"It's your road, yours alone, others may walk it with you. But no one can walk it for you."
As I sit now, I am in a wheelchair paralyzed from the shoulders down. Like many of you who have experienced a debilitating accident like myself, or have been struck by a terrible disease, my journey began with little knowledge of how to deal with the myriad of issues I needed to be aware of to successfully combat my newfound condition. There were so many things that I knew virtually nothing about; from hiring assistants to help me, to finding suitable transportation, to the health concerns I would face among a host of other challenges that would have made my journey easier had this information been available to me from the start.
Unable to use my arms, hands or legs now due to a complete, high-level spinal-cord injury, and having just returned home from the hospital and rehab facility, I was at a loss of how to start the process of moving my life forward. I had no guides or information resources. No comprehensive manual to guide my way.
Today, with the Internet, it is much easier to find information on many topics, but unless one spends hours culling through thousands of websites and other sources, it can quickly become a very cumbersome and frustrating experience. Even worse, how can we know if the source is reliable? Helpful? After living many years paralyzed and going on to experiencing a fruitful and healthy life in a career of my choosing, I learned what worked and what held me back from accomplishing my goals and ambitions.
Over time, I began to understand how to deal with my acute injury. My knowledge, insights, and awareness were sharpened and honed every day, 24/7, forged by trial and error over many years. I discovered practical tools to help me become more efficient, healthy and focused, bringing greater clarity to my day. Knowledge set me free, and I worked hard to make my life as seamless and stress-free as possible.
Beyond discussing health concerns with my doctors and having someone at a local rehabilitation hospital assist with the complexities involved in finding adequate transportation for me, there was no sound advice available on so many other fronts. I didn’t know anyone personally who was living with paralysis, beyond some great guys and girls I met in the rehabs. Sadly most of them didn’t know any more than I did, and they too were very green on how move forward with their disability.
My journey, in many ways, was self-taught. I set out alone learning along the way, discovering more about myself and eventually figuring out what was possible in my mind.
The purpose of this book is to share my insights, knowledge and the awareness I developed over many years living with a high-level spinal cord injury. The book provides a practical guide that covers many relevant topics and offers helpful advice on how to “survive and thrive” with disability or disease. I hope that people living with challenging lives find this guide helpful, and it will help you successfully battle the most difficult transition you’ve ever faced. Maybe even opening some doors to the future you want for yourself. More importantly, hopefully lead you to greater happiness and fulfillment.
For the wonderful souls who provide compassionate care for the mentally or physically disabled, to those helping others with devastating disease, I think you’ll find there is much for you to gain from this book as well. Perhaps discovering additional ways to make your patient’s or loved one’s journey easier, healthier and more secure than it might have been otherwise.
As the life coach and author Rasheed Ogunlra shared, “Only the foolish would think that wisdom is something to keep locked in a drawer. Only the fearful would feel empowerment is something best kept to oneself, or the few, and not shared with all.” I decided to share what I’ve learned, and hopefully the words contained in this book will give you a sense of empowerment as well.
Perfect for children assisting elderly parents, those involved in debilitating accidents, war veterans...anyone who has been touched in any way by paralysis and would like to learn more about transcendence!