Abilities Are Greater Than Disabilities
Anything is possible. I don't have disabilities, I have abilities to do things differently. I have been in a wheelchair for 19 years due to a car accident which occurred when returning from my sister's wedding. I was a restrained passenger when the driver, my father, fell asleep. He and the other passengers, my mother and daughter, walked away with minor injuries. I was airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital as a high functioning C7 with use of my hands. Three months later, after combating a variety of hospital born diseases, I was discharged as a C5 quadriplegic, barely able to shrug my shoulders. While in the hospital I made the conscious decision not to allow my paralysis to destroy my life or that of my family. I refused to accept the "normal" protocol for a C5 quadriplegic, believing that "normal" is a setting on a washing machine and not a lifestyle.
My children, then ages six and eight, needed a mother and I refused to relinquish this role. I wrote a book, Behind the Curtain, to share my story and experiences when dealing with attorneys, insurance claim adjusters, hospital bureaucracy and home healthcare providers. Becoming my own best advocate, I learned that no does not mean no, it means negotiate. Using unconventional tactics I found pathways to navigate the bureaucracy. Behind the Curtain also recounts my experiences of moving to a Caribbean island, dancing with a Russian dissident, and skiing the Rocky Mountains. I have had the privilege of attending two high school graduations, one college graduation and my daughter's wedding. Believing that my abilities are greater than my disabilities, I have moved forward in unimaginable directions in my journey in a wheelchair. I am an inspirational speaker on navigating life and turning roadblocks into scenic detours.