Committed to creating a positive change...
In February 1990, the first time I ever drove in snow and ice I had a head on collision just outside Portland Maine. No seatbelt, thrown from the vehicle into a snow bank. This turned out to be a good thing, the cold kept the swelling down. I can remember thinking: here I am lying in the snow, why am I not cold?” It wasn’t till a few months later that I really learned how badly I was injured. Anyhow, the paramedics were all volunteers. I learned later that if they hadn’t done such a great job on moving me, I wouldn’t be here today. Also it’s important that you know- no one else was injured in the accident.
I was a mom of a 6 Year old and a 2 year old, married, active, working. It all came to a screeching halt that day.
I was paralyzed from the eyes down with a c-2, c-3 Fracture and SCI.
I could not talk, breath or eat. I communicated by the eye blink method. You see, through it all my upper brain was alert, awake and functioning. It turns out I had a brain stem injury as well. Believe me, when my family started arriving, they all brought black suits.
But enough of that. I spent 2.5 months in Portland Medical Center and was transferred to Barrows in Phoenix, so my sister could help with the kids. After 4.5 months of therapy I was able to walk out of the hospital. Everyone was pleased that I had overcome such great odds. But let me say to you: I’d be no where without all the help and support I received.
Years of good therapy and a busy life raising kids I began to lose function everywhere. I was terrified. As it turns out I had developed a large syrinx in my cord and even later found I had developed Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. These two things are related directly to the SCI. So I got to add some more hospital time. I have been scarred and P.T.ed to death. All so that I could regain the function I had lost. I was in a chair, unable to care for myself, all the things that guarantee being angry and generally pissed off.
I need to problem solve, it’s my nature. The physical Therapy I received was good, but I wanted to WORK. Through research I found the Gym- Pushing Boundaries in Redmond, Wa. They specialize in paralysis. Their equipment is all adapted for SCI and their staff of trainers is well educated in disability training. I go two times per week and work out for two hours each time. It’s giving me my life back. I am gaining strength, doing more and and am generally excited about everything good that is happening.
Unfortunately Pushing Boundaries is not covered by insurance. My girlfriend in Atlanta raised the money for my first month. And then a miracle happened! I received a grant from The Cindy Donald Dreams of Recovery Foundation. I was able to continue working out, toward my dream of walking again. I’m gonna make it; a lot of people are depending on me to prove determination is key (No pressure!). On June 15th my wheelchair is going out to the dingy garage - I plan on moving with a hemi-walker and possibly canes. Pushing Boundaries has helped me recover that much strength! My goal is to be device free by November. Wish me luck.
So that’s it in a nut shell. My life has not turned out at all as I had envisioned. I’ve been blessed with people that showed me all the different things about life I hadn’t even thought of. If you are reading this you must have some curiosity or even an injured loved one. Remember they will be mad: use it to make them work and problem solve.