As I sit now, I am in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the shoulders down. I was in the prime of my life when my world changed forever: athletic, six months out of college and just starting a new position offering a secure career path with a Fortune 50 company. Initially, my survival was dependent on the doctors and the medical procedures I underwent. Later, my journey and successes were dictated mainly by the powers of my mind and consciousness, something we are all capable of doing. This is not to say I have not experienced a few medical setbacks along the way, requiring conventional modalities. It simply means that I have made an effort to discover and learn more about myself, who “I AM,” and in the process, gained valuable insights and knowledge that helped lead to greater realizations from the tough challenges and setbacks I faced.
In the immediate days, weeks, and months following my accident, I could not have known where this journey would take me. I found that prayer and meditation made it easier to continue forward, though I didn’t actively pursue meditation until years after my accident. While spirituality is an abstract concept, one that has no confines or boundaries, we do not require an intermediary or third party to interpret our per- sonal message for us. It is as simple as looking inside, and anyone can seek what I have found. In my earlier years, living with the aftermath of the accident and resultant paralysis, I decided to reach down deep into the core of my character to discover more about myself and what was possible. I was also fortunate, compared to many, in that I had a strong support staff, a loving family, and friends to help me through. My path, though difficult, is less dark and the way forward, less challenging than what others may face because of my blessings.
After the prognosis from a team of top-flight neurosurgeons, who deemed my paralysis from the shoulders down permanent, I realized I had a long and uncertain journey ahead. As the road stretched out be- fore me, I knew that the chapters of my life were yet to be written, and it was up to me to decide how I would fill the pages. While the pages could have been scribed with an underlying tone of self-pity, marked by a defeatist attitude—that is not the path I chose. Instead, I decided to recount a life of trials, lessons, and experiences, where defeats and set- backs could have a positive outcome as well. Even our smallest victories or greatest hardships in life propel us forward to greater understanding of not only ourselves, but of others and their lives. To some reading this disappointed perhaps with not discovering a journey marked by tremendous wealth, celebrity or the highest of social status, maybe the lens we are viewing through is somewhat different. I assure you, my journey will lead us to the common ground throughout.
The pages in this book are my reflections, recollections, confes- sions, my hopes and my dreams. Mere words seem almost inadequate when I try to convey all that I have seen and been through, but words are all I have. It is my sincerest hope and wishes that my story might bring some comfort, insights, and greater understanding into the jour- ney of others who have shouldered heavy burdens. Hopefully along the way, gaining a stronger vision of who they are as unique individuals and what is possible. I have faith that God is not done with me yet, that I have more to accomplish, and that He will be guiding and supporting me along the way.
As William Ernest Henley wrote in his poem, “Invictus,”
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
This is the story of my life and my miracles.
"I think he became something greater than any preordained destiny or by the previous cards he was dealt; Dave decided to be more. Inspiration by attitude, deciding to thrive and not just survive, the heroic choice."