It was such an honor to be on Michael Hingson – Author, Speaker, Podcaster, Website Accessibility Consultant podcast called the Unstoppable Mindset.

Where there are visible challenges there are boundless invisible opportunities right in front of us each and every day. We each have a story. We each have a journey. How we get there will likely never work out the way we had originally anticipated. It’s about mindset, the journey, being the scientist in your life through constant growth mindset experimentation, and so much more.

Enjoy! I know I had such a blast hearing Michael’s back story as well. Most important, I made a great new friend who is an awesome human being.


black-and-white photo of Ali wrapped in sarong Beach wrap from waste up with a sexy biting finger pose

Online dating can be akin to navigating new territory in the 1800s in the wild wild West.  You are searching for gold and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which spans across hundreds of miles.  Sound familiar?

How many times have you swiped left to find your person only to go on so many bad dates that you probably have a list going by now?  I know I do.

Since becoming divorced in December of 2023, I started to join the online dating world the last several months.  Do you think of online dating as the wild wild West?  Well, try adding a physical disability with a wheelchair to your photos.  I feel as though I have now become a solo astronaut on their first mission to Saturn.  The fact of the matter is, we all see difference.

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INSIDE ME (LITERALLY) – Life with a Supra Pubic CATHETER after Spinal Cord Injury

Bowel and bladder and sex oh my.  All topics that are woefully under discussed and talked about.  I wrote an article about sex last week and will be filming a video for safe sex positions (PG style of course) in the coming week.  However, it dawned on me that bowel and bladder care are just as important to millions of folks around the globe who do not have control or minimal control of these functions.

I did a video on bowel care, but let’s talk about my bladder.  I have something called a neurogenic bladder.  With all of the bladder and bowel and sex nerves wraparound the bottom of the spinal cord, anyone who sustains injury to the spinal cord will have these functions compromised.  Therefore, I can’t feel, and everyone is totally different, when I have to pee in a typical sense.  First my blood pressure starts to rise, autonomic dysreflexia (I talk about it in the video) and my body is trying to tell me, through my autonomic nervous system, that something is wrong.

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PRACTICING SAFE SEX – with a Disability

Ali smiling for selfie blonde hair from shoulders up with no cloths

The Early Years of Sexuality

Up there on the list with chatting about money and politics, sex is such a taboo topic.  I grew up in Europe with a very open-minded family and a very open culture with respect to talking about sexuality and running around half naked until I was in my mid-20s.  

I never used to wear a bikini top because my German mother told me that tan lines were unattractive.  I believed her.  I went around most my life with no bikini top until I went on spring break in college and my girlfriend told me that if one more guy looks at my breasts, they’re going to send me home.  Alas, I purchased my first bikini top in Cabo St. Lucas.  It made me quite sad actually.

Ali able-bodied standing next to best friend in Key West with long blonde hair, orange tank top and miniskirt

I’ve always been quite a sensual and sexual person in my life as I was taught from a young age it is not something to be shied away from, but responsibly explored.  In university I learned you just don’t talk about these kinds of things in public as I had been accustomed to.  This isn’t to say that everyone in college was not having sex in some kind of closet dorm room, because they were, they just didn’t talk about it.

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Exercising in a wheelchair


Your life today is essentially the some of your habits.  How happy or unhappy are you? – a result of your habits. In psychology, the process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward.  Understanding these is crucial to learning how to improve aspects of your daily life.  In short, the queue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving, and, ultimately becomes associated with the cue.

Together, these four steps forming neurological feedback loop that will ultimately allow you to create automatic habits.  You can transform the four steps into a practical framework that you can use design good habits and eliminate bad ones.  It’s called the Four Laws of Behavior Change (James Clear provides a beautiful article summary on this).  You can think of each as a lever that influences human behavior.  When the levers are in the right positions, creating good habits become effortless.

In my personal life, exercise is a key aspect to me functioning successfully each day to reduce my pain, give me energy, keep flexible, not gain weight, and stay healthy.

There are so many preventive and wellness care techniques I engage in every day as a quadriplegic including, but not limited to nutrition, exercise, mindset exercises, work, advocacy, etc.

Each morning I wake up at 5 AM and then at 6:30 AM after my caregiving duties, I engage in exercise 6 days a week between 60 –  90 minutes each day.  I do a cardio workout, weights, bike, range of motion exercises, electrical stimulation, and then a 20 minutes dance party for myself each day for my mental wellness.

In the video below I show you a few of my workouts to get you started and I will show you the rest as time goes on.

  1. VitaGlide – Cardiovascular rowing machine
  1. RT 300 Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike – This is an incredible bike that allows you to engage in electrical stimulation (stimulating paralyzed muscles to promote potential functional recovery for those with incomplete injuries, increasing circulation, reducing spasticity, improving blood flow, etc.)  

Exercise is so important for so many reasons that we all are intimately aware of, but so many don’t take the time out of their day.  Listen, I get it, we all have busy lives.  However, if you choose to make time for something you will make time for it.  It’s as simple as that.  It is a choice only you can make. 

If you’re not ready to work out, then you probably won’t do it no matter how much peer pressure you get.  I just wanted to introduce those who may not have seen these pieces of equipment before to some of my daily life behind the scenes.

The Wild West of Online Dating in a wheelchair … So far …

Online dating.  Those two words.  I would wager a bet they are evoking quite a few emotions for many of you – either positive or negative.  As a newly divorced quadriplegic I’m back in the dating game.  I never thought I would be here actually.  You never get married to think you are going to be divorced.  Life happens, people change, directions shift, and we all have our own story.

Be that as may, the way of the world today is online dating.  Unless you’re going to a late-night bar for a one-night stand, it’s really challenging to meet people organically.  Don’t get me wrong, of course there are ways, but we have these incredibly busy lives in the face of our digital lives.

I started to dip my toe months ago in to match.com and Zoosk.  Being the scientist in my own life, I started to research different dating sites and what they have to offer.  The choices are overwhelming and they all have a similar vibe.  Dating is no different than finding a job.  It’s a numbers game.  It’s about statistics.  That is not very sexy or romantic, but I will say you do get to know a few authentic people pretty well before you go meet them for a first date.

In the name of research and a book I will be writing on Disability, Dating, and Divorce in the future, I decided to jump right in — in a very “Ali” fashion.  When I was in my 20s, I would go to a bar and bring home a guy, which sometimes resulted in a one-night stand or even dating them.  I didn’t know much about them and would take months and months before I realized I was going in the wrong direction.  I do believe online dating, and there are many creepy people out there, but it at least narrows down some of your options so you can read a little bit about a person’s beliefs, wants, needs, etc.  However, there are many fake profiles and trolls out there as well.

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How sleep deprivation contributes to my purpose

WHAT’S WORSE THAN BEING PARALYZED?  Sleep Deprivation – Millions Sharing a collective pain together

I’ve commented before that paralysis itself is not innately the biggest challenge with living a life in a wheelchair. It’s the secondary complications associated with it.  This is true for many complex diagnoses. 

For example, being paralyzed is quite easy, all I have to do is sit there.  The biggest challenges include things such as urinary tract infections, sensitive skin leading to pressure sores, respiratory infections, etc.  These sneaky complications can knock you out for the count if you are not careful.

For me, the mind numbing, consistent, unrelenting, and burning pins & needles on 80% my body 24/7 occupy many of my daily thoughts. Chronic pain is no joke and it’s tricky. You know it’s there, we cannot measure it or see it, doctors throw meds at us, and it appears never-ending.  From a medical standpoint, you cannot see chronic pain on any kind of medical imaging. 

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Adapting to your Circumstances

Things have been challenging in my care life at the moment. I am going to leave it at that and just say that everyone is doing the best they can despite unforeseen circumstances. With that said, I have some of my beautiful caregivers coming in the morning to help.

They also have other jobs and lives. So, for the last few weeks and few weeks to come I’ve been working with my 77-year-old mom to adapt my life from a caregiving perspective.

Let me say this. She may be 77, but she might as well be a 60-year-old monkey who loves to climb on counters and is faster than the speed of light. She is just one-of-a-kind. She’s an incredible crazy German lady who shows unwavering love all the time. She has saved my life more times than I can count.

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black and white photo of Ali posed in wheelchair half dressed looking forward

Yesterday I had an hour to kill and I decided to do a fun filled beauty Photo-shoot for myself.  I think my mother was an excellent photographer. The behind the scenes of setting my body up, well that was rather comical and gave me a great giggle for the day, but it propelled me to think about something more intellectually and emotionally substantial.

Ali in black-and-white photo Lane back in wheelchair wrapped around with beach cover-up half naked for Photoshoot with one arm in the air.
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