Tag Archives: moving on

Guest Post: After My Injury, a ‘Badass Chick’ Was Born by Kaley Yerman

On the morning of March 3rd, 2007, I hopped out of bed and went about my day. I was excited because I was finally allowed to go to a party that night with my friends. Who knew that would be my last day hopping out of bed? My last day going to the bathroom on my own. My last day using my hands and legs. My last day of life as I knew it.

After getting myself, all dolled up for this party, and of course taking a million selfies, my friends arrived to pick me up. I remember having no idea how I was going to get home. I told my parents I didn’t need to be picked up from the party even though I knew I had no ride home. It’s like I knew I wouldn’t be going home that night.

On our way to the party, there were seven of us in a Chevy Impala which only seats five. Five of us were squished in the back seat with no seatbelts on. The guy driving was driving at a very high speed (110mph). We repeatedly told him to slow down, but he didn’t listen. He hit a large dip in the road and the car went airborne. The car landed and veered into a telephone pole, splitting the car in half. Four of us were ejected from the car. I landed 100ft away from the car on top of the girl I was sitting next to. She saved my life, but sadly lost her own. Everyone else has recovered from their injuries except me.

I don’t remember the exact moment they told me I was a quadriplegic, or if they told me at all, I just sort of knew. I not only broke my neck in that accident, but I allowed it to break my spirit as well. I never knew true heartbreak until I realized I would be trapped in a body I had no control over. I lost all movement from the chest down. Not only did I lose my ability to walk, but I lost all hand function as well and some arm function. I was forced to grow up and face these daily challenges that no human should have to go through, especially not a child.

I was broken and embarrassed of my new accessory (my wheelchair). I would cry if I had to leave my house because I didn’t want to see anybody. I thought everybody would stare at me and see me as this poor helpless disabled girl. I thought it would be embarrassing for my family to be seen out with me, to have to push me around in this wheelchair, to have to help me eat and drink, to have everybody staring at us. My family felt the opposite about the situation. They were proud to be seen with me, proud that I was alive and still fighting.

I don’t think I ever would have pulled out of that depression if it weren’t for my support system, my family. My parents brought me home instead of putting me in a home because they knew with their love and support, they could repair my broken spirit. They weren’t going to let me give up that easily. They knew I could overcome this and live a great life. They never gave up on me no matter how many times I gave up on myself. To them I will forever be grateful.

My body may still show evidence of a devastating accident, but my heart and spirit doesn’t. I’ve learned over the years that not many get a second chance at life, so I better make the best out of it. Sure, I still have bad days, but they don’t control my life. I may be not be physically strong, but because of March 3, 2007 I am mentally strong. I rock this wheelchair and live my life without embarrassment. I am me, and I am proud of the badass chick that I have become.

– Follow Kaley on Instagram at @dub_princess

Guest Post: Don’t Ask Why After Your Injury by Alexa Carle-Hébert

On May 20th, 2012, my life took a strange turn. One minute I was having fun with my friends, and the next, I was sitting in a pool of my own blood, unable to move.

My accident was just that, an accident. We were stuck in traffic, and an 18 wheel truck crashed into us. I was stuck in that car for about an hour before the firefighter could get me out and bring me to the hospital. I could barely breathe, I couldn’t move at all, and all I kept thinking was this cannot be the end. I was only 16, and I had my whole life ahead of me. I was a dancer, an athlete, a ball of energy, and to this day, I think that this is part of what kept me alive. Every breath was hard to take, my neck felt like it didn’t have bones in it anymore, and it could’ve just ended it out there. But I didn’t. I hanged on.

When I finally got to the ER, I went straight into surgery, and I ended up spending two months in the ICU, which I don’t really remember. With all the medication I was on, I can only remember a few moments, and the rest is all a blur.

When I got released from the hospital, I spent a whole year in rehabilitation for people under 18. That was by far the hardest year of my life. I had to deal with so many new things that I didn’t know where to start. I had to deal with the injury, my relationships with my friends and family, redefining my life, the other patients screaming at any hours of the day, and all of that when I was only 16 years old. I cried countless nights in that bed, looking at the ceiling, asking: why me?

The truth is, there is no answer to that question. It didn’t happen for a reason; it didn’t happen because I was a bad person, it just happened. Once I understood that I felt more liberated. I stopped questioning myself about what I could’ve done better or what if I’ve done that or what is the purpose behind this injury.

8 years later, at 24 years old, I’m really happy with where I am. I’ve done so many things that I never thought would be possible after an injury, like having intimate relationships, driving, feeding myself even! I have conquered all these challenges, and I believe I am the best version of myself that I can be. I am third-year university student, I live alone in my apartment, I have stronger relationships with my friends and family, sometimes I play wheelchair rugby, I do a lot of volunteering and I am really fulfilled.

I’m not going to lie, it’s not the life that I dreamed of. If there were a magic trick that would give me back my body mobility, I wouldn’t even think twice about doing it. However, such things do not exist and living in an “if” world only makes you more miserable. You have to appreciate every little bit of happiness you can. I was lucky to be born with the glass half-full, and in everything I do, I always see something positive. I learned through the years that every time I kept looking back, it prevented me from turning the page and starting a new chapter. And I was scared to turn the page because I thought I would lose that chapter of my life, I would lose who I was, but eventually, I realized that I will always be me no matter what happens to me because I am the whole book, and a book is not defined by only a chapter.

My advice would be when you are at the beginning of that type of situation, embrace your pain. As long as you don’t accept that it sucks, it will always cast a shadow on you, and the day you will embrace what happened to you and use it to empower you, you will be brighter than what happened to you.

Follow her on IG @socialcasualtyox