Saturday, February 28, 2009

It Went Good

Yesterday I spoke at a local high school to ninth graders. I shared my story to three separate classes and also talked about goal setting. I think it went good. The speeches got better each time I spoke. They also asked a lot of questions which helps me and helps the time to go by faster.

The only thing that I would change next time is not to speak to three one-hour classes in a row. I became very exhausted and I was starting to lose my voice by the last speech. I even had to have my mom talk a couple of times to give myself a break. I am excited for whatever opportunity comes up next.


"Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can't prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you're presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice and the choice can be power."
-Blaine Lee The Power Principle

Thursday, February 26, 2009

To All My Readers

Right now, I am getting about 35 hits per day of people visiting my blog. That's pretty good considering when I started there were only about 9 per day. The number 35 includes new and returning visitors. For those of you who are new I say "welcome" and for those returning I say "thank you".

I have almost 3000 visitors since October 26, 2008, and that includes people from all over the world. People from countries such as Mexico, Germany, Canada, Norway, Spain, Australia, Netherlands, Brazil, and parts of the United Kingdom are all tuning in to read what I have to say. I'm also getting visitors from all over the United States. I would just like to say keep on reading on and know that I am happy to invite all of you into my life. Thank you for all of your comments and support.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life As a Quad II: Sensory and Motor

On Monday I went to an appointment at a clinic with a physical therapist. They did something called sensory testing. By doing this, they can tell how much sensation I have and where throughout my body. I have feeling everywhere but it is more predominant in some places than others. It is hard to explain what I feel and where, so this was just a way that they could measure how much sensation I really have. They only did my lower extremities this time. The physical therapist had me close my eyes and then he took a small poker (it kind of looked like a needle but it bent easily and was not sharp) and touched certain places of my legs. Each time, he asked me if I felt anything and where. There were a lot of inconsistencies with what I said to where he was touching. Most of the time I didn't say anything because I couldn't feel it. When he was doing the testing, I had a few frustrated looks on my face when I didn't get it right. I was feeling disappointed that I didn't have as much feeling as I wanted to.

After a while of using the poker, he started using his hands to touch certain places on my legs. I was able to feel where he was touching. That means that on my legs, I can only feel deep pressure. I kind of knew that but it was nice to actually have a test done. He told me that it is important not to get discouraged and the fact that I have any feeling at all is a good sign. My greatest sensation is on the top of my arms. Hopefully I will be able to do a return appointment at a later time to see if I have gained any more sensation. I have to tell you that it isn't typical for someone with my injury to have sensory or motor.

I am a C1C2 incomplete quadriplegic, with incomplete sensory and motor. I usually just tell people that I am paralyzed from the neck down even though I do have movement below my injury. The reason I tell people that I am paralyzed is because it is just easier that way. It is hard to explain how I move things and specifically how it is possible that I can move things. I basically have to know exactly which muscle or muscles move what. Then I have to pick out the muscles and tighten them to move certain parts. It was a difficult process in the beginning but now that I know all of the muscles and what they do, it is a little easier.

I am able to move all of my toes, five fingers , and my shoulders and I can bend both of my wrists, elbows and knees. I'm also able to tighten the muscles in my stomach and pull myself forward and tighten the muscles in my back to pull myself back. I have attached a video of myself bending my elbow. After my arm gets to 90°, gravity takes over. I'm not able to bring my arm back down.

I will try to post more videos of me moving. If you have any questions for me about this post or want to know something in more detail than what I have described feel free to comment below.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Speaking Engagement

It's kind of ironic that while taking my public speaking class that I would get an opportunity to do a volunteer speaking engagement. This Friday I will be speaking at a local high school to ninth graders. I will be talking to three separate classes about goal setting. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to say yet. I have had to set many goals for myself in last six years and I know I can teach something about that topic.

I hope I will get many more opportunities to speak whether it's volunteering or not. I love to speak! I love being in front of an audience and telling my story and teaching others. It is the best feeling to know that you are doing something either to inspire or help others. That is why I want to become a professional motivational speaker. I already do motivational speaking, but most of it is volunteer. I would like to be well known and asked to speak at many events, schools etc. I will let you know how it went.


"Whatever you can do, or dream you can... begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sharing My Story

Hello everyone.

On the way to school today I shared my story with the bus driver. I told him about my accident, talked about my passion of being a motivational speaker, and shared other personal information to him. When I got off the bus to go into the school, he told me that I had been an inspiration to him today. It always feels good to hear those words. When I got inside the door I stopped at a table to look at some pictures of some people who had studied abroad in Italy. What I thought was interesting was that I ended up sharing my story again to the two people sitting behind the table. They were very nice and asked many questions, which I was happy to answer. Before I left, the woman told me thank you for sharing my story and wished me luck. She told me it was nice to hear what I had to say. These moments are why I keep going.

I don't mind sharing my story with others. Actually, I quite enjoy answering any questions they have to ask even if they're personal and hearing their comments and reactions. I would rather have people ask questions than stare and wonder. One of my goals in life is to inspire as many people as possible. For all of you regular readers, I encourage you to pass my blog onto others so that I can fulfill my goal.


"Imagine... Here you are, on the high peak of a mountain. You can choose to wing your way toward the clouds, or you can simply walk the usual, ordinary paths that lead to the valley below. Which choice will you make-the well-worn paths or rising above it all? Beautiful things await you if you can reach the heights."
-George Sand

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Reminder for All

12 Ways to Keep Smiling

Hold on to your dreams, and never let them go.

Show the rest of the world how wonderful you are!

Give circumstances a chance, and give others the benefit of the doubt.

Wish on a star that shines in your sky.

Take on your problems one by one and work things out.

Let loose the sparkle and spirit that you sometimes try to hide.

Stay in touch with those who touch your life with love.

Look on the bright side and don't let adversity keep you from winning.

Be yourself, because you are filled with special qualities that have brought you this far and that will always see you through.

Keep your spirits up.

Make your heart happy, and let it reflect on everything you do!
-Douglas Pagels

I came across this in a book I have. I thought it was quite appropriate for my blog. I try to do these things daily anyways, and thought others may need help in finding a way to keep smiling.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Weekend Entertainment

My entertainment this weekend was feeding the squirrels in my backyard. I got a bowl of sunflower seeds and mixed them with peanut butter and a bowl of corn together for them. I'm not a big fan of squirrels, I just like to watch them eat and fight over the food. It's been more than 24 hours and they are still eating. I had to refill the sunflower seed bowl this morning because it was completely empty. One of the gray squirrels is extremely fat and dominant over all of the other ones. Maybe I'm feeding them too much. Oh well its fun to do.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Online Puzzle

I found this puzzle on someone else's blog. I thought it was cool and decided to share it with all of you. I don't know how someone put it together in 57 seconds but it took me about 12 minutes by my direction to the nurse. If you just click on the puzzle it will take you to a new window and you can reassemble it by moving the pieces to the correct place. It is by JigZone. Good luck!

Click to Mix and Solve


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why I Get Botox

I'm wrinkly, why else? Just kidding. Turns out Botox is used for more than just cosmetic reasons. It is injected into tight muscles throughout the body to loosen them and relieve pain. I use Botox for just that reason. Because of my injury and the fact that I can't move my muscles, I get extremely tight in my neck and back and it's usually associated with pain. Botox is one way that I am able to relieve pain and loosen my muscles. The other ways are physical therapy and massage therapy.

I get Botox injections every three months at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul. Some of the places that they have injected it into are my occipitals, neck, pectoral muscles (major and minor), upper back and shoulders (specifically my upper trapezius and rhomboids), hip flexors, latissimus dorsi, and my left calf and foot. Don't worry if you don't know all of these muscles, I didn't either until I started getting injections in them. I find that Botox is very helpful and I notice a difference just two days after getting it.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Moment Among Many

A Moment Among Many

As I lay there staring at the ceiling, listening to machines beeping and people screaming, I was worried that I may never be where I was before. I had made it through this situation, and hoped that nothing like it would ever cross my path again. Laying there made me realize that there's more to life than just going around pretending to be the one person you're not. It made me think about my past actions, and the person that I have now become. I desperately wanted to realize who I was in this world, where I fit in, and why this had happened to me.

Without any warning it me at 1000 mph. Confusion blocked my every thought, as that one event took control. It was unstoppable, and it was hard to handle. The fear, pain, uncertainty, feeling of loss, desperation; whatever that one or many emotions might have been, I held onto them, only until it was way too hard to fight, then I let others into my life to help handle.

I've many times heard of the mind and its mysterious ways. Thoughts thicken like fog until the back of the eyes go blind. Fear sets in, and lets the body know how far it can push itself before it breaks down in heartache. I know for this feeling has covered me like a thick afghan. Trembles start like a ghost was seen, and the only thing left to do is listen and hope for peace.

The above words explain my feelings after my accident. I wrote it a while ago and thought it was a good time to post it.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have dealt with my accident a different way. I now know that it is okay to grieve. It is normal to go through that process. Every emotion that I felt at the time I tucked away in the back of my head thinking that these feelings weren't normal. I put a smile on my face and dealt with the life-changing event with hope and happiness. I'm glad I did and it's okay to do, but now I am going through the grieving process that I should've gone through from the beginning. It snuck up on me, and until now I didn't know what I was feeling.

I see a therapist a couple of times a month. I just want to stress the importance of being able to talk to someone other than those close to you. Sometimes when a person talks to people that are regularly involved in their lives, those people tend to take the problems on themselves; try to fix them instead of just listening. I am glad that I have someone else to talk to who can help me figure out the emotions and feelings that I'm having. It helps to know that these are normal feelings and that I'm not weird or something for feeling the way I do.

It is difficult to go through something as traumatic and life changing as I have. I am a happy person and I am accepting of what has happened to me. I do have feelings of loss sometimes, and there are days that they interfere with what my daily routine. I may lose sleep or be depressed at times. The grieving process that I'm going through right now involves those feelings of loss and hopelessness. I know these feelings are normal and through therapy I will be back on track soon. This doesn't mean that I'm not able to function.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Been Busy

Hi everyone.

I have been busy lately. The class finished up the rest of our chapter presentations on Thursday. I went to school an extra day on Friday to work on an upcoming speech that I have to give with a partner for class this coming Thursday. This last weekend I was working on the PowerPoint for the presentation. We have to present a news article and then give our opinion on it. We chose to do it on an article that CNN put out called "Cops: Bearing news of a loved one's death is worst part of job". I know it's kind of depressing but it's a human interest story. I didn't want to do anything on politics or the economy or anything like that. I think it will be good and will keep people's attention. After this speech, we each have to do an informative speech about a country.

This morning I had a massage at 9 AM for an hour and then had physical therapy at 11:30 AM. For PT I went in the standing frame. I didn't beat my record of 33 minutes at 90° but I was up for quite a while. It took me longer to get up to 90° because I was worried that my blood pressure was going to drop. It stayed pretty stable throughout the whole time. I am now exhausted. That's a lot of therapy in one day and so close together. I slept great last night but I think I'm going to take a nap later. Anyways, I hope I am able to slow down and rest a little this weekend. Maybe I'll go to a movie or something.


Saturday, February 7, 2009


An Inspirational Thought, Motivational Thought
Poem for Hope
by Catherine Pulsifer

Reflect on the following verses and words of wisdom in the poem below:

Poem for Hope
A Hong Kong Proverb

As long as we have hope,
we have direction,
the energy to move,
and the map to move by.
We have a hundred alternatives,
a thousand paths and infinity of dreams.
Hopeful, we are halfway to where we want to go;
Hopeless, we are lost forever.

Hope is the anticipation of an event or an occurrence. Our own individual hopes are our own desires, or could be considered our wish for the future.

Hope can give us a feeling of optimism when we are feeling discouraged. As Diogenes once said, "Hope is the dream of a waking man."

Hope is one of the prime differences between successful people and those who can only see failure. Successful people have hope because they can clearly see their goals. People who only see failure have no hope because they see no light, they set no goals, and they see nothing accomplished.

Successful people see alternatives and are willing to try different ways. People who only see failure are unable to see another way and give up to easily.

With hope you are halfway to where you want to go; by setting your goals, and taking the action to achieve them, you will see your hope turn into your reality!

Another Poem for Hope to consider is:

I Shall Be Glad
by Grace Noll Crowell

If I can put new hope within the heart
Of one who has lost hope,
If I can help a brother up
Some difficult long slope
That seems too steep for tired feet to go,
If I can help him climb
Into the light upon the hill's far crest,
I shall begrudge no time
Or strength that I spend, for well I know
How great may be his need.
If I can help through any darkened hour,
I shall be glad indeed.

For I recall how often I have been
Distressed, distraught, dismayed,
And hands have reached to help, and voices called
That kept me unafraid.
If I can share this help that I have had,
God knows I shall be glad.

Ms Cromwell's poem reminds us that we all need a helping hand at times in our life.

The feeling of hopefulness sometimes comes from someone helping us. Think back to a time when you had lost hope. Many times, we regained our optimism because someone gave us a helping hand.

In summary, no matter what challenges you face in life do not give up. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, ask someone to help you, what ever you do, do not lose your hope. As without hope life can be tough.

As Charles F. Kettering once said, "Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Missing My Mom

My mom is on vacation in Mexico for a week. She goes every year around this time. It has taken three people to replace her. Her fiancé Charlie, my sister Kristen, and my aunt Sandy are all taking good care of me. Along with my nurses, we are getting along just fine. I'm looking forward to her return and cooking. Not to say that I'm not being well fed, but there's nothing like my mother's cooking.

I miss her a lot. My mom has been there with me through everything. It's hard when she goes away, but I know she needs a break too. She usually covers all the open shifts when we don't have a nurse. My sister is my backup while she is gone in case something happens with a nurse and they call-in. I don't know what I would do without my mom by my side. She is always there for me when I need her and takes good care of me. I love her very much and hope that she has a safe flight home. She will be coming home Saturday afternoon.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Painting Again

The other day I painted again. I am glad that I'm getting back into the flow of doing it. It really helps me relax and reduces stress. There is a feeling of accomplishment that I get when I finish each painting and know that I may have just created a masterpiece. I wish everybody could feel this feeling with everything they do.

This painting turned out better than the last. I'm a little rusty still but it's good that I'm brushing up on my skills (no pun intended). I made this painting darker than the last one. I used four colors: phthalo turquoise, indanthrone blue, and a mix of new gamboge (a form of yellow) and perylene red to make the orange. Don't worry about pronouncing them right, I have a hard time myself.

I like looking at the paintings and trying to find things in them. If you look closely you might be able to see the bird on the right. I didn't intend to make it, it just turned out to look like one. That's the beauty of watercolor. I just put the paint on the paper and let it go where it wants to. I'm definitely going to be painting more often. I won't post every painting, but you'll get a good idea of what my style is.