Uncategorized

Walk for Love 5k Fundraiser

Hi family and friends! If you’re looking for a way to give back to the community then look no further! Dr. Scott Kozin, my wonderful OT’s, and all of the folks at Shriners have been an amazing blessing to me and to children from all over the world. It is truly a special place and they never turn a patient away, regardless of their ability to pay.

Over the past year and a half, I have undergone three surgeries at Shriners. During my many months of rehab there, I met children with disabilities and their families who traveled to Shriners for specialized care from Croatia, Honduras, Belize, Newfoundland, and all over the country. I was very lucky to live nearby and that they opened their doors to me even though I was an overage patient.

Please consider a small donation as I roll to support them in their annual Walk for Love 5k fundraiser on Saturday, October 3, at the Philadelphia Zoo. To make a donation, please click HERE or search ‘Salisbury Squad’ to sponsor my team. If you are in town, feel free to register with our team and join us! Don’t forget a mask!

Thank you, everyone, for your continued support and love. Your donations mean a lot to me!

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Uncategorized

Sweet Dreams

In my dreams, I walk. Literally and figuratively.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream so vivid and funny that I just have to share. I was in the King of Prussia Mall (it was unclear who I was with) and I was able to walk, but only if I was pushing a Swiffer mop. Some people use walkers. Some people use canes. But I, apparently, use a Swiffer. Totally a normal thing to be walking around a mall with, right?

Now, it’s not uncommon for me to walk in my dreams. Actually, it’s uncommon for me to be in a wheelchair in them. Usually, I’m able to walk, not perfectly, but I am able to walk, sometimes with a little help. The Swiffer (Mom’s favorite cleaning tool) is a new twist though.

I’m not sure what my sleeping mind was trying to tell me … maybe I miss cleaning? Nah, can’t be that. Anyway, I thought you might get a kick out of my silly dream. I know I did.

In other news, I am finally back doing some physical therapy at Magee! I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I did any formal physical therapy there. I had to be really careful with my arms during my surgery recoveries, so I couldn’t do any PT, just OT with my friends at Shriners. I had an evaluation at Magee last week and will be going twice a week for the next couple of months. I’m looking forward to being more active, getting stronger again, and seeing some of my old Magee friends.

That’s all for now! I hope 2020 is treating everyone well so far.

Sweet dreams!

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Thanks for the help, Swiffer.
Uncategorized

Feelin’ GLAHM

On Friday, I attended GLAHM Camp at Shriners Hospital in Philly. GLAHM Camp, which stands for Good Life and Healthy Minds, is an annual, day-long camp for teenage girls with spinal cord injuries. I was really touched that they asked me to participate even though I am a bit on the older side — 25 this week …¬†yikes!

It was a jampacked day filled with healthy cooking (my hand got a serious workout chopping tomatoes), working out with a physical therapist, talking about all things SCI-related, and learning a Rollettes-inspired dance. The Rollettes are a wheelchair dance team that aims to “empower women with disabilities to live boundlessly and shift perspectives through dance.” I can’t say I was the best dancer of the bunch, but it definitely got me out of my comfort zone!

A guest speaker named Bryn came and talked to us about mental health, which, of course, is extremely important. She’s been injured for a long time, lives in Philly, and is my age, so we swapped numbers. I feel like I could learn a lot from her and always love making new connections!

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Having a spinal cord injury is obviously tough at any age but can be really hard for young adults wanting to be free and independent like their able-bodied friends. During some downtime at the event, the girls and I talked about accessibility issues at their schools, their problems in gym class, and the possible struggles they might face when they go off to college, especially since some colleges are cutting funding and not providing aides anymore. Even though they were younger, most of the girls had been injured much longer than me. It opened my eyes to all of the challenges teenagers face growing up and going through school with a disability. All of the little things I never thought of back then (but now have to) — Is there an elevator close by in case of a fire drill? Is the handicapped bathroom stall big enough for my wheelchair? — are looming in the back of their minds while trying to learn trigonometry. That can’t be easy.

Despite the adversity they face, the girls I had the privilege of meeting all have big dreams and they don’t let their wheelchairs hold them back. I learned a lot from my new friends and found each one of them inspiring. Their spirits reinforced to me that anything is possible, even if you’re in a wheelchair.

Shriners also holds another camp for young adults that deals with getting out into the community and becoming independent again in the spring. I’m all about that — so sign me up!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stick around GLAHM Camp for makeovers and dinner, but it was a really fulfilling day and an awesome event for girls with spinal cord injuries to come together.

Thank you for including me, Shriners!

Surgery Recovery, Uncategorized

Adios, cast!

On Wednesday, I had my six-week checkup at Shriners. The place was hopping; Dr. K had just gotten back from doing some mission work with kids in Ethiopia, so everyone was eager to see him — especially me! I couldn’t wait to get my cast off. I had been wondering, with a mixture of anxiety and excitement, what was going on under there and how my arm would look.

Dr. K and his orthopedic team started off by draining my leg — I’ll spare you those lovely details. Then they got to work removing my cast. I’ve never broken a bone or had any reason to be in a cast before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The saw they used was pretty cool. Even though it sounded terrifying and cut through the fiberglass cast with ease, the blade couldn’t cut you if it hit your skin. Medical gadgets are pretty amazing.

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The big reveal!

I was worried about it possibly being moldy and gross under the cast, but Dr. K said everything looked great and was headed in the right direction. The incisions are healing up nicely and the new flap on my triceps (where the new muscle and nerves are) appears healthy. Yay! Good news. My arm may not be the prettiest anymore — there are quite a few scars — but, oh well, it’s worth it. And it’s just nice to be able to see my arm again! Continue reading “Adios, cast!”

Surgery Recovery, Uncategorized

Onto my next adventure…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m getting surgery! It seems like I’ve been waiting forever for it to happen, but now that March 7 is only a week away, I’m starting to experience a whirlwind of emotions — I’m excited, nervous, anxious, and¬†everything in between. Before I jump in and explain the surgery, let’s rewind and take this chapter in my journey from the top. I’ve covered a lot of hard miles to get to this point.

I’ve been dedicated to doing physical therapy for a year and a half now. I’ve seen some really good return in my left arm/hand/fingers and a bit in my left leg, but my right side is still very weak. Over the summer, I started feeling like I ‘plateaued’ in PT and in my recovery, but I was still determined to recover more function, especially in my right arm. A common misconception about people who are paralyzed is that they’re just trying to walk again. Of course, I would LOVE to walk my dog and run the Broad Street Run again someday. But honestly, I’d trade that any day to be able to put my hair in a ponytail, write with my dominant hand, and be independent again. Continue reading “Onto my next adventure…”