The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. Nelly
It’s funny how time passes by so quickly, by the time I think about doing something the day seems to be over. I constantly wish I could erase the past 14 months and take myself back to being in Bali with Nelly living the dream.
When I was a child I had no worries and there was no limit to what I could dream about, I expected the unexpected, believed and listened to what my mum always said, magic was real and fairy tales were possible. Then I grew older and the innocence was shattered and somewhere along the bumpy road the reality of life got in the way and I was hit by the realization at 22 that life didn’t necessary allow me to be who I wanted to be. The dreams and the daydreams were shattered and the thought of living like this terrifies me, without my friends and family I would be telling a completely different story. I just need a lot of glue to keep myself together as pieces of me are slowly cracking and breaking away.
My tragic accident has completely changed my life, not only by just having arm and slight finger movement, but my legs are now dead weights which are useless to me, the loss of bladder function as well as other certain organs and my body seems to be more useful to the dude who does the anatomy art. My mind often wonders what I would of been like now if I didn’t have a SCI, the clothes I would be wearing, the sports I’d be playing and the job that I’d be doing. I use to love to dress myself in a way that I’d be happy with and proud with how I looked. The constant smile you have when someone has commented on how pretty you look or how nice your top is or how lush your shoes are. The sound that your feet make in shoes, the numerous worn aged well travelled pairs of shoes I have in my wardrobe, I close my eyes and for a second I imagine I am wearing them and recollect the feeling when you strut in a room, the texture of the carpet or floor underneath your shoes. The sand between your toes and the coldness of the ocean hitting the tips of your toes, I think to myself ‘will I remember how this feels tomorrow?’
I can sit in front of a mirror for a long time trying to like at least 1% of myself because no how hard I look and search I can’t find what use to be me. I think I’m OK, nothing spectacular, I’m this medium average person, a little tired, a little sad and I’m falling apart a bit. The old clothes, dresses, shoes, make up, photographs are boxed up and no longer exist they are now memories as no matter how hard I try I will never look the same as I did back then- but thanks for the memories. By the end of my tedious cries and explosive anger half the day has already gone, the constant monotonous screams of frustration are left permanently stained on my lips and the happiness that sometimes can come out turn to whispers that fade quickly, it’s just another day.
I’ve never thought I was lucky, like everyone I’ve had problems, more hidden than the ones on show, the only luck I have is having such a special close family who would do anything for me and finding Nelly who I describe as someone I’ve wished for. There aren’t a lot of Nelly’s in the world he is my ideal guy. I am a lost soul without him and just like a drug he can pick me up straight away. Life isn’t great and its definitely far from perfect, Nelly has the power to put my mind at rest and constantly reassures me that our life will get better and I do believe him. At my weakest Nelly is able to give me strength to carry on, help me get to my little victories and teach me to believe that the top two inches in my head is all I need to achieve another progression. With the stubbornness and determination I was able to have a good Christmas, another victory was reached and I ate Christmas dinner all by myself, the perfect picture of me smiling whilst wrestling with my fork and a brussell sprout!
People always say time is a healer and I guess I’m still healing, my scars may of healed but I’m this one big wound who is constantly peeling like a fresh scab and no matter how hard I try to protect myself it keeps opening with pain. Not only breaking my neck in 3 places I also severely cut and crushed my spinal cord and only a very small amount of signals from my brain link through the scar tissue to the rest of my body. Having numerous consultants and other NHS professionals telling me the same thing that I’m never going to walk again, let alone move anything is devastating and I want to one day to walk up to them and introduce myself as the once paralysed girl who never gave up hope and didn’t settle for anything less than walking and make them eat their words. I’ve promised myself. I will do this one-day.
My blogs are all my thoughts emotions that I’m able to type down, they are here to show anyone a little piece of my life now after my injury, words can’t paint a picture they tell a story of my now new life. I want to make everyone aware of how complex a SCI is, how dramatic, exciting and terrifying each day is. It’s all a dark mystery, one that I can’t even answer.
There is so much people don’t understand…
You find out who your real true friends are. I am still me, a little more of a day dreamer but I have the same personality. Some people seem to forget I am the same person, some hide away and ignore the fact I even existed, especially the occasional past friend who says nasty words which upset me, but the majority of my friends and new ones I’ve met along the way love and appreciate me for being me. I admire my friends and supporters who have helped me get to where I am now, the numerous fund raisers which have impacted positively into me slowly doing more things and being myself again. The ridiculously expensive equipment I truly appreciate and the smile on my face whilst having physio and exercising is down to you all, so THANK YOU so much.
Never say never can be found constantly in my head along with the word victory, many hours of my life are now taken up doing as much physio as my body can take, not only does this allow me to stimulate and improve my movement but it makes me happy just like I use to be when I exercised… another victory for me. My stomach muscles have the strength and ability to now allow me to stand on my own supported in the standing frame. Having the freedom to move my arms without touching a piece of metal that’s normally in the way, standing tall and looking directly into someone’s eyes at the same level and physically hugging someone, little things which I can now do ….another victory and it feels amazing.
Nelly is a very dedicated rugby player, he has the competitive drive to get far and pursue his dreams. I was once the dedicated girlfriend who enjoyed going to watch him play rugby. Many tears have been shed with the thought of not being able to watch like I used to anymore because of the embarrassment I would feel on the side in a wheelchair. The looks I’d thought I would get and the inappropriate comments people may make just made me put a wall up but sometimes knowing what you can’t do is better than knowing what you can. as just like a child I am stubborn and will find a way around it, which is exactly what I did. I may not be outside watching but sat in my car with the windows down, a picnic, my mum, a friend and me with a peaceful smile and the excitement I have watching Nelly playing again…another victory.
As mentioned before, the overwhelming feeling I have with the on going support keeps me fighting and reassures me to never loose hope and give up as everything should turn out ok. Carlyfest was another fundraiser, which was only the second time that I crept out of my comfort zone and ventured out to a fundraiser. The hours leading up to Carlyfest could only be described by one word torture. Nothing felt or looked right on me, the anxious nerves that were simmering inside of me finally boiled over and the inconsolable Carly came out, the repetitive words I can’t do this screamed in my head and my temper fired over and for a minute I wasn’t going. But somehow I found the physical and mental strength to erase the wall that is in front of me; I take a deep breath and start again. The nerves never went, they were just controlled enough for me to go and what a fantastic night it was. The performers were brilliant, the volunteers were amazing and Benji whose idea it was as a fundraiser for me and put so much time and effort into Carlyfest helped by my cousin Stephen were stars. I am very honored to have a massive support of people around me and so very grateful.
Through the single steps I take on my thousand-mile life-changing journey, I have met some incredible people. Some who have shined through at difficult times and some who have inspired me when I was at my lowest ebb.
I found someone who was in a similar situation to me and with their help I was given the strength to achieve another victory. I ventured out of my safe haven (home) and clocked up some miles with my Mum and Nelly to Cambridge. Now being the way I am puts many obstacles in my way, the accommodation on a scale of 10 was a 3, the first hotel we tried to book their ‘assessable’ rooms were full and they offered us a ground floor room which unfortunately the door wouldn’t fit my wheelchair through. The hotel we eventually stayed at was suppose to be ‘assessable’ but providing us a room that had a bath tub in wasn’t beneficial and our heating wasn’t working which for someone who has a SCI isn’t ideal as I can’t regulate my body temperature. They did supply us with a portable heater, which remained permanently on, but I was still very cold for the 3 days. We went to Cambridge to go to Prime Physio who was highly recommended by Rooprai Spinal Trust. During my time at Prime Physio I felt like I had been turned into a different person, I felt positive and content with the way I am and somehow I found a bit of the old me again. Prime Physio is an amazing place, they gave me an opportunity to use a rowing machine, a squat machine that linked me up to FES on my legs and a whole lot more… Everyone there was so positive and gave me great reassurance that to never say never. It’s nice to travel away but to go somewhere that gives you so much encouragement gave me joy and determination to keep fighting even harder. After my 2-hour sessions each day I was tired but itching for more, it was sad to leave as I thoroughly enjoyed it and I just wish I had something like that in Cornwall.
So here I am now back at home, finding the buzz that came back with me from Cambridge, figuring out a plan for my many more victories and physical progression. It’s nice to be home with Nelly, Mum, Dad, my brother Adam and Dora but I now know there are more options and opportunities out there that I need to find and give it my best shot.
Each day of my life is unpredictable, stepping onto a new path is difficult but I am one of the lucky ones who has the support of my friends and family. My life is a puzzle, its hard, complicated and full of difficult, un-solved; perplex problems that I am now slowly piecing together.
I look down at my feet and one day I’ll be walking but till then I can keep shoes forever and they’ll always look brand new 🙂
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