When we live with disabilities or debilitating conditions, it is sometimes hard for us to focus on our health because we are focusing on what is plaguing us. I want us to look through the eyes of possibilities not defeat regarding being disabled. Until I became disabled with a spinal cord injury, I didn't pay much attention to people in wheelchairs, using walkers, or those who required special care.
Being disabled allowed me to use food as a weapon against my health. Once I became a part of the disabled community, I saw life through another vantage point. Being disabled brings new challenges to our lives. Disabilities can cause us to depend on people or require special equipment to get around.
I began to despise having to depend on people. I blocked out of my mind anything I did not want to remember. What does that mean? It means I would set up mental blocks for things I chose not to remember. I could not accept that I was not able to work or get around like I did before.
I mentally blocked out a tragic situation that happened to me, so I wouldn't have to deal with the pain of my injury and being disabled. We don't hear much about inward pain, but pain is real. One quote I always use is, “Pain is an indicator that there's something wrong.”
I was overweight and I owned it. I did not have high blood pressure and my back was not hurting. I was in good condition, just overweight. I could handle my weight, but one day something happened to me that I could not handle. I owned a computer school, and one day I was sitting in my office doing paperwork, suddenly a car came through the wall. I look up and saw the wall being separated from the ceiling. The next thing I knew, my credenza, the copy machine, the bookshelf, books and everything else came flying towards me. My mind froze, I couldn't imagine what was going on because I was in my office and this shouldn't be happening.
When my mind regained consciousness, there was a yellow car sitting right in front of my desk. I jumped up in panic. I wanted to get out of what was left of my office but I didn't know how. My office door was blocked and the door jamb was caved in. This was the only entrance and exit to my office. I looked down at the floor and there was a small hole. I knew I had to get out.
People who saw what happened came running to help. I could hear them pounding on the front door. I got down on the floor and begin to crawl through this small hole that no human, fat or skinny, could fit through. I needed to get out, so I forced my body through the hole. Each time I pushed my body into the hole, I felt like I was shredding my back into many pieces.
Eventually the paramedics arrived. As they asked me questions I was trying to get up off the floor. I wanted to stand up but I couldn’t get up. They kept telling me not to get up, they didn’t want me to move. Finally they started an IV and put a board underneath me. They continued to instruct me not to move. I kept requesting to get off the floor, so to keep me still they tied me down, head first. I asked someone to call my secretary. She came and I told her to stay there and secure the school. They took me to the hospital and I was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury.
I’m telling you this because it wasn't until I started my weight-loss journey in 2015 that I remembered what happened to me. Who could forget something as traumatic as a car coming through their office? I did. It was only as I was working on losing weight that I began to fully understand why I was on a walker. I realized I had pushed the incident totally out of my mind because it was painful. I had to remember this incident in order to move forward.
As a result of the incident, the doctors instructed me that I was never to pick up anything over 5 pounds because of my spinal cord condition. In 2003 I was with my dad who was dying with cancer. One day he fell on the dining room floor at our home. I didn't think about my back or my spinal cord, I didn’t think of what had happened to me. I saw my dad on the floor and I rushed and picked him up and carried him to a chair. My back, once again begin to burn like fire.
Disabilities can be mind-boggling. They can be the result of things we have no control over. But be encouraged that no matter what your situation is, you are respected, you are superior and you can make it!
The school incident happened in 2002 and because I was already overweight and now on a walker by 2005, it began to drain all of the life out of me. I slowly developed a behavior of always feeling full. I started eating just enough to survive, and my body began to store fat for me to live. My story became worse after the death of both of my parents. I hid what was going on in my mind because I did not know what was happening to me. I was ashamed that food was controlling me in a negative manner. In 2015 I talked to my doctor and exposed my eating disorder.
My disability was not over eating or binging, but it was eating only enough to allow my body to be in starvation mode. Since that day I have been managing my eating, I make sure to eat enough daily to keep my body from going into starvation mode. We don’t always choose what is going to happen to us, but today I am free. We can make a conscience decision to move forward in our lives, no matter what. Today I have made my decision, which is to move forward with my life!
Just take one day at a time, eat right and exercise. You might ask how can I exercise or eat when it is hard to get around or prepare food for myself. The same way I do. I exercise in my bed. I prepare food that is easy for me to carry and handle on my own. I stopped despising my condition and realized I could do better with my life and health and that someone is worse off than me. At that point, I begin to think positive thoughts about who I am and what I want to do with my life. I started losing weight and exercising, and it feels GOOD!
We are tenacious and have the drive in us, no matter what life throws at us or
how big or small our bodies are; we will move forward. We are bigger than life’s
disappointments and good health waits for us. Being healthy is who we are!
We won’t let disabilities or debilitating situations stop us from enjoying life,
and taking care of our health. Just as the doctor supported
me, I want to support you. If you need support finding a way to move forward
with a disability, remember you are not limited by your
because you are 'light on your feet-push your foot up against mine,' I support