Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spinal Cord Injury Research Symposium

This year's Spinal Cord Injury Research Symposium is coming up. For those of you who live in Minnesota, this is a great way to learn about all of the research being done to help cure paralysis. This is the fourth year that Morton Cure Paralysis Fund has put on this event and the third year that I have been on the planning committee helping to put everything together. I will definitely be there.

Here is what the flyer for the event says:


Featuring John A. Kessler, M.D.
Northwestern University
Stem Cell Institute

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 1:30 PM
Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Dr. John A. Kessler is a pioneer in the field of regenerative neurology. His recent work focuses on developing techniques for using nanoengineered materials in combination with stem cells. His work with stem cells and growth factors has helped pave the way for new strategies to repair the damaged nervous system. Dr. Kessler will discuss the status of spinal cord injury research around the world and the research funded by Morton Cure Paralysis Fund. He will also answer questions from the audience.

Ms. Becky Peters, President, Morton Cure Paralysis Fund, believes that through increased funding for research a cure for paralysis will be found and her dream of walking will come true. Her message of hope and advocacy is inspiring.

Presented by the Morton Cure Paralysis Fund. Open to all who care about curing paralysis … the injured, family, friends, & medical professionals. FREE ADMISSION. Refreshments served.

Space is limited!
Register early at
email or
call Kris at 612.723.0547

CEU’s available for medical professionals.

I can also e-mail the flyer to anyone upon request. Hope to see you there!


Saturday, March 27, 2010


I believe it's very important to have friends in your life to support you and be there for you in times of need. Friendships are extremely important to me. Whether it be an old friend or a new one, it's nice to have somebody that I can talk to and/or hang out with. It's not always easy to come across true friends who will be there for you no matter what. Especially in my situation. Sometimes I feel very lonely, like I don't have anybody even though there's so many people surrounding me. I have some friends that have stuck around after my accident and that I see every once in a while. I've also met some new people since.

Although I do have friends, I don't feel like all my social needs are met. It's a little harder for me to get out places, so most of my friends have to come over to my house. That can be hard sometimes to always meet in the same place and not be able to go to them. I miss going over to other people's houses, something I'm not able to do often because of accessibility.

I have met a lot of new people through my blog, some of which I have become great friends with. There are a couple of people that I talk to through e-mail or Facebook on a regular basis. I may not be able to meet these online pals in person due to location, but I am able to remain friends with them via the computer which I value deeply.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Kind Word

Too often we
underestimate the
power of a touch,
a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear,
an honest compliment,
or the smallest act
of caring, all of which
have the potential
to turn a life around.
-Leo Buscaglia

I have this book that has poems and quotes in it and I was reading it this morning. I really love to read other people's words, especially if they are encouraging or inspiring. I came across this poem and ended up reading it over a couple of times before moving on to the next. After I was done reading others in the book, I went back to it to read it again. The words are so simple yet so powerful and true. There are many people out there who are struggling or just having a bad day and it seems that just the littlest thing could help change the outcome. A friendly smile to a stranger or a compliment to someone close to you might just be all it takes.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring! Hopefully this means good weather coming our way. I've been very bored on my break. I haven't really gone anywhere or done much. Can't wait to get back to school tomorrow. Although I have had to do some reading homework over the last week. I did go to Best Buy the other day to look for a microphone headset for my computer. The one I have now is coming apart and unraveling so the wires are exposed. I have to have someone mess with the cord whenever I go on my computer because it stops working. They didn't have the one that I wanted so I got a standing microphone instead of a headset. I tried it already but it didn't work because it didn't pick up my voice since it has to sit so far away. So I'm stuck with this one for now. Seems to be working okay for this post.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Motorcycle Ride Video

For those of you who may remember, last summer I took a ride in a motorcycle sidecar. I had someone take a video of it but wasn't able to put it on my blog. Well, I finally put it on YouTube. If you want to read the post that I did on it before click here. You can make the video full-screen by clicking on the button with four arrows at the bottom right hand corner of the video. If you want to view it from YouTube click here and it will take you directly there.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is It Spring Already?

I'm on spring break for school this week. I'm not doing anything special on my week off except relaxing, even though my one class isn't really that much work or stressful at all. I'm kind of curious why spring break is in winter. Anyways, it feels like spring outside. Yesterday I went out for about an hour and basked in the sun. When I was out, I noticed that our irises and lilies are starting to come up. I'm not sure but I think the saying for March is "in like a lamb, out like a lion." I think it can be reversed depending on how the weather is at the beginning of the month. If that's true then we're up for some pretty cold and possibly snowy days. I don't know if I'm quite prepared for that. I'm kind of liking the sun right now (even though today is cloudy and rainy). What is everyone else doing for spring break?


Monday, March 15, 2010

Overcoming Challenges

I thought I'd do a post on overcoming challenges. I found a website that had great information on this topic. It had some simple strategies to overcoming challenges. I think it sums it up very nicely and is exactly what I believe and have done in my life. If you'd like to visit the website click here.

"Overcoming challenges are a normal part of life. Many people look at challenges and loathe them, but challenges help move us forward. We would stand still without challenges, would never improve ourselves, and would always be the same people we are right now.

This knowledge may make challenges somewhat easier to deal with and may even enable you to defeat challenges or obstacles that are standing in your way. So ask yourself: Am I where I want to be in life? If you're not happy, then it's time to take charge.

Overcoming Challenges

Overcoming some challenges can be as simple as remembering that nothing lasts forever. Even though this may sound rather simple, it is true. When you are in the midst of a tough situation, you should pause for a moment and remember that this too shall pass. We often get caught up in the drama and the stress of a challenge or obstacle. This blinds us to the reality that this moment is simply a stepping stone to where we are going.

Another way to overcome challenges is to seek help. We often become islands unto ourselves when we needn't be. Ask friends and family for help, or get professional help if the challenge necessitates it. Teaming up with those who are in our lives often makes a challenge seem smaller and less threatening.

Breaking challenges down into more manageable pieces also may make them easier to overcome. Many of us look only at the big picture, which often can be overwhelming. Look at the challenges you are facing and see if you can't break up the issues into smaller pieces to make the process less intimidating.

Positive thought is a great way to overcome challenges. Many people keep a list of affirmations with them – either physically or in their minds – to help them overcome difficulties as challenges arise. Affirmations are simple statements to help you quiet negative thoughts that are in your mind. Many people find that positive thoughts are the key to overcoming both big and small challenges.

You can take positive thoughts one step further and incorporate affirmations into your everyday life. These affirmations may include, "If I can say it, I can do it, and I can be it." Getting up each day and saying these thoughts out loud reaffirms the positive thought and allows you to live it. Many people repeat the thought each day at the same time, while others use them only in those moments when challenges present themselves and become overwhelming.

Overcoming challenges is difficult, but this is a vital part of learning more about yourself, who you are striving to be, and what your place is in this world. In many situations, you can employ just one of these methods to overcome the challenges in your life, and in other situations you may need to use a combination. Each person finds different methods of dealing with challenges to work for them, but the power of positive thought cannot be overlooked. This power will enable you to see the good in each challenge or obstacle that you encounter throughout your life."

This is a poem I found on overcoming challenges. I really liked what it said and how it flowed.

I thank thee to the stars,
of weariness and wars...
of hopes and fears,
too far, too dear...
I thank thee from the heav'nly home,
where the cherubs and the angels groan
where faceless monsters face
the distant, traceless lace
of enemies for lorn
amongst the stars are borne
a fantasy of willing truth
that once in years shall sooth
these pains and worries
so no longer hurries
in the hedge of wingless birds
doth fly with winning, silent words.

Here I see the most forbidding fires,
where these hearts of our desires
that we now, here, soon shall hope
of small courages and rope
to climb down...a small frown
fixated delightfully upon my face,
a challenge overcomes the praise
and we shall never tarry more
until we hear the final score
of life's unending wants and needs
like Spring's first blooming seeds
that breathe in great successful threads
like vaporous mist that slowly treads
amongst the thistle-down and sourgum trees
and brings all challenges to their knees.
-JJ Whitehead


Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Weather and Nursing Again

I know I talk about Minnesota weather a lot, but I just can't stop sharing with people how odd it can be. Today was one of those days. It's the beginning of March, 50°F, very dark and gloomy, snow is still covering about 65 to 70% of the ground, and it's raining out. Now that's weird weather. When I went to school earlier today it was pouring rain with thunder and lightning. I guess the good thing about it is that it's melting the snow and washing away all of the dirt. I'm also glad it's rain and not a bunch of snow.

Tuesday and Wednesday I had a nurse working who was just filling in for me because we had some open shifts. It's really nice when I can get someone to cover them. The only thing that is hard about that is when a nurse is working who hasn't worked with me before or doesn't work very often. Then I have to train them in and tell them exactly what I want and how I do things. I usually direct my cares anyways, but it becomes very challenging to have to say every little detail and thing to do. Also, since I rely on others to do everything for me, it can be physically exhausting to talk someone through doing my cares and helping me. That's not to say anything about the nurse or not wanting help from someone new, because I know that they are just doing the best they can and I am very patient about it. It's just another difficult task to handle.


Monday, March 8, 2010

New Movement!

The other day I discovered that I'm now able to slightly bend my right thumb. This is new movement that I haven't done before. It's very exciting to discover new things. I am constantly trying to move and wiggle different things to find improvement. That's how I found out about my thumb. I've explained before how I move things and all of the other things that I can move. If you want to read the post I did on sensory and motor click here. As far as fingers go, I can now move six. An amazing feat for a C-1 C-2 quadriplegic. I've been trying to post videos of these kind of things because it's cool to see but blogger isn't able to use the videos from my new digital camera or my video camera. I have to figure out another way. I thought about uploading them to YouTube and then putting them on my blog. That will be my next step when I get a chance. Hope everyone else had a great weekend as well!


"One of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life you must keep fighting and adjusting if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve."
-George Allen

Friday, March 5, 2010

Losing Staff

One thing that is very hard on me is losing staff. Whether it be to a hospital, another client or a pregnancy, it's always difficult for me to have someone leave. Most of the time the nurse and I have a relationship where we understand each other and have bonded. I know that as nurses, they aren't supposed to be "friends" with their clients but its hard to work so close to someone (full-time is 36 hours a week) and not form any sort of bond/friendship/relationship. I'm sure others with caregivers can relate to my situation.

After someone leaves, the main goal for me is to get someone to replace them. Usually they give a two-week notice. Sometimes it takes a while to find someone and sometimes it happens very quickly. It just depends. In the case going on now, one of my nurses who has been here for almost a year worked her last day on Wednesday and is going to be working at Children's Hospital. I'm very happy for her. I've already interviewed and met five nurses, three of which are going to work to fill the shifts. While it is hard on me to lose staff, it's also hard on the nurses as well to leave.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Beautiful and Sunny

The past couple of days have been gorgeous outside. The sun is definitely getting warmer and spring is on its way. Yesterday the high was 35°F and today it's 37°F. All of the snow is melting and there's giant puddles of water everywhere. It's also revealing all the potholes on the roads from the salt.

I went to a doctor's appointment today. While waiting for my ride, I sat outside in the sun for 20 minutes. It felt so good! It's amazing how we Minnesotans think 35°F is warm. In the fall when it hits that temperature everyone thinks it's cold and puts a sweater on because they've been so used to the hot summer. However, at this temperature in the spring you see people outside in T-shirts because they've been frozen all winter. I wasn't in a T-shirt but I did see a construction worker across the street from the hospital where I had my appointment wearing one.