Life is wonderful

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Cecilie Bjørndal

They see me rollin'

My name is Cecilie and I'm from beautiful Norway. I'm 27 years old and I've been walking for 19 years and soon 8 years rolling.

My mother and I were going to the store one day, when we got in bad car accident. She hit her head pretty bad on the stearing wheel and broke her pelvis.  My legs were stuck and I was laying on top of a lot of things that got pushed under me. I broke my right under and upper arm, my pelvis, all my ribs on the right side etc. I also broke my back, which left me paralyzed from the waist down.

The accident

The man who hit us was driving a big truck and he never pushed the break. Why? Because he was looking at his phone and he didn't see our car before it was too late. He basically drove over our car. I was awake the whole time and I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was in a coma for a whole month before I woke up to the beginning of my new life in a wheelchair. I can't feel much, and I can't move at all. To be paralyzed isn't just about not being able to walk, there's much more to it.  People tell me that they can't imagine not being able to walk, but that's really not the problem. To have a spinal cord injury means that every part of your body is affected in some way.  It can be a struggle, or actually, it IS a struggle. I've been through 18 operations the last 8 years and I have many more to come. I was on the operating table 7 times last year. That's hard on both my body and my mind. 

I've almost died 3 times, I've had sepsis twice and I don't even remember the number of blood transfers I've had. I can go on and on but I wont.

Focusing on the good

Because.. I want to focus on the good things in life.  My life before and after the accident couldn't be more different. Not because I'm paralyzed but because I'm a new person - in a good way!  I was a angry teenager who didn't care about anything else than myself. I've had  real bad childhood and to this day I don't know how I could handle it. 

I've learned to be happy with what I have and to make the best out of everything no matter how hard or bad it is. My way of thinking is better, I care about people around me and I do everything I possiblly can do for both myself and others.  I'm strong and independent and I'm not afraid to say what I mean. Everyone agrees that I'm a better person now, and I agree. I actually like myself now. I'm proud, really proud!  It's been very hard but I've never really struggled with the fact that I won't be able to walk again. I don't mind because it's really not a big deal. I have one rule and that's to look forward insted of looking back. There's no reason to look back anyway cause you cant do much about it anyway. Focus on what's ahead of you because it's going to make you go downhill if you keep looking back. Your future is what you make it to be.

We have something called Safe Traffic here in Norway. I joined them in their work to make traffic safe for everyone only 9 months after my accident. My job was to go to schools in the area where I lived and tell my story. I was afraid first but I loved it. I could sit in front of 500 people talking and they wouldn't make a sound. I was so proud and  felt like I made something good of something bad. It's my story and I can use it to make people realise how dangerous traffic can be, and maybe I can make someone think twice before they do stupid choices in traffic.

I've also been in a lot of magazines, news papers and so on. I'm active where I can and where I know I can help in some way. It's fun but also very important.  2 years ago I made a facebook group for people in wheelchairs in Norway. A group where we can share our thoughts, ideas, pictures etc. I called it "Positivt rullende", Or "Positive rolling" in English. Were almost 500 now, and I'm so proud!! I've also been trying to make it easier to talk about disabilities and sexuality in Norway and it seems to be working. It's important for everyone and it's not something that disappears just because we can't walk. I woke up from the coma thinking "Oh crap, what happens now?!". Everything was hard and I couldn't see how my life would work out. Today I've done more than I could ever imagine. I'm independent,  I drive my own car,  I have a wonderful Golden Retriever named Leah, age 7 that I've taken care of since she was a puppy. I have my own apartment, and guess what, I'm engaged to the best man ever! I'm so happy with my life even tho it's a struggle sometimes.  I love my life, myself and I love my wheelchair, which btw is named Bjartleif. 

Love yourself and know that everything is possible if you just try.


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