Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
No Two of the Same
For spinal cord injury awareness month, I wanted to share something each day about spinal cord injuries and the day to day lifestyle. This is a big challenge since I don’t love posting every day. But I hope it will truly bring awareness around my disability and share with you a bit about me and people like me. Please feel free to ask me questions you may have.
I’ll start off with my story. In 2009, I had just turned 20 years old. I was snowboarding at Sundance, went off a jump and didn’t land it. Instead, I fell on my back, crushed several vertebras around T-11/T-12. I was in tons of pain and life-flighted to the hospital. I prayed that it wouldn’t be anything major, although, in my heart, I knew something was really wrong because I couldn’t feel my legs. I underwent 20 hours of surgery and later learned that I had a complete spinal cord injury. I would be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of my life.
I never personally knew anyone who had a spinal cord injury let alone imagine it a possibility for me. The closest knowledge I had of it was the story of superman, Christopher Reeves, who had a horse-riding accident and was never able to walk again.
I didn’t know there was a variation in spinal cord injuries. There are no two of the same spinal cord injury. It affects us all differently.
I remember at the beginning, my family and friends sent me articles and stories of people being able to walk again after a spinal cord injury. I worked on imagining lifting each little toe one by one, each day (what a mental workout, kind of depressing & hilarious ). But I’ve learned, depending on your level of injury along the spinal cord, and the severity of the injury, those things happen for some but not for others (like me). I have a complete spinal cord injury (completely severed). I have no feeling from my belly button down (some of my friends can still feel and/or walk with assistance). I cannot feel cuts or burns (which gives me anxiety sometimes). I have no spasms in my legs (some friends do). Others with higher injuries have no dexterity in their fingers, whereas I do and am able to type without assistance.
It’s a wild adventure with this spinal cord injury.
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