Trust in the LORD with all
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6
My accident happened on September 9, 1996.
It was dusk and my husband and
I went outside the house to talk.
We were separated at the time, in fact, we
had signed divorce papers.
He was at my house to visit our son.
After going outside, I jumped up on a ledge to sit.
However, I fell backward off the ledge, landing on my head.
Thinking the ledge wasn’t that high, my husband grabbed me up into his arms,
not realizing my sixth vertebrae had fractured.
The fractured bone poked into
my spinal cord and that is how I was paralyzed.
I have a C-6 spinal cord injury.
I was diagnosed as a complete injury at Hershey Med.
However, in March of 1998, I underwent another surgery called an untethering procedure in Englewood
at Craig Hospital
After that surgery, I was re-diagnosed as an incomplete injury, as I regained sensation
throughout my body, although, I have yet to regain my ability to walk.
my accident, my husband and I reconciled.
We remained married and in December
of 1997 I gave birth to twin girls.
The Twins! The Twins!
Yes, the twins!
They are a miracle.
They are a gift from God. My pregnancy with the twins was not
bad. I had already give birth to my son, so I knew what to expect in general. The interesting thing was that most people who did not know me thought I was using
a wheelchair because I was pregnant. That was different because I was treated
differently from one circumstance to another. Anyway, I moved around, pretty
much as normal until my eighth month. I went to weekly exams. However, by the end of November, one twin began to take more food.
The Dr.’s decided December 4 would be the date for the C-section. The
surgery went well and the girls spent about two weeks in the NICU at Harrisburg, Hospital.
I do have to say that my husband
helped with transferring and weigh shifts during the latter half of my pregnancy. He
even lifted me in and out of the tub!
As discussed above, the birth went well.
I must admit that I feel there has been divine intervention in my life. I
was not a Christian prior to my accident. Shortly after being injured, I had
a personal experience in which Jesus promised to care for me, if I chose to trust in him.
I have trusted in him since. One great concern of mine after suffering
such a serious, life-changing injury so young was my ability to have children. It
was here that God answered my prayers first. I became pregnant and me and my
perfect little girls were kept save and health.
Advice for future SCI mommies...
A hint I would like to share with future mommies is to simply be yourself, be a mommy, despite
how others might treat you differently or react to your disability. I would like
to tell all future moms who live with any type of physical challenge that they can do it and to follow their instincts and
take charge. I loved sharing the care of my girls with others. Many peopled helped me and I was grateful for the help. However,
sometimes I needed help being the mommy, not for someone to take over and do my job.
There is a fine line and disabled moms need to be assertive.
Also, I was lucky to have my son. He was a great
helper and a great distraction. During down times we played games, cuddled, and
watched movies. At seventeen, he is still a great source of support and pure
Raising a Family
My husband has done the cooking and cleaning, leaving the kids to me. This has been a great burden off me, as cooking and cleaning take a lot of physical energy. Many times, although I’m low on physical energy, my mental energy level is high and I’m able
to play games with the kids, do homework, and generally just give them the time and attention they need. I do a lot of parenting from the couch. I’ve learned
that that is o.k. The kids are happy with my time and attention wherever we are
situated. My son Tyler adjusted well. Kayce
and Rachael, my girls know me no different. I raise my family with lots of love
and with the guidance of our ever present Lord.
Returning to school...a career...
My girls were born in December 1997 and I started working on my Bachelor’s degree
in the spring of 1998. I graduated from Penn
State in May 2005. Other
than my kids, I feel my educational achievements are my greatest accomplishments. At
present I have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences, as well as Certificates in Youth Development
and Family Studies and Writing Social Commentary. In December of this year, I
will graduate from Capella University
with a Master of Science degree with a specialization in Clinical Psychology. I
hope to obtain my doctorate degree and become licensed in the Commonwealth
of PA as a clinical psychologist.
Ultimately, I hope to counsel or teach in a rehabilitative setting.
In five years...
In five years, I hope to see my son graduate
from college. He deserves the best! My
girls will be in high school (WOW). Hopefully, I will be working, counseling
or educating others in the psychological aspects of traumatic injury. I am prayerful
that we will all be health and leading happy, peaceful lives.
The obstacle that was greatest up until now was my practicum. I had to be at work at 8:00 and I was there until 4:00 three to four days per week. I could not cath and thus I was often dehydrated. After work,
I still had all my obligations at home. I had home obligations such as, the kid’s
homework, projects, extra-curricular activities, and my coursework for Capella. It
was six months of pure hell. However, I overcame the challenges, focused on my
abilities and allowed the great people at the Holy Spirit Hospital to help me.
I love to read and hope to write some day.
A Typical Day
Get the kids off to school at 7:40 a.m. Do
grocery shopping, if needed. I have found it best to go early. After any other errands, I come home and do my coursework for Capella. If
I am preparing a crockpot meal for dinner, I do that around noon. I typically
eat a light lunch, if anything. After lunch, I do any person work or housework
I can do, laundry, dusting, redding-up. Between 2:00 and 3:00, I get down and
rest until the kids get home around 4:00. After dinner, I get back up in my chair
and spend time with my kids. By 8:00 I’m usually back down to rest before
riding the ERGYS or doing the Program at 9:00 pm.
I dream of peace and happiness for my family. I dream I will walk again someday. The sooner I walk the better!
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly, motivates
Advice to Newbies
Hang in there. God has his reasons. Try to make the most of your situation.
Mainly, do anything to hang in there!
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
happy with Him
Forever in the next.