury the reverse happens.

   

A dedicated and loving family member puts their life on hold once again to care for their injured child as if they were a baby, but it never ends. Continue reading

Lessons Learned after First Vacation in 7 years

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I took my first adventure vacation after 7 years over the last three weeks to my old stomping grounds in Miami to visit friends, family, and just generally embark on a mission to play. I had not taken a vacation for years as I was dealing with one medical disaster after another year after year. To be honest, I had forgotten what it was like to have fun for more than a few hours on the weekend.

I planned this trip last year, but due to caregiving challenges the trip kept getting postponed and postponed. I started to lose hope that I would ever take this trip when I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for it in September. I was slightly anxious because I did not know how things would go with respect to sleeping on a new mattress, running into further medical issues away from home, planning who would go down with me to take care of me, how my body would handle being up for more than 12 hours a day, the list goes on and on.

I worked myself up into a frenzy four weeks before the trip and to top it off I ran into further caregiving issues, which left me with my mom and boyfriend to accompany me down to paradise. I was unsure how the dynamics of my mom & boyfriend taking care of me would work as it was the first time in seven years I would not be taking a caregiver with me. To top it off, while my mom is the most young & fit 71-year-old I know, I was concerned it may be too much for her. The list of anxieties that ran through my head prior to the trip was overwhelming. Most people go on a vacation to unwind, but prior to my trip I just could not see how I was going to do this.

I had not realized over the last seven years how much anxiety and fear had built up within me on a daily basis with respect to thinking about 1,000 things that could go wrong being paralyzed on a daily basis. Many of my other quadriplegic friends deal with similar struggles as I do, but many of them seem to just go with the flow. My body is particularly sensitive with respect to pressure sores, broken bones, etc. that had literally forgotten how to unwind. I am generally so focused on surviving life that I forget to live it sometimes.

Day 2 in South Beach… Soaking in the reality of where we were

When I arrived in Miami it took me several days to kick back and start enjoying life.

Continue reading

SUICIDE … The Forbidden Topic … My Dark Side

Suicide, especially in the United States, is a topic of conversation frowned upon for those who cannot fathom what it is like to be in such extreme emotional or physical pain. Regardless of disability there are times in life for many folks where life simply does not seem to be worth living for a multitude of reasons. It can be challenging for people who are happy with their life to understand how anyone would want to end theirs because life has so much to offer in their view. To this I respond, unless you have been down that deep dark road of complete and utter desperation it can be very challenging to relate to a suicidal person’s state of mind.

I, too, used to share the mind frame of not understanding why anyone would want to end their life. I have always been the type of girl who is ridiculously positive, finds humor in life despite challenging situations, and pushes myself out of any kind of funk I might have in a relatively short period of time.

Don’t misunderstand me, I had always understood that deep depressions, anxiety, disabilities, etc. could lead people down dark roads, but believed that anyone could come back from the dark side with help. In my opinion, this may or may not be true now. I do believe everyone has the right to choose if they want to end their life or not. There are so many wonderful things in life to live for, but when one is in a state of complete hopelessness it can be challenging to come back from this without help.

When I broke my neck in 2010 I was one of the fortunate ones to never go through a major depression, constantly push forward, have an incredibly supportive family, the resources to continue to live my life, and work. Many folks are not as fortunate to have a situation like this. Throughout years of medical hell, intense chronic pain, and countless other complications I still managed to laugh, build a life after the initial trauma, and continue forward. I wasn’t happy, per say, for many years, but I managed to make the best out of an awful situation.

Life came to a screeching halt for me three years after my accident when I moved to China for spinal surgery. I could not have possibly prepared for what happened next to me over the course six months in 2013. In the beginning of 2013 we discovered I had a massive cyst in my spinal cord. We decided to move to China to undergo second major spinal surgery with some world-class Chinese Surgeons.

“After Surgery”

After surgery I developed excruciating chronic pain at the site of the injury on my neck in addition to my already burning chronic pain of pins and needles due to nerve damage from the injury that so many Spinal Cord Injury folks suffer from too. Four weeks after surgery my physical therapists put me up in a walking frame in my neck brace in order to get me moving. Within 10 seconds of being in the standing frame (unbeknownst to me at the time my osteoporosis had deteriorated severely) I heard a large crack in my kneecap, and my nerve pain when shooting to a level that was off the charts.

Video of me in the standing frame 10 seconds for my injury: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvxxVDzaBvk&feature=youtube_gdata

To make a long story short I had just underwent spinal surgery, developed severe acute and then chronic pain in my neck making it challenging for me to even sit up, and my femur (knee cap) + shinbone cracked straight through. I was bed bound and mentally alone in China for many months to follow. The Chinese neglected to tell me my leg was broken and it was not put in a cast to top it off (very long story). I couldn’t move, my blood pressure was through the roof for months, my nerve pain was higher than I could even put in words, I could not move my neck left or right, I was sweating profusely above my level of injury, and I literally could not move.

There were no immediate solutions to help me except wait. I was crying all the time, I could not breathe very well, I had radiating pain through every fiber of my being, I couldn’t think coherently, I could barely form a sentence without my voice shaking because the pain was unbearable, my entire support system was back in the United States except for my parents, and I certainly could not think how I was going to survive from hour to hour.

“Life Ebbs & Flows”

I definitely have an A type of personality, like to think critically, pride myself on working hard, thinking hard, and finding solutions to problems. This was the first time in my life I literally felt paralyzed, not just in my body, which I had become accustomed to, but in my mind. I could not fathom a worse form of torture for myself than what I was going through — mental parallelization. Continue reading

Friendships – Navigating the Waters after Spinal Cord Injury

This is a very tricky topic of conversation to navigate as friends, family and caregivers read what I write, but I will give it a go as to my personal experience over the last seven years. Naturally, after a major traumatic incident, whether you are the one injured or a friend/family of an injured one, people can react quite differently to a disaster.

With respect to loved ones and friends, they can either be super supportive or seem to do a 180° turn around to leave you seemingly high and dry. A traumatic event can really show you who your friends are, but at the same time can create quite a lot of animosity, and frustration for many that are injured. Often times you can feel abandoned or forgotten about. I think what is not discussed is how a traumatic event can also affect those around you. Some people can handle it with elegance and grace, and some people can feel just as traumatized as a person who is injured.  Feelings can get hurt, emotions can run high, and relationships can be pushed to the brink.

To add to that, when you break your neck it can seem as though people are abandoning you after the initial acute phase of the injury. While there are definitely some friends and family out there who are not up for the task of handling life after disability, I don’t think it should be discounted that friends and family also have lives, get married, fall in love, start their own families, etc. This can be challenging because, from my personal experience, it can feel like everyone else is moving on and you are stuck in the same spot … sometimes for years on end.

I am the type of person who is organizer. I usually always call friends to hang out, and while we have a great time when we do so, the sentiment is not always reciprocated. Sometimes you want people to reach out to you.  Sure this can hurt and feel lonely, but, as mentioned above, people also have their own lives. Spinal cord injury can take up your entire universe and it is only natural to want to have people around you at all time to share the challenges with you. I think if you have even two people in your life who are there for you then you are doing pretty well regardless of a disability.

 

Sisterly Love is Forever

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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!