July 25, 2013

My Simple Dream

Today’s post is a flash back.  A flash back to nearly four years ago as I experienced myself slowly losing the ability to remember what it felt like to stand and walk.  This journal was written a year and a half after my paralysis, at a time when it started to hit me that those memories were starting to fade, a time when I was trying my hardest to hold onto the memories.  I was just 20 years old and I was trying with everything ounce of my being to be okay with the fact that not only could I no longer feel my feet beneath me, but I couldn’t remember that feeling either.  In a lot of ways as those memories faded over those months it felt like it was happening all over again.

Reading back four years later it reminds me why it is that I am ready to pursue this dream of “walking” again, it is simple, my dream is to stand and place one foot in front of the other.  This journal gives me hope and continues to allow me to realize that no dream is worth giving up on, because you never know where life may take you.  It doesn’t matter how “simple” or “complicated” your dreams may seem, at the end of the day they are your dreams and we all deserve to allow ourselves to chase our dreams.

August 20, 2009

My biggest fear since I became paralyzed has always been that someday I will forget what it feels like to walk and stand.  That someday that feeling will become a distant memory and that if and when it does it will make it that much harder to hold onto the hope that someday I may walk again. 

Over the past couple of months this fear has started to turn into a reality for me.  That feeling is rapidly slipping out of my hands and it feels as though I can’t hold onto it tight enough.  I worry what happens if I can’t remember it? Will I ever be able to walk again if I lose that memory? Will I be able to teach my kids how to ride a bike or kick a soccer ball if I can’t remember what those things feel like? What about someday when I get married? As a girl you dream of the day you walk arm and arm down the aisle with your father.  You dream of the beautiful dress, you dream of dancing with the man of your dreams as you have your first dance. 

I have seen video of myself walking and it seems weird.  As I sit on the floor and crawl myself up stairs everyday I look at the stairs and wonder what it would feel like to walk up them.  I see others around me just simply stand up and walk into the other room so freely and I forget that simple feeling. 

Life since January 21, 2008 has been hard, there is no doubt about that, but that day changed me and although these memories seem to be slipping away I am thankful for that day because it has made me who I am.  I wouldn’t go back and change that day; although the days and months to follow were incredibly hard it forced me to appreciate life in a more beautiful way.  Although, with that said I would do anything to walk again.  To be able to walk down the aisle someday when I get married, to go on a date and walk in hand in hand with someone, to simply get up in the morning and stand up. 

I dream of that day and often wonder if it will come. The day I get to take my first steps again and it feels so strange to me that my biggest dream is something that for 18 years of my life I didn’t even think twice about, it was second nature.  My dream is to walk.  My dream is to stand at my 5’ 9” stature and walk again.  I dream of walking into a room with my loved ones and be able to look eye to eye with them. 

It is something that I can’t even put words into or explain to people because it is hard to explain a dream that seems so incredibly simple.  I don’t know when my day will come but I know someday, somehow, I will find a way to walk again. 

For now as those memories fade I just have to stay hopeful that it will happen again someday and remind myself that everything happens for a reason.   

July 22, 2013

Learning to Appreciate the Little Things

Five and a half years.  As of this past Sunday, it’s been five and a half years since that day back in 2008.  Most days it still doesn’t seem real, I wheel about and I think of what it would be like to just stand up and walk across the room.  An ever so simple task that for over 18 years of my life was second nature and now I can’t even remember what it feels like.

That day back in January of 2008 is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life.  It’s a day that for so long was a nightmare that I was waiting to wake from, until one day it became my blessing in disguise.  That day, I was just 18 years old and everything I knew changed in a matter of seconds.  I laid on a procedure table awake and witnessed my legs drop lifeless. I heard the thud as they hit the procedure table, a noise that still is a part of who I am today.  In that moment I felt lost, I was scared and fearful for what this meant for my life moving forward.  I had no idea what to expect and most of all it just didn’t make sense.

Now here I am five and a half years later and I feel fortunate for everything that has occurred since that day, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs.  That day didn’t define who I am, but each and every day that has followed has made me the person that I am today and for that I am thankful.

I still have my moments of fear, my moments of uncertainty, but I have learned that in life we cannot live in fear, we cannot allow the uncertainties to paralyze us and stop us from moving forward and fulfilling our dreams.

Life is a series of choices.  We are constantly choosing our direction and after that day I had a choice to make everyday when I woke.  I could either continually ask “why me?” or I could wake up and conquer the day knowing that it might not be easy, but it’s a new day and everyday the sunrises, it brings new hope along with it.

Those choices that I have made the past five and a half years have lead me to who I am today.  I have made the choice to take pleasure in the simplest of moments in life because I believe that is where the beauty lies.  For years it was easy to forget about them.  It was easy to take things for granted.  To walk along the beach without truly feeling the sand in between my toes until all the sudden I could no longer feel my toes and that feeling was lost.  In those moments when it feels as though you have lost everything you know, it’s then that you learn to appreciate everything that you have.  It’s then that you learn to appreciate the little things because that is what life is all about, the simple joys.

For me I feel lucky for what happened back in 2008 because since that day I have been able to appreciate life in a way that I never did before.  I have found that happiness and joy in the simplest of moments and that is my hope for everyone else, that just for a minute they can slow down and look around them and see the beauty in life, because it truly is beautiful if we just allow ourselves to slow down and take it all in.

So here is to five and a half years.  Five and a half years of choices that have all brought me to where I am today and have given me the ability to look forward and dream, and most of all appreciate the little things in life along the way.