DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Redefining the Possibilities After My Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Mike M

Never Give Up!

I had a lot on my plate and was having a pretty rough go at it when I decided to embark on this journey. Though it’s been 15 years since my injury, in many ways I still haven’t accepted or found that inner peace with it. I also live with a great deal of post operative and neurogenic pain. I was struggling, both physically and mentally, and actually getting to a point where I just felt like giving up. There was a lot of change happening at the time and along with it came a great deal of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and anger… but also hope!

When your life changes in an instant, and so drastically, you know you have to adjust (the faster the better), but you don’t always know how. So you do your best; you try to be as diligent as possible and do everything you can to heal, and get back to some semblance of life as you remember it. As you try to put the pieces back together and find all the answers, you begin to realize you don’t even know what questions to ask. In the process you begin to depend on those who have gone before you on a similar path, and develop a level of trust in the professionals you meet along the way (which isn’t always a good thing!)

However, if you can find someone who is both a professional, and shares your experience, you’re usually in good hands. If you need medical supplies or a new wheelchair,  you check in with Leslie at Leslam; if you need nutritional guidance, you see Joanne Smith; you need a great gym or sporting tips, give Rich at Neurocore a shout. Insurance, call Ashley Taws;  If you want to go back to school or need employment info, give Tamara Gordon a shout. If you want to get back out on the road, with that freedom feeling of being behind the wheel, you call Marco at Universal Motion. So we stopped in to see him with the  game plan and specs for what we needed. Marco a promulgated Gearhead with an innate propensity for the road; who fixed cars to work his way through college, participated in rallies and still races, was the perfect person to check in with. He fitted us with a Chrysler Town and Country designed by Braunability with a few special add-ons he devised himself. He pretty much put together the ultimate road trip spaceship.

Before my injury, driving was one of my favorite things in the world. I’d always find little life comparisons and metaphorical lessons I could take away from it. For instance, in life, we are all trying to navigate through our experiences and hopefully end up at a destination we’re happy with. On the road we’re all trying to get from point A to B; most of us plan out our routes as best we can; we sometimes run into traffic or have to take detours; the lines, signals and signs on the road, I’d compare to the laws of the land; factors like stress and fatigue can throw you off course; distractions can lead to road rage, altercations, demerit points… it goes on.   

I remember when I was first learning to drive, I practiced with Go-Karts. The track I used had a sharp 180 turn at its midpoint; it was a for sure wipe out zone if you didn’t take the turn properly, so they put up tires as the guard rails. The track also had a daily four wipe out rule. Every time I came to this turn all I could focus on was the tires… so every time I took that turn I headed straight into them. Finally on my fourth try, with every ounce of cool I could muster, I centered myself, focused my thoughts, took a deep breath in,  and ripped into that track; as I closed in on that infamous turn, it was me, my ride, the road… and those darn tires!!!! By the time I looked up again I was being flagged off the track… I didn’t give up though. That night instead of counting sheep to fall asleep I envisioned myself making that turn over and over again. I returned the next day; instead of focusing on the tires I focused on the end of the turn like I had envisioned, and took that turn like a champ.

The lesson I took away from it speaks to the power of our mind. In life we often go in the direction we see for ourselves. Yeah, there are  detours, traffic jams, road rages and 180 turns, but If we stick to our vision we’ll eventually get there! Just Never Give Up!     

Along with a special thank you to the Never Give Up Tour partners and all of our supporters, I want to dedicate this to all of you out there, our community, who share in this experience (that includes our caregivers), who despite the challenges choose to stay resilient.     

The tour has gotten some great exposure and has actually transformed into a movement; I’ve connected with a lot of amazing people along the way; we’re just getting started. For more info on the tour and to see some of the highlights so far visit the official blog at www.axs.world

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