I’m super stoked to be teaming up with BACKBONES and it’s awesome to be motivated again!
No one believes tragedy can hit their home. We have this mindset that it happens to other people, not to ourselves, our loved ones or someone we know. I was living a life that seemed perfect and what most people would call "normal". I had a supportive family that molded me into an outgoing, positive and confident young woman; living life with dreams and aspirations. Until, that unimaginable tragedy struck me and my family's lives. My positivity, confidence and faith would soon be put to the test.
What was about to happen next, blindsided me, my loved ones and our entire community. WE learned quickly just how fragile we really are and how life can change in just a blink of an eye, without any prior notice.
The night of March 16, 1997, my world was changed forever, after giving a bachelorette party for a future sister-in-law. I was one of the four passengers in a destructive drunk driving accident that caused my C5-C6 spinal cord injury and paralysis from the chest down. As I lay, like a wet noodle, on that cold frost bitten ground...broken and exposed...my clothes were being cut and torn off me to expose my entire body, so my injuries were revealed and could be assessed. I had no idea that I was being stripped of my dignity and the modesty I held within. It was only the beginning of a new life where dignity and privacy would become non-existent.
At the age of 24, my once “normal” life became a life of loss and dependency. I was stripped away of my livelihood, career, dignity, pride and most importantly, my independence! I struggled day in and day out with the loss of everyday capabilities we all take for granted, such as walking, writing my own name, doing my hair and make-up, brushing my teeth and having the function to go to the bathroom on my own.
I was now living my life with many questions, but no answers.
Why did I survive that horrific night? What was my purpose? Could I ever be that same auntie as I had been prior to this horrific day? How would or could I co-exist with the rest of the world in this capacity? Could I somehow get "normal" back in my life? Would men look at me the same? More importantly, would I be able to have my own family and carry a child like I had always envisioned my adult life to be? AND the number one question everyone is thinking, but is afraid to ask...Would I even have the ability and capability to have sex?
This was only the beginning of my epic novel filled with questions, mystery, uncertainty and a whole new outlook on everything I had always believed in. WE, me and my loved ones, realized
that the adjustment and the learning process of the reality behind living life with a spinal cord injury and paralysis was not going to be easy.
It would’ve been easy to quit. Struggle after struggle; obstacle after obstacle. I chose to fight the fight!
As I began my fight, I would befriend a key part to my recovery...my Occupational Therapist, Debbie. I did something that is outstanding in the eyes of adversity...I trusted. Yes! I trusted her every word. I trusted the process of beginning, literally, a new life. I was fortunate to have found her or rather she found me, during the most critical part of my recovery. Realistically not everyone is that blessed. I think it’s universal for us all to need someone to turn to for advice, encouragement and support regardless of the struggle. I'm Rockin' 'n Rollin' my life today. All because of the support from someone that truly cared and understood. My fears were subsidized, my questions answered and the unknown, hidden behind my brave face, had disappeared.
Moving forward…my Spinal Cord Injury was not rolling these wheels anymore; I was in control!
In honor of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month, I'm teaming up with an amazing group doing amazing things to change the lives of a HUGE number of amazing individuals...BACKBONES!! As you all know, it's very close to my heart to share my story with others, especially those that share my journey of adversity, transition and attempt to co-exist in a world that resonates misperceptions and stereotypes on many levels. We all need someone or someplace to turn to that truly understands what we are going through and help us with the mystery that lies behind a SCI or whatever trial we’re facing, which is what makes BACKBONES so special. It pairs an individual with someone to trust and ask questions about the unknown. As well as guidance, support, outreach, education and love…who doesn’t want to feel loved!?
From the bottom of my heart,
Learn more about my personal story at Overcoming Adversity...
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