"If you're going through Hell, keep going."
-Winston Churchill

Feb 25, 2011

Overdue updates

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you probably get more updates about me than you'd like, everything from inspirational quotes, to broken hearted feelings, to Katy and Kristen banter. However, those coming over from Caringbridge, might be a little in the dark on my life and progress since my last CB post on December 18th, so let me fill you in.

Since my last CB update, I have turned a yr older, had my bathroom finished, spent a wonderful Christmas with my family, had my heart broken, been denied Medicaid, stopped going to Singing River for rehab, began at-home physical therapy, and Im sure alot more I can't spit off my tongue.

Christmas and my birthday was fantastic. My brother and sister-in-law were able to come from Tampa, FL. She is due in April with their first child (my 7th time to be an aunt!) so their trips will be far and few for a while. Also my favorite cousin, Alyssa, and her mom and brother came in my Texas, along with other various cousins, aunts and uncles from all over the Southeast. In case you didn't know, my birthday is also Christmas, and it was great to be surrounded by so many who love me. Here are the girls at Christmas:

My bathroom was completely gutted and reconstructed in exactly a week. It is awesome! It came out looking alot better than we expected. Let me tell you, showering is undoubtedly the biggest thing we take for granted. Try bed baths for a week, then imagine doing it for 5 months!!

2010 is gone and boy was I happy to see it go. Needless to say, not my best year. Granted, it was quite the learning experience. 2011 may be my hardest year yet, but I am ready to work hard. However, Medicaid is making it difficult...

The MS Medicaid office here in Pascagoula is ridiculous! It started in December when we went for a face-to-face interview, only to discover there is no wheelchair ramp! It is a 3" curb, which seems small when you're walking, but rolling it feels like dropping off a cliff. Then once I got inside, all the chairs had to moved to make way for Bulldozer Katy. Now, here we are 2 months later, going through the appeal process. Reason for denial? A 529 college account that my mother has in her name for my "benefit." I couldn't touch this money if I tried, and I have! However, the Medicaid office, who did not even know what a 529 was (and apparently Google, either) deemed it as my assets, therefore giving me too much money. It really is a load of bull, we will easily win the appeal, it is just the amount of time it has taken, which is almost a month now. Unfortunately, during this time, I've had to cancel 2 follow up appointments to Jackson, and also discontinue outpatient rehab at SRH.

Alas, it hasn't all been bad. Starting this week, I'll have a family friend/physical therapist come see me 2-3 times a week. I feel like I'll do much better with 1-on-1 therapy, plus he'll show me exercises to do on my own throughout the week. We'll begin by regaining my trunk control. After assessing me Wednesday, he determined my back muscles still work- GREAT news. It won't be easy, but nothing worth having is.
In other fantastic news, vocational rehab is paying for not 1, but 2 of the bioness!!!! The easiest way to describe bioness would be robot arms. Combined, they are a 13-14,000$ mechanism that will open and close my hands. Not only can they be used for daily functions, but they eventually retrain the muscles in my hands to open and close on their own. This will be a huge step forward and Im so thankful for vocational rehab for purchasing these for me.

In other news, we are thoroughly enjoying the high top van. In fact, a couple weeks ago my best friend took me to Cirque du Soleil. Now I want to be a "chaerialist" (chair-aerialist) we also sold the first van. Mother put the ad in one Friday, they looked at it Sunday, and bought it Tuesday! Our yard no longer looks like a used car lot.

Well, this was quite lengthy. Hopefully, I've brought everyone up-to-date with where I currently stand (Errrr.. Sit) I want to thank everyone for their support and for following my progress. I was born to do great things, and Im just now getting started.

Feb 11, 2011

Handicap isn't all bad

I've learned to look at my glass half full. That perspective, and my twisted sense of humor, has gotten me far in life. As I go through this journey I realize, being handicapped isn't all that bad. In no particular order, here are the perks that accompany my disability.

1. All my meals are prepared and served hot, even in bed!
2. Wearing the cutest shoes without worrying if they hurt my feet or not.
3. Good parking, of course.
4. And GREAT seats.
5. Along with #4, I always have a place to sit.
6. Strangers are incredibly nice to me.
7. My mom is like my personal hair stylist.
8. And personal make up artist.
9. AND personal shopper.
10. I can do laps without getting out of breath.
11. If ever mistreated, the ADA has got my back.
12. Service monkey!!? Need I say more
13. Pimping your chair is cheaper than pimping a car.
14. You never run out of goals for yourself
15. Thanks to vocational rehab I get a personal attendant.
16. I never have to worry about doing the dishes or cleaning.
17. Plenty of time to catch up on shows, movies, books, etc.
18. I can drink and drive without consequence.
19. Should there be said consequence, there is no way they're getting me in back of a cop car.
20. The ability to be more open minded towards all the little things we daily take for granted.

All a matter of perspective my friends!

Feb 10, 2011

My story

Well here I am. It has been nearly 8 months since my injury. For those who don't know, I was on a canoe trip June 13, 2010, with a group of friends when i dove into the creek unknowing the depth, or rather lack thereof. Immediately my body went numb, and there I was... face down in the creek unable to move. My mind racing, and I know my friends, knowing me, thought I was playin around. Just when I thought my lungs couldn't last another second, I was pulled out. The next few minutes would be the worst in my life as I frantically tried to comprehend what had just happened. As my friends tried to comfort and reassure me I would be ok, I already knew what I didn't want to admit- I was paralyzed.

What was probably only the next 30 minutes felt like a lifetime. As my mind raced, my body laid still, I calmly relayed all the necessary information to my friends and park rangers. Before I knew it, I was taking my first (and hopefully only) helicopter ride to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, MS. Amazingly enough, my biggest concern at the time was what my Mom was going to say and the cost of the helicopter ride. Although in my mind I knew I was paralyzed, I could not quite grasp the reality of it. Before long, I was at FGH getting prepped for surgery, then it all went black.

Two weeks would pass before I actually came to. I had been doped up on a drug that will not allow you to form memories, which I am thankful for after hearing about the severity of my condition in those first 14 days. Over the next four months I would endure and overcome a number of obstacles, including having a code blue called because of a mucous plug; emergency surgery due to a leaking feeding tube; a bedsore that wouldn't heal; and daily struggles dealing with my new reality.

This is my back story, my caringbridge was wonderful and my sister Kristen did a fantastic job, but it's time to start a new chapter. This blog is to help motivate myself and hopefully inspire and motivate you to live each day to the best of your ability, to not sweat the small stuff, and appreciate what you have. If I can inspire or bring a smile to your face, it will all be worth it.