In the end only three things matter: how much you loved. How gently you lived and gracefully you let go of things not meant for you -Buddha.
2013 seemed like I was climbing my very own Mount Everest. Battling what I thought was impossible was made into an easy exercise to digest. Each month seemed a totally different story, a story that didn’t seem like mine. I challenged myself to improve in the way I live, which meant making contact beyond my secure environment (my home) and seeking help. I’m lucky to have found guidance in Prime Physio the knowledge and improvements I’ve gained are unbelievable. Having the on going support through my friends and family has balanced and kept me seeking for a way to get myself back. Everybody can get stuck in a ruck, finding a way out is hard but once found it’s rewarding. Gathering up my scattered dreams is hard as every time I find one there’s always a memory behind it that unknowingly attaches itself to me. Everything seems to have a memory from the glass box on my bedside table to the rather annoying lampshade I use to get my hair stuck in. I can now shut my eyes but I don’t cry as thinking about these funny memories makes my dreams stronger and slowly helps build my life, a life I’m happier with. I tend to pull the negative and hurdles instead of putting two feet in and swimming with the current to see where it will lead this will be my aim for 2014.
Christmas was a cherished moment a day that since my accident I’ve always dreaded for the sole reason of Christmas is about sharing happiness and joy. The happiness and joy hasn’t necessary followed me around for the last 2 years but something changed this year as I couldn’t wait for Christmas! The thought of my very close family around me made me smile and I just loved the festive spirit. With help from my trusty hand splint and slightly bent fork I ate my Christmas dinner around the table with my family. Although it’s an easy and an automatic exercise for you guys, for me it’s now very different and others who don’t have wrist control and complete finger movement it’s a tricky task! But I succeeded!
A very tranquil, peaceful day was found and I looked forward to a comforting Christmas in 2014. New year’s eve was shared with close friends and family. Finding the confidence to venture out is hard as not being able to move a lot and feed myself normally makes me consciously aware of others who I think glimpse and talk about me, its inevitable I guess. But this New Years Eve, all of a sudden I had these ideas of venturing out, taking me out of my comfort zone. So I threw myself in at the deep end this is what happened to me on New Years Eve. Ten of us went to a local restaurant where I used to work before my accident, it was my idea as I knew the surroundings and I knew how wheelchair accessible it could be. Once arriving at the restaurant and after battling pass the Christmas tree we were taken to our table. The atmosphere was amazing and the food was pretty yummy. Whilst sitting, listening to everyone’s conversations I couldn’t block out the background music, it was the same as it used to be when I worked there. Happy memories came flooding back but it felt almost too much to handle, I guess the anxiety and emotions had an effect on my body in a way I felt hot and cold and generally felt sick. Having told Nelly, we made a swift move to leave and we saw the New Year in with everyone back at home. I forget how different these last two years have been, it’s easy to forget till someone reminds you and there is this sudden urge to smile and reflect on the tremendous dramatic challenge we all have faced since that dreadful date in 2011.
It’s now January and the days are counting down until Miami but there’s one mammoth boundary to get past first and that’s my trip to Birmingham to see a consultant about my cyst on my spinal cord. I can’t help worry and think what the outcome will be. It seems no matter how hard I try to think positive the negativity is echoing inside me, the what if, to the screams of sheer fright and the rhetrolricle question why me? The horizon seems to get further away from me and I don’t think it’ll ever be at grabbing distance but I know with a little help from Nelly, family and friends I can drive towards thousands of reasons to smile. The time came and I found myself in a room with Nelly, mum and a consultant it almost felt like I’ve been here before, but something seemed different though, the consultant was helpful and more human like. He explained that where my injury occurred c3/4 (lower part of my neck) I have a massive extent of neuroglia fluid sacks elongating on my spinal cord to my lower back. As the MRI image was in front of us it became more worrying at how large and cause for concern it was. Within minutes the consultant decided it was best to operate to try and dispose of the cysts. He explained that there’s a 50/50 chance of them going or it may go the other way and make everything a lot worse. The thought of having another operation terrifies me but I know how precious my movement is as well as I know I don’t have a lot to loose. Having the operation seems the best solution as the cyst can increase in size and the arm movement I have maybe lost, so now I’m waiting for the letter to drop through the letterbox for the date to go.
There is never a dull moment in my life and the many stories I could tell could go on forever. Gone are those days where getting up, washed, dressed were simple now I’m faced with relying on somebody to do all of these things for me. As embarrassed it is for me to say the word carer/PA I have to deal with it as I need that familiar face each day to care for me. The realisation of being dependent on someone is soul destroying especially at 24 years old. Inviting and welcoming a stranger into your home and showing your vulnerable side is hard as if it wasn’t for my injury I would never of met these people. I thought I had a care team who I thought I could rely on and it seems I was very wrong. Trust is key to caring for me so the fact that 3 weeks ago one of my carers decided to leave without a word to me is baffling. I trust these girls with my life and I thought I’d be treated how they would want to be treated in this situation. I’m too nice and naïve to think that they actually care but all I can think of is the opposite it was just a job as why would you just leave without giving a reason. Distraught to think I’ve been let down and to think my Mum, Nelly and Kelly have to pick up the pieces, which seems so unfair. It’s a good job these guys are pretty amazing and will bend over backwards to keep my routine in place; I just wish it were easier for them.
I’ve been so busy and have become more proactive, juggling seeing my lovely supportive friends, dealing with personal problems, Miami planning and exercise I love how far I’ve come! The FES machine has now become my little friend, everyday it’s in use, legs, arms and tummy, the results are rewarding, and the muscle tone in my legs has improved. It’s a long process but I’m very slowly turning back to the Carly I once knew! I’ve never given up on my goal as each night I close my eyes and imagine I am walking up the road. The comfort of still remembering the feeling of walking helps soothe the pain of despair I still can feel. Having my goal is key and to constantly take a deep breath and remember why I’m going through this never ending journey helps. Nelly and I have got to a point in our lives where we’re ready to take the next giant leap. Planning a wedding is thrilling but made complicated as organising dress fittings just isn’t going to be straight forward when you’re in a wheelchair. But with the stubbornness and determination I will make our day extremely special for us and will do everything I can do to walk down the aisle!
Miami has crept up on me, the days have gone by too quick and I’m not sure if I’m ready. I’m excited to be going to America, lucky to have the opportunity but petrified of the unknown. Many friends have asked the same question…I bet you’re excited for Miami? And as much as I respond with yes there’s a massive doubt in my head. Going away from home (my safe haven) is scary it’ll be the first time I have ventured abroad since the accident. I just have this funny feeling that emotions may take over as it will bring back the wonderful time I spent in Bali with Nelly, but this time it’s different because I am now restricted inside a wheelchair. How will I overcome this? I guess the only way I know and that’s to go with it. Smile when I’m happy, cry when I’m sad and the middle part of my emotions I’m still trying to figure out. The greatest opportunity I have I’m taking entering a new, clean adventure Miami. I’m just hoping something positive will come out of this trip. At least I’m not going alone Nelly, Mum and Kelly will be seeing me through this I call them my three musketeers or as they liked to be known as the A team, so I’m in safe hands.
In life you have to take risks, it’s the only way forward and when the unexpected happens just go with the flow.
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