I will start out by saying that this article is from a truly authentic perspective, raw, and may be challenging for some to read. However, despite my dark humor and quirky positive outlook on life there are some aspects of living with a disability that are just challenging. Plain and simple. I wish everything ended with unicorns and rainbows, but at the end of the day no matter what you may be dealing with there are ways to cope with all situations. I promise I do have 2 great pieces of advice I work on every day at the end of this article!
Secondly, this is not article is not about romantic relationships. This is a post about ALL relationships, with parents, loved ones, spouses, caregivers, or anyone who helps assist many of us with disabilities who are completely dependent on others.read more…
It was a true honor and pleasure to be the keynote speaker for Disability:In North Carolina this past month for their Wellness@Work to chat about the importance of health and wellness. Health and wellness for yourself, your corporation, and how to bring your best authentic self to work and in life.
It is my greatest hope that there are lessons we can each take out of this in our own lives and in a professional capacity!
Whenever we experience trauma or go through an extremely challenging time in our lives we often remember the bad. We remember the ugly. We don’t remember little moments of hope because our brains are wired generally catastrophize experiences. Just think about the mainstream media, are you happier when you read it at the end of the day?
Don’t you feel like most news reports focus on the doom and gloom of what’s going on around the world? How many “Good Feeling” stories do you read in a day? I’m guessing not many. I’ll never forget during Covid there was this mini-series called “Some Good News” hosted by the American Actor and Filmmaker John Krasinksi. It was genius. It made you laugh and feel hope in the face of a global lock-down. I digress.
The same can really be said for our lives. In 2016 I spent an entire year in bed with multiple surgeries from a pressure sore on my backside down to my bone. It was painful, it was lonely, it was depressing, and it was a very arduous and long road to recovery. Months on end of not being able to see more than four walls and a window.
It was such a tremendous honor to host a webinar with a dear friend Karen Roy, Numotion Ambasador, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, fierce advocate, and Ms. Wheelchair America 2019.
With Help Hope Live organizing this amazing event, we both spoke about navigating the health insurance appeals and approvals process from very different perspectives. From the patient perspective and from the provider perspective. So many tips and tricks and personal experiences we have both encountered over our decades of advocacy experience.
You don’t want to miss this talk!
So thankful to Diane Wilson, investigative reporter with ABC11 WTVD-TV and an incredible human being coming over to shoot a video segment for the news on the damage incurred with my power wheelchair when coming back from my trip to Costa Rica with Delta airlines
A piece of beautiful advocacy and a call for change. will be heading to Washington DC with hundreds of other wheelchair Advocates with United Spinal Association on June 18th for Roll on Capitol Hill to push for amendments to the Air Carrier Access Act.
It is an incredible passion of mine to consistently push for change for inclusion in our society. There countless wheelchair users I know who are afraid to fly due to consistent airline damage. this has to change!
It will change with the help of thousands of us continuing to put pressure on amending laws.
Planning a trip can be exhausting for anyone, but for a wheelchair user there are many intricate elements to consider to ensure you have an enjoyable trip. One of the top issues to consider is the safety of your wheelchair with major commercial airlines.
Additionally, one also needs to consider medical supplies, durable medical equipment, different types of backup wheelchair cushions, arranging travel for caregivers, and much more.
With proper planning, research, and time, any wheelchair user should be rest assured you can have a magical trip. You just need to stay a few steps ahead of the game by pre-planning your travels.
(Thank you Wheel the World for such an incredible travel experience in allowing me to write such an important article help others in wheelchairs plan a safe and dream destination trip!)
If you are a poker player and you are down on your luck, it’s best to cash out. Unfortunately, life is not always so black-and-white. Life is messy, complicated, emotional, and defies reasonable logic at times in your own mind. When I think about what props one up in life I think of a pyramid.
You have your physical health, mental health, and financial health. They can all get muddled together, but when two of the pillars start to crumble life can get very tricky trying to balance on a one-sided pyramid – essentially trying to balance on a pogo stick.
I don’t know one person on this planet who has not suffered from depression or anxiety (even if it’s seasonal) at some point in their life. I try to be as authentic as possible and showcase what I go through in the hopes that others may be able to relate, gain clarity in their own situations, or just know that they are not alone. Leaving my physical disability aside with all the accompanying secondary medical complications for moment …read more…
Flying on a Commercial Airline as a C6 quadriplegic paralyzed from the chest down —
I wish I could sugarcoat this for this for wheelchair users out there who have significant mobility impairments, but I struggle to. Traveling in a wheelchair is no joke.
It takes a lot of preparation, a dark sense of humor, the ability to go with the flow, and most importantly, being able to vocalize exactly how you want to be handled.
Having a team is great and so important because most commercial airline attendants and ground staff do not know how to work with so many of us with different disabilities. I do believe it is on us use our words to tell people how we need to be handled.
Now, I’m not specifically talking about our wheelchairs, which is a completely different legislative matter. Am talking about us. Our human bodies. No two disabilities are like, but I wanted to share with you my experience transferring and moving from wheelchair to plane chair as a C6 quadriplegic paralyzed from the chest down from a spinal cord injury in 2010.
Honestly, it is undignified and it can be very embarrassing for many. I have a very dark sense of humor, so I go with the flow, but I appreciate this is no joke to thousands of us. You have dozens of people staring at you as you go down these tiny aisles. If you are overweight you are in a lot of trouble being able to squeeze down the aisles or fit into the airline chair. We need airline reform than many of us are working on this.
In the meantime, thought I would give you a sneak the behind the scenes of my recent flight to Costa Rica in April 2023.
Check out behind-the-scenes footage of accessible SCUBA diving on my incredible trip to Costa Rica with Wheel the World and Il Viaggio accessible travel company. I I had only ever seen photos of folks in wheelchairs SCUBA diving, but not what was really involved with getting a quadriplegic SCUBA diving under the sea.
Well, I created a video for you and those interested in re-creating this trip or interested accessible SCUBA diving wherever that may be in the world.