I did not give up easy when it came to both using a cane or accepting the use of a power chair. I continued doing as I always had and raised my levels of pain tolerance in the process. I redecorated another home and refinished furniture for my college age children’s apartment and became an expert at blocking pain. Eventually when 8 disc herniated at the same time along with the 25 years of pain I had already been dealing with,I was frozen to a stop.
I knew I needed to re-invent myself and the plans I made for my future were going to have to be ditched. Although I had spent many more years of continuing my life as I planned and being the parent in charge and my children graduated from highschool without my giving into the pain it was clear those days would need to end.
It would be the beginning of my new life and what a terrific life it would be. After having spent stubborn years of refusing to let go of my old way of doing things, no one felt more Blessed than I did to find I was now able to do things that I had never dreamt would be part of my life.
Both of our children were attending the University and with freed up time I was able to spend a week out of the month spending time with them and being the Mom that showed up to clean their apartment, to grocery shop and to cook for them. They were both carrying full college credits as well as waiting tables to pay for their own rent and personal expenses so I was not at all concern that my doing so would interfere with their independence as they had become self-sufficient while still at home.
I finally bought my red car just for me and in 7 months time managed to put on 32,000 miles of travel. If I didn’t visit every casino in the Nation over the next 10 years, then I came close to it. I saw parts of the Country and visited places I never dreamt I would. We visited San Juan, Povidences along the Canadanian border several times, and took a cruise of the Caribbean and Barbados along with the 48 States.
Some of the trips were taken between college breaks with my children others with my husband and some on my own to pick up my sisters to take trips from there. Before my new red car was a year old I traded it for my power chair and custom van in order to help relieve pain while walking and to expand my independence as well.
I did the complete geneology on my Fathers side and found the person that had done my Husbands family.I got interested in the stock market and just as with the casino I had beginners luck with my own trades, that would help pay for my trips. I read every book I ever wanted to read and am still an avid reader. I oil paint, read, and blog and look forward to spending the weekends with my husband of 41 years.
I collect antiques go to auctions and scout out small towns and antique shops on weekends. I also collect first edition books as well as signed copies and jewlery. On very special weekends I visit two of the most terrific children to ever be borne next to my own and they are our grandsons. On even more special occasions we are asked to babysit both and it fills our hearts with joy that knows no bounds.I spend much more time with my interests in both National as well as World affairs and have become an anonymous donor. On bad days, which we all will have, I rest without pangs of guilt or regret. On a typical year my medical expenses are less than my husband’s who still treats his health conditions with preventative medicines.
I’m no longer so naive to trust every hard luck story I hear but at the same token not so paranoid not to listen when I hear them. I realize that many times things are not what they seem. I understand there are often times more than two sides to a story. I know that hating and judging only destroys us and I also know the joy of waking up with each new day or many times going to bed in the wee hours with each new day.
Whatever the day is like outdoors, it rarely has anything to do with me indoors as I am always involved in an interest of some type and do a great deal of research. I do not spend much time socializing as I feel that I have so much yet to learn myself and prefer to get the information from people who do know truth from gossip and lies. I have never fooled myself into believing that I could relate to my peers or they to me. Health problems that need to be turned into health successes do change us all and makes our priorities different.
Each minute of the day matters more to me as I do know that things change in a minute. I have learned the real value of gratitude and appreciation and cherish each day as if I knew it would be my last.I do believe that we all get tested on our own strengths and I feel how we deal with those crosses or tests will determine how we value our own worth. I have no room to think negatively of others on a personal level but instead a need to expose those that we give our own power to before we as well as others are hurt by their lies. I have never spent a full day in bed, unless hospitalized nor do I have a moment to waste feeling sorry for myself.
I could go on with my story but I have said enough at this point to hopefully show you or your loved ones that in no way will accepting the use of the wheel chair be the end of your lives. The wheel/power chair is a tool to replace legs that are no longer dependable and to that extent it has no other role. It’s only purpose is to give us our independence and certainly not to rob us of it.
Disability is no different from anything else in life as it is our choice to determine how we each individually will define it when it does happen. What worked for me are my experiences according to my disorders but I believe that we all have the same opportunity to find joy if we make it a priority. Each of us has to determine what that looks like for us. Please know that if you, no one else, want to take control of your own life, there is a lifetime of joy laying ahead of you and yet to be discovered. Be patient, be Wise, but don’t wait for it to come to you as you will need to find it. I wish you all Good Luck in finding it your way!