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Three years of SCI

7/10/17 —  Today marks three years since my life was changed forever. Three years since I felt the ground beneath my feet, signed a paper with my dominant hand, or hopped out of bed without thinking twice. It has felt like an entire lifetime, yet it has gone by in the blink of an eye. I have so many mixed emotions.

 

Three years ago today I suffered a major stroke in my spinal cord. What started as a completely normal day — going to work, coming home and watching The Bachelor with my roommates — became my last ‘normal’ day. I’m not one to vent on social media or on my blog very often but I’m not going to lie, every day is still a challenge. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss my body and my life before my spinal cord injury. I try my hardest to be positive and stay strong, but it’s not always easy.

 

It’s been a crazy few years, to say the least. I’ve spent three-plus months in the hospital, had three major surgeries, multiple other procedures, and endured months of post-surgery restrictions and recovery. I’ve also spent countless hours in physical therapy and occupational therapy working on my body to keep it strong and regain as much independence as I can.

I often get frustrated with the function I’ve recovered. If you asked me three years ago where I’d be today I’d probably say walking and living my normal life. But that was before I truly understood everything about spinal cord injuries. So sometimes it helps when I go back and look at pictures and videos of my early SCI days and remind myself that I actually have made progress! I’m finding little bits of new independence all the time and I’m excited about continuing to meet my goals.  I’m even hoping to learn how to drive again in the near future. The pandemic has that on hold right now, but once there’s a vaccine, I’m hitting the road! I was never a great driver even before my injury, so watch out.

I read a statistic recently that said ‘people with disabilities are the nation’s largest minority group and the only one that any person can join at any time.’ It really struck me. Life can change for anyone without a warning in an instant, just like mine did. So, run all the miles you can, hug your friends and family every day, travel whenever possible, and never take things for granted. Try not to stress too much about classes, work, friend drama, or looking perfect all the time like I did. All of that is so insignificant.

 

Even though I still have bad days, I’m thankful to be alive whether it’s walking or rolling. I’m blessed to be surrounded by wonderful, supportive friends and family. Thank you to everyone who has stuck by my side (and peeked in on this blog) these last few years. You’ve helped me discover who is truly in my corner and what’s important in life.

So, here’s to rolling through life for three years and many more to come. Thanks for being a part of my journey.

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13 thoughts on “Three years of SCI”

  1. Keep up the good work – you are such an inspiration. Thanks for remembering Maggie. Love you and miss you!!! See you soon.

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  2. I love you more than ever! Because I am so proud of you for all you do, and for sharing with us in your elegant, wonderful and inspiring way. You remind us to be thankful for every bit, well almost, of every day.

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  3. HI Mary,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog today. Thanks for your inspirational thoughts. They put things in perspective, especially during this trying time. Please give my best to your Mom. (I worked with her at UHS.) Love your Blog!!
    Mary O’Connor

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  4. Love you, Mary, your honesty and courage, all from the heart. I remember being at BCBS attending a course with your mom when the stroke happened. I worried about your breathing, now look at you. Visiting you in inpatient rehab a couple months later, you pushed the elevator buttons for us, showed me all around, the snazzy car on the top deck…in your future perhaps! You share your journey through excellent writing, snapshots of a life well lived. I believe in you, Mary. Love,
    Beth

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  5. Mary you are a wonderful writer- your words touch me every time I read your wheel life writings!! You are an inspiration! I hope your heart continues to be filled with your strength, love and hope! Your family is a special group!!! Not many people like them! When I pray for your recovery, I also pray you stay strong!! And you are stronger every day!

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  6. Dear Mary,
    My heart goes out to you for the struggles you’ve endured, but I’ve never met anyone as strong as you!
    You are an amazing role model and young lady. Not to mention a phenomenal writer 🥰 I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you on the road though!
    Continue to find strength in family and friends, and Willow. Love the slide show!
    Stay positive, God Bless.
    Love, Johnna ❤️

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  7. Mary. Your strength and courage along with your outlook are amazing! A well written inspiring story to all who will read it. We pray often for you

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  8. Thank you, I needed this reminder today–about not worrying about the small stuff. You go Mary–you are an inspiration!
    Terry

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  9. Hi Mary! Just read your blog. It is truly scary how life can turn on a dime as you well know. I continue to root for you and am sure you will once again have your own place and be driving. ( watch out for me on the road ha). I love you and admire your strength and determination. There is nothing you can’t accomplish! Keep writing! You have a special skill for that !

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  10. Mary, I’ve been writing my entire adult life, but I’ve never written anything as moving as this blog post. Like your father, you are a terrific writer and like your mother and father you are an amazing person. Keep on using your writing talent because you have the ability to change lives, including your own..

    Brookie

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