DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Embrace the obstacles to overcome

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Chris Webber

Intro

Hello all, my name is Chris Webber. I have been considering how I would best be able to tell this story and have decided to start from the beginning but keep it as short and sweet as possible. I firstly would like to acknowledge I was in the Navy, I have been in a wheelchair for well over a year now and I am an abuse survivor and still healing. I have 2 amazing daughters Rorrie and Abbie ages 6 and 4. So here it goes.

Childhood

I had a normal childhood... other than the fact I began racing Go-Karts at the age of 5. My dad Keith took me all over the west coast to race dirt Karts and IKF Karts. I wrestled and tried almost every sport you could think off that was offered.  By the age of 14 I started racing 360 Sprint Cars, one of the youngest in the world. I moved up to 410 Sprint cars by 16 and continued this until I was 18. I did very well throughout my career but had always had the drive to join the military like many of my family members before me.

Military

I did in 2008, gave up my racing career and joined the Navy as a Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC). I got married to a girl I dated in previous years before this and all considered I had a great career. I did 2 deployments to the Middle East with Naval Special Warfare Group 4 and was stationed at Special Boat Team 12 in Coronado C.A. However, there was a physical price. I was in a major HMMV crash and as my friend Ariel says "That hmmv wreck is still one of the scariest things I've seen bro, so thankful y'all all made it out of that Vic!!" This was not too physically detrimental however due to the nature of my job and incidents like this I developed Injury Induced Levo Scoliosis as well as some compressed and fused discs.

Marriage

I would like to touch base and divert to my marriage. Since 2008, I had been hit multiple times but never considered it to be a long term issue. I was a man after all and in one of the most "elite" military organizations in the world, I could handle it I thought to myself. In 2012 she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I always took it for granted and never realized the long term effects of being hit, yelled at constantly and covertly manipulated would have, not only on my psyche but also physically. In 2015 I was hospitalized from physical abuse. Of course never mentioning what actually happened I immediately began to have full body spasms. I had developed a neurological disorder from my military injury and the situation I was in. I was completely immobile and incapable of doing anything for myself, whether it be showering or even feeding myself. After working with the Veterans Assistance(VA) clinic in my hometown and the Combatant Craft Crewman Association I made the decision to swallow my pride and face the facts. I began to use a wheelchair full time and with medication I was able to reduce my spasms and pain to a reasonable amount.

Wheelchair

The first year I was in a wheelchair was hell. I used to be in theoretical great physical shape considering I consistently fought with back pain the last half of my Navy career. I regularly went rock climbing and repelling, hiking and just took for granted the abilities I had. I struggled with this and went through a horrible phase of thinking I was worthless and no longer who I was because I was now in a wheelchair. Once I faced it though I began physical therapy until no longer possible due to being abandoned regularly with my children at home and I don't want to delve any further than that. I sucked it up and enjoyed my time with my kids as I cared for them and myself a majority of the time. It was a lot to learn but I adapted and overcame. I was also going through a great deal of financial stress from quitting my job and the misuse of our income. The most intense part of this time was my current relationship. The abuse had increased exponentially from being in a wheelchair, I had become vulnerable and physically weak. I was thrown from a moving car twice, hospitalized twice and often had to escape my home many many times. My disability was taken advantage of and I was not in a position to stick up for myself. I remember one of the fears I had was not the physical pain but trying to fight with threat of anyone else ever wanting to be with a man in a wheelchair. All the while staying silent to the outside world except the select few people I shared this with and multiple witnesses. I always thought I was a man of my word and when I took my wedding vows I meant them. However, late August of 2016 would be my last. Unfortunately I had to witness something no married man ever should, irregardless of me being in a wheelchair. I will not go over that night in detail however I will say we were both arrested and I was cleared of any prosecution or charges. The VA clinic patched me up and helped a great deal with my arm and shoulder that was badly damaged.

Healing

Here comes the healing phase, my favorite part. Now the first 5 weeks I was completely immobile. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat, I was barely human. No amount of medication could reduce my spasms. My children were taken from me due to accusations I am physically incapable of doing, attacking my military career as well as accusing my "inability" of caring for my children due to my disability. It was horrible and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, not just from what was happening in my life but also how I was treated by my abuser after suffering for so long. One day I got a call from my attorney. The other party was willing to give me 3 days week for a few hours with my kids. I remember looking at myself, I hadn't showered for at least a week, my hair was greasy and my beard looked like a rats nest. I also remember skipping a week of class. Joe (CEO of Cloud Wise Academy) called me this week moments after my attorney and said "Don't miss this opportunity, if anything do it for your kids and just get your life together, no one is going to do it for you." It hit me so hard but it was so true and I will forever be grateful for such blunt straight to the point words. I bought a car the next day... after taking a shower. I went back to class, I started going to church again and just started taking care of myself. One of the biggest things I did was "self care." I went to a book store and bought every book on mental health, disability health, abuse survivors, Narcissistic abuse and Borderline Personality Abuse. I attended and joined abuse and disabled support groups and began seeing a therapist. That was one of the best decisions I made during this time. After researching the situation I began to stop feeling sorry for myself and taking initiative of my life, the one I felt I never had control over. I wanted to look my best and feel my best when my kids saw me. I wanted to be who they deserved their dad to be. It was wonderful.

Opportunity

A couple weeks after this forced motivation, I got a call from my friend Dallas. He asked if I wanted to do Voice Acting? I told him yes and he gave me a number to call. I called an amazing woman named Connie. We talked on the phone for about an hour and really built a friendship immediately, this had become more regular as I began taking care of myself mentally and physically. I asked my friend Carl who owns a local radio station if I could use his studio to do some recording. Not only did he provide a studio he provided a producer, edited my material and sent it to Connie, free of charge. Connie gave me a few more roles and I'm set to do more work in the future, it was one of the first things I found I could do in a wheelchair and thoroughly enjoy. It will also not be the last.    After graduating from Cloud Wise Academy I got a call from my instructor Zach the next week. He asked if I wanted some work and of course I said yes! I have been working with him since. I built my own office in my home and plan to start my own freelance web design company in late 2017.  I began to see my personality and work ethic coming back from before the abuse and wheelchair. Many of my old friends began hanging around me again and I started making a lot more new friends, great connections.

To be continued....

So here I am in December. Well over a year of being in a wheelchair, surviving more stressful events at home then I ever did in the military, and finally being free of that situation. I feel confident in saying I have made great strives in recovering and healing physically. Within months of finally getting the support of family, friends and peers I feel I am living proof that anyone can do anything. I am still fighting a custody battle for my children but am so much more positive than before. I really do hate to present myself like this but if it helps somebody then it has value. I have been doing physical therapy regularly since being on my own with a car and have made great strides in using a cane to get around the house and short distances in town. God opened doors to me I never imagined possible and really did bless me during the recovery process. It just took a positive attitude and determination to succeed no matter the situation.     Lastly I want to thank my family and friends and most importantly my children for being the anchor I always had. I also want to say to anyone reading this that anything is possible. I always thought that line was cliche for so many years but as I look back I really do think anything is possible for anyone and you can do anything!

EMPOWER OTHERS!

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