New YouTube episode out now – My dating life in a wheelchair as a C6 quadriplegic
Talking to you today about disability dating. Specifically, online dating tips I’ve used as a woman in a wheelchair and a C6 quadriplegic. Dating is challenging no matter who you are, but online dating is even more daunting – now online dating with a disability presents its own unique set of challenges! Several years ago before I got married I went on a giant dating experiment. I was facing a major surgery for a pressure sore I had and I had about five months to go before my 11th surgery.
I decided, quite truthfully, to just try and sleep with as many men as I could to explore my disability and sexuality. I probably should not be writing about this online or making a video, but this is my reality.
It took me 5 years to gain the courage to even start dating after my accident when I broke my neck in a shallow water diving accident in 2010 leaving me paralyzed from the chest down with limited hand mobility. Throughout my dating adventures I ran into all kinds of strange people, great people, and some guys who simply were curious about what it was like to sleep and/or date a woman in a wheelchair.
I have a very quirky sense of humor, so I created an Excel spreadsheet to monitor my success for online dating. I have been through it all. Hopefully some of what I have been through you will not experience, but I was on an experiment in the name of research! specifically, disability dating research! Even through my failures and successes I learned so much. Let me take you on a journey of some of my dating mishaps and wonderful successes!
Pain. Chronic pain. It’s no joke. It’s debilitating. It can lead to death. It can be physically and psychologically crushing to your soul. Living with physical paralysis, for me, pales in comparison to pain. If asked that “What If” question whether I would prefer to live in chronic pain or be paralyzed, at this moment as I write this article – I choose paralysis. This is a pretty powerful statement if you think about it. I am essentially choosing to practically go broke, have people’s hands in my body all day long, have someone dress me, use catheters and suppositories, etc. Think about what I am saying.
This is how debilitating my chronic pain is. For anyone who lives in chronic pain, your life has been undoubtedly changed forever. I know mine has.
When I was living in the ICU after breaking my neck in 2010, I was one of the unlucky ones who also simultaneously suffered a very deep pressure sore on my behind, pulmonary embolisms, and died a few times. I thought “this was the worst of it” to myself. Wow, was I in for a rude awakening 3 weeks after my accident!
It was pretty awesome to be a guest last week Hosted by BACKBONES and sponsored by the REEVE FOUNDATION with a good friend Chelsea McDonald. We really dove into some super personal disability topics that are just not normalized in mainstream society!
It was an honest, raw, and invigorating conversation on how we handle caregiving, sex, challenges, and triumphs with our husbands. A relationship with the added component of a disability is not necessarily harder than any other relationship, but there are certainly added considerations that have to be factored in to our everyday lives, especially because we are both quadriplegics and rely on people to help us with our caregiving activities each day!
I keep noticing these topics are slowly creeping up around the country and I am so pleased to have been part of this one;
Many of you know I’ve been fighting for an adaptive rowing machine called the Vitaglide for some time now with Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
I hit a dead end working directly with BCBS policy directors and I’m now introducing legislation with NC State Senator Jay Chaudhri in May. Very exciting!
In the meantime, I’m working closely with all of the folks at Vitaglide for promotion awareness of adapted exercise equipment for long-term wheelchair users.
They were so kind to write an article on me and all of the work I’m trying to accomplish with respect to health equity and not just health equality!
Every time I fail something, and I do fail quite a lot, or something stops dead in its tracks, I usually have 10 other things in the works.
Life can be utterly exhausting, but I know one person can make a difference even if it is only to inspire others to carry on the work they have started!
Thank you Vitaglide team for highlighting some of the work I am engaged in and spotlighting my consistent efforts for which I won Miss wheelchair North Carolina 2022 on — Health Insurance Advocacy! Nationals here I come in Grand Rapids Michigan from August 15th to August 21st!
When you believe in something larger than yourself, it’s quite extraordinary what you are able to accomplish. After becoming a complete C6 quadriplegic in 2010, it took me quite a few years and multiple long stents in the hospital to come to the realization that I simply had to find a coping mechanism for living an entirely new life in a very different body.
Becoming a quadriplegic and being paralyzed from the chest down may appear to be the most challenging life altering event many may ever go through in their life. However, leaving aside the endless secondary complications that can arise from living a life with paralysis such as pressure sores, nerve pain, respiratory issues, osteoporosis, infections, bowel obstructions, bladder incontinence, to name a few, can, often times, pale in comparison to the financial burdens associated with living a life with paralysis. The financial hardships associated with any type of disability, one could argue, is more debilitating than the disability itself!
For the purposes of this article I’m going to be discussing some of the financial challenges and realities of living a life as a quadriplegic as opposed to a paraplegic. In general, a quadriplegic needs round-the-clock care to help with basic functions such as going to the bathroom, eating, dressing, etc. While every injury is different and there are certainly some quadriplegics who I know who live independently, I will tell you about my life in particular.
Love, Sex & Orgasms …Yup, I went there live on Rebel Love Podcast!It was a blast speak with Talia on so many subjects and shedding light on disability and sexuality.
Naturally this is a topic near and dear to my heart since my website has a tagline on this very topic!I don’t know if many of you know this, but my entire advocacy mission in life started 6 years ago because of a dating experiment I would write about on my Facebook page.
This is actually how the QUIRKY QUAD Diaries was founded… Simply trying to show women with disabilities that a love life is absolutely possible even in a wheelchair
Also, to be completely honest it was super fun to write about sex at a time when I was dealing with major life changing surgeries!