On the 21st of January 2010 I became a paraplegic.
I can't believe that 5 years has gone so fast. I am not sure how I feel about the anniversary. I don't feel sad or happy other than when I see friends travelling overseas on Facebook or when I am scanning old photos of my life which is what I'm doing currently. I find myself thinking what my life would be like if I didn't have this disease and hadn't become a paraplegic 5 years ago and what direction my life would have taken and where I'd be now. That's when I feel sad as travel was always something I loved to do and as photography is such a passion of mine, I'd love to have combined the two amongst other hobbies such as gardening and design, interior decorating and handy women stuff.
However it's also great to see what I've achieved over the past 5 years.
- I've learnt what disease I have and managed to live through such agony, pain, change, severe sickness (even a stint in ICU), blindness in both eyes, paraplegia, incontinence, nerve pain, loss of feeling in legs, feet, arms and touché. Hands that feel like sandpaper, shocking weight gain (thanks to medication and treatments, depression, not able to exercise).
- Learning to live independently such as transferring on my own and let me tell you that process took months to learn with many tears as it was all so foreign to me. Learning all about dressing, hygiene, catheters, showering, bowel care and the list goes on and on.
- I built a house! Purchased the land whilst I was still walking. Signed up for a fabulous home to be built. They started building it 4 days before I went into hospital. I built it on my iPhone with 1 eye as my left eye was blind for 3 months. Luckily I had chosen everything before this all happened except the tiles. That I did in hospital almost blind in both eyes as I'd had another attack and my right eye had started to go blind. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I was at a rehabilitation hospital and Mum came to visit me with some friends. I asked why the lights in the room were off to which Mum replied that they were on and very bright. I remember feeling the most incredible fear as I was telling her that I felt as though my body was shutting down. It wasn't only my eyesight, I was having an attack again.
- After building the house I moved straight into it the day I got discharged from hospital with 80 boxes from storage, furniture and you name it in the house!
- I sold my house!
- I learnt to catch public transport in a wheelchair, buses and trains not to mention maxitaxis.
- I set up a social group for other wheelchair users, disabled people, their carers and friends. So far we've been to the zoo, aquarium, out for lunches, comedy club, ten pin bowling, on the Melbourne Star, Victoria Market night food market, bingo and more. And soon to go to jazz at the zoo, on Puffing Billy train and the list goes on. 69 Members and counting.
- I set up and run an International group for the disease on Facebook (as there is NO support available here in Australia). That now has 144 members from all over the world and grows every day.
- I set up a blog and then a web site, without ever having any experience in doing so. It still needs so much work and that will just take time.
- I taught myself how to make YouTube clips and am now addicted to them!
I'm sure there is so much more but these ones came to mind first.
Who would have thought I'd have done and be doing any of these things, especially me. I have so many more goals that sure aren't my previous dream, but are now new dreams and goals which I am determined to achieve. I just need to learn to pace myself as the disease makes me so fatigued as well as tired.
Happy anniversary to me and Mum because despite all the shocking times we experienced in the first couple of years, we have come out at the other end alive and still kicking those goals, although they be new ones, together.
Thank you to all of you who have helped me throughout the past 12 years especially the past 5, and been such supportive, loving and caring friends for both me and Mum xxx
In a wheelchair permanently since early 2010 due to a disease called NMO. I am loving getting out and about in my wheels. My blogs capture my journey.