I’m presently 39 years old and I cannot possibly explain everything that has happened to me in the last four years on this one page, so I leave most of it to upcoming blogs.
I moved to China, had the surgery, and then participated in a rehab program afterwards. Unfortunately, I’m sad to say, they messed up my body pretty badly. Having said that, they did save my life, so I will leave it at that at for the moment! We ended up staying in China for the next two and half years. My brothers and sisters would come visit, but life was very simple and I liked it. I spoke the language and could live without any major drama in my life. However, as the years rolled by I realized I was not living, but rather hiding. I was ever so lonely, I started writing a blog called the China Quad Diaries (www.chinaquaddiaries.org), and something needed to change. I was not unhappy, but I was not happy either. I was completely and utterly indifferent towards my life. This can actually be more terrifying than having emotions.
In 2015 we moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to live near my sister. As a quadriplegic it is really important to live next to a family member in case of emergencies. The moment I landed everything kind of went sideways.
Medically, I started to develop this nightmare pressure sore on my tailbone, which I would learn very shortly would land me in bed for the better part of a year with two surgeries. From a caregiving perspective, I was spoiled with two lovely ladies in China and the quality of care was just a drastically different over there, so I was having problems find reliable & trustworthy people.
As for my personal life, I did jump off the bandwagon and started online dating. I did not get very far when I met a nice young man through a mutual friend. We proceeded to date for the next eight months or so before breaking up as we both just had so much going on in our lives at that time.
From October 2015 to October 2016 I was completely bed bound for about six months, and on and off for another six months. I had multiple surgeries on my tailbone, which was consequently removed, and I truly believed that the medical crap in my life was done. I learned quite a lot about myself during my time in bed. Even though I was in this nightmare situation I embarked on a many month dating experiment where I met my boyfriend … I never expected to fall in love from online dating! I tried many times to break up with him before surgery because we’d only known each other about a month or so, but he was very stubborn and refused! This is a good topic for the blog.
Over time I healed, continued on with life, started to get out again, went on crazy adventures with my man, and now I literally live every moment that I am not working to the fullest. As I am sure many spinal cord injury folks can relate to you really never know what can happen from one day to the next, so your appreciation of the little things goes skyrocketing.
Update – December, 2022
In March 2021 I decided to take the big leap into switching careers to marry my day trading life with my disability advocacy life. I now consult with incredible corporations on disability inclusion in all arenas, have been crowned Ms. Wheelchair NC 2022 for health insurance advocacy, and work with fantastic nonprofits around the world in the advancement of inclusiveness for all.
I am beyond humble to been crowned titleholder for Ms. Wheelchair America 2023 for Health Insurance Advocacy. Here are some great pictures from the competition.