Category Archives: The View From Here
As much as I’ve progressed in my journey living with SCI, battled paralysis, fought with everything I possibly could to walk once again, and as much as I am grateful for this new life that has given me tremendous perspective and an outlook of gratitude, the likes of which I’d never known before; the memory of this day, the day I fell, the year that followed and how my life changed in an instant, brings up a lot of emotions for me. And a ton of tears.
How I told my story and how I represented our community became very important to me and I wanted to get it right. For myself and for others.
My frustration is not that elevators break. I understand that things happen. My frustration is that there seems to never, ever be an adequate solution or alternative offered to those of us who cannot take the stairs if an elevator is broken. So, what do we do? Just deal with it?
Since my spinal cord injury in 2014, I’ve really come to admire those of us who live every day with a disability and share the struggles we face, as well as the milestones. Someone very dear to me said recently, “When you win, you always celebrate the victory, but when you don’t win, you learn from the loss.” That’s what I’ve taken from sharing my challenges, and what I’ve learned from my fellow spinal cord injury survivors who share theirs. We can often learn more from our struggles than from our triumphs. And we can certainly help others along the way, just by doing so.
Balancing our work and finding time for family and friends…and, most importantly, finding time for ourselves. It doesn’t have to take a person who is recovering from a disability to experience that. We all struggle with finding a work and life balance.
I bring all of this up to hopefully highlight the obstacles we, as people living with disabilities, face every single day. Not just the obstacles, or the excess costs, but the sheer frustration of having to retrofit our lives just so that we can be independent.
I never realized how little I knew about Cancer until I was told I had it.
I think it’s important to share my story to encourage other women to stop putting off your screenings.
The fear I’m facing is not because of the actual steps I’ve started taking again or the actual act of being up on my feet. The fear is from the unknown. Just as I faced years ago in the dark. Will I fall, or will I balance? Will my body give out, like it did so many times before, or will I stand and walk safely as I did for years and years before? The fear is crippling and debilitating. It creeps in to my therapy to the point where it prevents me from standing on my own because I’m so scared of what might happen
It’s amazing to think so many emotions can be tied to pieces of cloth hanging in your closet. It happens to all of us, though. Not just after a traumatic experience. We all keep the jeans we wore in college, or the pretty dress from that special first date. It’s not necessarily the article of clothing itself is that special; it is the connection that piece of cloth represents to an important moment of time in your life.
So, I thought I could add my two cents to the conversation and suggest an alternative to the negative term, “wheelchair bound.” I think we can, and we should do better. The next time you find yourself describing someone like me, who rocks a chair, try this one out for size: –“Do you know Justine? Yes. I do. I heard she’s Wheelchair Strong.”
Through vigorous physical therapy over the past two years I am starting to walk again. First it was just a few steps, now I am able to walk outside and close to the length of a football field. I am getting my life back, all because I have had this therapy which Medicare has provided to me. I am excited about the future now and am getting back on my feet. … This is why I ask you to please vote to repeal the Medicare cap so that those of us who truly are benefiting can continue to do so, and thousands more will be able to do so in the future. The cap is currently so limiting for those of us who need more than just a few visits. And the out of pocket cost would be astronomical for patients who are making progress getting back on their feet again.
By: Justine Chichester “Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.” – Michael Josephson I’ve decided to take a new approach to my New Year’s resolutions this year. In the past, I’ve done what most of us do, swear up and down to lose weight, exercise more,… Read More »
By Justine Chichester I’ve been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B. In it, she writes about facing adversity, building resilience and finding joy. Sandberg writes, “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up; draw on it when you need it. In that process… Read More »
I had to regroup. Had to remind myself that although my steps may not look like they used to, and I may never be able to take nearly as many as I used to, I am still doing it. I have fought very hard to get here and I continue to fight every day to get just a little bit further.
By: Justine Chichester The last time I drove a car was September 20, 2014. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and yet with everything that’s happened over the past couple of years, it seems like a lifetime ago. Of all the things my injury has taken from me, my ability to walk,… Read More »
While I was in the hospital, I wanted nothing more than to be home. Once I was home, I felt derailed. Sidelined from life. The transition from the hospital back home was not easy for me. I felt homebound and unsure how to get back to my life as I once knew it. Everyday tasks that used to be so easy for me, were now so difficult.