Category: Living With SCI

Disability Sucks! And I’m OK with That

“We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing.” – Stella Young

It never ceases to amaze me how one short phrase can evoke such a strong emotional reaction. When I read the above quote on my Instagram feed the other day I was overcome by a lot of feelings. But high on the list were disbelief, annoyance and anger. I don’t think that I am often speechless, however when I tried to explain what I was feeling to my husband, I came up blank. Over the next couple of days, the phrase wandered in and out of my thoughts: “We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing.” Really, a lie? Call me crazy but I don’t think it’s a great thing. I wouldn’t even say it’s a good thing. No, I would definitely say that disability is a bad thing; I would say that disability sucks!   Continue reading “Disability Sucks! And I’m OK with That”

Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 2: The Vacation

Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury

We are home!  We returned from our trip to Disneyland just over a week ago and I’m already suffering from California withdrawal (the unseasonably freezing-cold weather and isolated flurries here at home are not helping!). I was pleasantly surprised that our trip went so smoothly. We were all good and exhausted by the time we got home; you don’t go to Disneyland to relax. The trip was wonderful! Being able to still have these special vacations and memories with my family means the world to me. I’m excited to give you the rundown on our little getaway. Continue reading “Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 2: The Vacation”

Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 1: the Planning and the Packing

Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury - Part 1: the Planning and the Packing

Travelling with your children is a very different experience from travelling without them just as travelling with a spinal cord injury is a very different experience from travelling without one. Travelling with both children and a spinal cord injury is the Mt. Everest of travel scenarios. As we prepare to head out on a family vacation, I thought I would give you the run-down on how this all works now that my spinal cord injury is part of the equation. After we get home I will share the good, the bad, and the (hopefully not) ugly parts of our actual travel experiences. Continue reading “Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 1: the Planning and the Packing”

Recapturing Lost Moments

Recapturing Lost Moments

When you have children, there are a countless number of firsts. As parents, we carefully document every first as though our little ones’ childhoods depend on knowing the exact date that they first smiled. We track everything from their first teeth to their first steps to their first day of school. I find it sort of funny that we tend to document the firsts of things that will continue on for a lifetime but neglect to document the firsts of childhood and parenthood that are more temporary: the first time we hold hands, the first time our child falls asleep in our arms, the first time we carry our child on our hip. Unlike a smile that will (hopefully) last a lifetime, these are the things that will inevitably end. The part that breaks my heart is that most of these “mommy and me” moments end without warning – we never know which time will be the last time. For me, some of these things ended earlier than anticipated. Continue reading “Recapturing Lost Moments”

Spinal Cord Injury 101: Talking to Kids

One of my favourite things to witness is the look on a parent’s face when their child starts asking me questions about my wheelchair. As a parent myself I know the exact feeling of dread that they are experiencing. The unpredictable nature of a child’s curious mind can be a stressful thing. I am not easily offended and love having children ask me questions while they try to wrap their brains around what they are seeing. I have yet to meet another wheelchair user who discourages questions from a child. Even so, I’m sure a lot of people have walked away from me wondering exactly how to explain a spinal cord injury to their child and answer their questions in a way they will understand. Continue reading “Spinal Cord Injury 101: Talking to Kids”

See My Abilities Not My Disability

The world is full of well-intentioned people. I try to remember that. I really try to remember that. Understanding that an offer of assistance is packed full of good intentions helps me keep a smile on my face and annoyance out of my voice when I politely decline. But seriously. Saving everyone else’s feelings while my self-worth steadily declines isn’t really working for me anymore. What I want people to understand is that every offer of help is a reminder that my disability is seen before I am. Every question of “can I do that for you?” makes me think that you don’t see my capabilities; it makes me think that you don’t see me as an equal. So please, see me! See that I am capable. Being in a wheelchair does not mean that I am helpless and lacking in self-sufficiency. Continue reading “See My Abilities Not My Disability”

Mind Over Matter – Getting out of My Own Way

I have never been one to venture very far out of my comfort zone. I’ve always preferred to blend into the crowd and let other people attract the attention. From high-school to dance, I was always a back of the class kind of girl. Since being in a wheelchair, I don’t necessarily have the luxury of going unnoticed (and if stairs are involved I also don’t have the luxury of going to the back of the room). In the beginning, it caused me a lot of stress to know that people saw me and that I could no longer feel completely anonymous within a group of people. I was constantly self-conscious every time I went out in public but, somewhere along the way, I stopped noticing the stares. Continue reading “Mind Over Matter – Getting out of My Own Way”

18 Months of Paraplegia

18 months. Today marks 18 months since I was my able-bodied self; 18 months since my accident. In a lot of ways, I can’t even remember what it’s like to live my life that way: to walk, to leave the house without worrying about accessibility, to park my car wherever I want, to be spontaneous and not have to plan my life around a bowel and bladder program. My life was a lot simpler before this injury but going back is not an option. To think that my children are all one and a half years older than they were at the time of my accident is mind boggling. To think that only a few short years ago I had a baby, and then another baby in almost the same amount of time (19 months) is even harder to comprehend. Time feels stagnant sometimes but then all of a sudden it is gone. Continue reading “18 Months of Paraplegia”

Mommy Is Still Mommy – How Our Children Have Coped with My Spinal Cord Injury

Every year I dread Labour Day and the blunt transition it brings: summer vacation to the school year. On the last Monday of summer holidays, as I was getting my boys ready for bed, that all too familiar feeling of bewilderment crept up on me as I thought about how quickly they are growing up. They are beginning to leave interests and other aspects of their younger years behind them. I have mixed feelings of excitement, trepidation and longing as I think about the new school year. I’m excited for the adventures they have yet to embark on but I’m nervous that they will stumble down the wrong path. I long for the simple days of toddlerhood, which admittedly were not without many challenges, but I was more in control of their worlds and what they were exposed to. Their questions could be answered simply without the constant noise of the world around them and the knowledge that quickly comes to them when they have the ability to read. But as I sang them a song before bed, the same song I have sung them almost every night since they were born, I started to think about the small amount of time they have been here on this earth and how much life they have already lived. When I think about the challenges these two boys – at six and seven years old – have already overcome, and the way all three of my children have handled themselves since my accident, I find myself amazed by their resilience and capability. And I realize my children have taught me about what is truly important in life and what is truly important in people. Continue reading “Mommy Is Still Mommy – How Our Children Have Coped with My Spinal Cord Injury”

Our Summer Mountain Getaway

Life is busy and I think everyone looks forward to an escape. Travel was the furthest thing from my mind for many weeks after my injury. Initially, I assumed that it would be too difficult to travel with a wheelchair and a spinal cord injury. What I have learned about travelling in the almost 18 months since my accident is that it is different and there is more planning involved, but it is most definitely not impossible and can still be awesome. I have travelled by boat, plane and car since my accident and while we come up against big and small hurdles almost everywhere we go, there hasn’t been much we haven’t been able to overcome. Continue reading “Our Summer Mountain Getaway”