On September 11, 2017 I was in a life changing motorcycle accident. Hurricane Irma had just passed, and the roads were filled with traffic of residents coming home who had evacuated for the storm. A driver suddenly cut me off, slammed on their brakes and I swerved to prevent hitting them and ended up hitting a light pole. The man was driving without insurance. I was in a coma and do no remember the incident myself but have pieced it together from photographs, reports and witnesses.
I sustained the following injuries: A failed right lung, dislocated right knee, broken T8-T9 complete, which ultimately left me a paraplegic, and a traumatic brain injury.
When I came out of my coma, about 3 weeks after the accident, I did not know why I was in the hospital. My mother had to explain the accident to me. However, I did not understand the severity of my injuries at the time and was convinced they were only temporary. I was fitted for a wheelchair, but had hopes that I would walk again however. After another couple weeks, I fully understood this was permanent and my new way of life.
I had to face this head on, complete the long journey of rehab ahead of me and made a choice to accept and adapt, which I did. A GoFundMe page helped pay for the necessary advancements I needed at home and on my vehicle so I was able to live independently again. The easiest part of this is not walking. There are so many other challenges and expenses that come along with spinal cord injuries that others do not realize. However, had I laid around feeling sorry for myself, would I be able to walk tomorrow? No! I am happy to even be alive.
It is this mindset that keeps me going. Others will either accept me the way I am or they won’t. Through all I lost I gained wisdom, a love for life and an appreciation for my loved ones beyond measure. As a psychology major and counselor, my hope for the future is to use my experience to help others in similar situations to be able to overcome any negative mindset and to learn to live their new way of life to the fullest.
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