My name is Nancy Ehrlich and I had a T12 spinal cord injury on 2/4/02 in a farming accident. One of the most important
things I learned from my recovery was that it's okay to let people help you. I am a nurse, the mother of 3 and I own
a horse farm, so caring for others seems to be in my genes. I always hated asking for help, preferring to be on
the other end. Since my accident, I have learned to appreciate all the love and support that so many others have given
me. A spinal cord injury is a big life changing experience on many levels. Recovery is hard work!
It takes time and the attitude that you want to recover and lead a full and productive life. That requires
help no matter how independent or tough you are. My husband would always say, "Let people help you. It makes them
The other thing I learned about recovery is how important it is to stay involved. Involved with family, friends,
co-workers and community. I love to dance and was still taking 3 to 6 classes a week before my injury.
I now teach a children's wheelchair dance program in schools, at camps and in a regular dance classroom setting. The
kids love it and learn to redefine themselves through movement. I also volunteer to teach theater arts to children and
help put on a big production every summer so kids, who love the arts, get a chance to perform. My husband was right, helping
someone else does make you feel good.
I also stay close to my Spinal Cord Injury Support Group. For a long time it was my sanity. No one can relate to
you like another SCI person. Depression, anger, feeling overwhelmed, not wanting to go out of the house, bathroom accidents
- they happen to all of us. How to deal with is what's important and that's what you learn from your SCI peers. We
all try to have a sense of humor, which can really make the tough things seem a little more palatable. Believe
me, you end up getting really tight with some of them.
Having a spinal cord injury is not the end of the world, it's the beginning of a new and different world.
You have to challenge your disability and make your world what you want it to be.