RSS Feed

My Story

On August 18, 2013, I suddenly felt dizzy. It had been a nice Sunday afternoon. I remember that the sun was shining through the dining room windows and my cats were curled up on the couch. It had been a good day because I had spent the day in prayer.

I spent the day in prayer for many reasons. I felt disconnected from God and disconnected from people. I prayed earnestly for God to do whatever He needed to do to help me to reconnect with Him. About 20+ years earlier I had been a devoted follower of Christ. I had picked up my life in North Carolina and moved to Washington DC to be part of a church expansion. My faith was soaring at that time. I just wanted to get back to that radical feeling I had in the early days of living in DC.

When I stood up from that prayer, I felt an incredible resolve. I felt free, I felt lighter, and that is when I decided to have a bite to eat. As I opened the refrigerator, I felt a sense of dizziness come over me. The next time I opened my eyes, my view of the world, my attitude towards God and people, and the things I treasured most in my life, were forever altered.

For anyone who has ever fainted, you know something is off because your world begins to shake. I’ve never experienced an earthquake, but I imagine the quaking I felt in my body would be likened to a tremor. Sometime later I opened my eyes and my whole body was tingling. Nothing below my shoulders moved. All I could see were ceiling tiles and I felt completely disoriented. Somewhere between the refrigerator and the floor I had fallen and snapped the C3/C4 vertebrae in my neck.

I immediately knew I was paralyzed. I thought to myself, okay – this is how it is. I was in and out of consciousness for the next day and a half. I heard my cell phone ringing but I could not answer it. My cats were lying on top of me as if to keep my body warm. When I was awake, I spent time praying and reciting bible passages that I had memorized for challenging life moments – although I never expected a life moment like this one. And please do not think I am some spiritual giant. I was terrified, and this was all I knew to do. My coworker came the morning of the second day with the EMTs. The door was broken down and I was found lying on the kitchen floor, close to death.

Prior to the fall I had just returned from a vacation in Cancun a few months earlier and had kept up my tan via the tanning bed. My hair was streaked with blonde from the Mexican sunshine and $200 highlights at the salon. I worked out and I lifted weights. I had been athletic most of my life and so I was fit and muscular. I had a closet full of clothes, some new furniture since I had just moved, a new car, and a close-knit family. I seemed to have it all together on the outside, but inside I was empty.

Unbeknownst to the world, I was at the bottom of a dark pit and did not know how to climb out. And I wouldn’t ask for help. Little did I know I was getting ready to take a journey with God that would teach me how to claw out of that pit and live victoriously. When I woke up in the ICU a few days later, I suddenly had a desperate need for friends and family and a relationship with God.

After a long hospitalization, I moved into a nursing facility. My family members did not feel they could provide adequate care so this was the only alternative. After having such a carefree, independent, active lifestyle, I was suddenly completely dependent on the nursing staff to live.

When I was able-bodied, I was on only one medication. In my new normal as a quadriplegic, I swallowed 20+ pills throughout the day. The staff was responsible for everything. They dressed me. They exercised me. They took care of my personal hygiene. To move me from the bed to the wheelchair they had to use something like a human forklift. Even today, I hate being lifted in that thing.

I was distraught and angry for the first couple of years. Thanks to the support of long-time, close friends and women who I consider to be spiritual mentors, I came to believe that God had a greater purpose in this than what I could see. But maneuvering through each individual day and through an odyssey of emotions was a trial. Sometimes I found myself asking God, can we skip all these days of suffering and just get to the end of my journey?

Losing “things” that I thought made up my identity—my home, my job, my physical appearance, all my material possessions, was an adjustment I was not prepared to face in those early days. Learning to live life in a facility with 24-hour dependence on others was also frustrating and degrading, at times. I have learned to accept these things as blessings and to be grateful I am in good hands.

Thanks to modern technology, in the second year I started using voice-recognition software that allowed me to search for answers in the bible, write a blog about my life, and connect with people through social media. At that time, I also opened up my heart to God and began to pray differently. My prayers were raw and real and searching for answers. As a result, I finally gained some positive perspective on my quadriplegia.

In the early days of my injury, I had days when I just wanted to give up and wished I could disappear from this earth. But today there are many more days when I’m filled with gratitude knowing that this injury has allowed me to have a relationship with God on a much deeper level. I believe my life has a purpose, if I can just live victoriously one day at a time. I have done some things in this wheelchair that I did not think I would ever do. In 2019, I finished my Bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 2020, I started a Master’s degree in Christian counseling.

When I was an able-bodied person, I tried to heal my emptiness and lack of self-worth with things of this world, and I never felt at peace. This included drinking alcoholically and being involved in very unhealthy relationships. Now that I have no worldly crutches and I am completely reliant on God, I have a sense of peace and completeness that I did not know was possible. All of this healing has come because of my injury.

%d bloggers like this: