Body Shaming People with Disabilities

Body Shaming

Body shaming is a huge problem in our society and it comes in multiple forms. The fact is that no two people have the same shape, nor were we meant to all look the same. You’re too tall, short, fat, thin, dark, light, or have a physical difference. I don’t know why society feels it is okay to make people think there is something wrong with them. Being a cancer patient I am underweight. I’m also naturally extremely small to begin with. When I’m out with my family and we stop to eat I am very particular because I have to be that way. I have celiac disease and eating any gluten will cause my intestines to swell shut from my stomach. I won’t get into the details, but it’s pretty darn gross and extremely painful. This condition will last for days all from eating one cracker or piece of bread. I’m also a vegan and my food options are limited by choice. There is nothing worse than standing in line and hearing someone behind us snickering about how I’m clearly suffering from an eating disorder and need to eat a cheeseburger. No! I’m sorry that my small stature offends some people. I understand that it has been a problem in society for people who are overweight to feel judged and teased. How is anyone fixing the problem by telling me I have an eating disorder? I’ve often been told that men want meat and not a bone. Men want curves on their women. Hey people, I still have curves, they are only smaller. Read more

Remembering the Why of Standing

Remembering the Why of Standing

I was talking with a mom last week during the IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) meeting, about getting her child into a stander now that he is approaching 9 months old. This little boy has increased tone in his extremities with decreased head and trunk control, very limited use of his arms and hands yet. Mom knew about standers from her private therapist; in fact they were also planning to try one in private therapy that same week we discussed standing. Mom was all ready to try one, but wondered what the stander was going to help him do. Read more

My Top 5 Never-Shared-Before SCI Health Pro Tips

My Top 5 Never-Shared-Before SCI Health Pro Tips

The longer you live with a spinal cord injury, it’s inevitable you become an expert in all-things related to paralysis, and this is exactly what’s happened to me. It’s been 24 years, but I’ve learned a lot and shared a lot. Read more

Avoiding Pesky SCI-Related Conditions

Avoiding Pesky SCI-Related Conditions

When you first become spinal cord injured, doctors warn you a whole host of secondary-related things can happen now that you’re paralyzed. Things like heterotopic ossification and scoliosis, big words with even bigger conditions I really didn’t know a lot about. But I was only 14 and had a lot to learn about what it was like to be a quadriplegic. It’s funny how you think you’re immune to these things. Read more

Living Healthy Doesn't Make Me Healthy

Living Healthy Doesn’t Make Me Healthy

I discovered that after having a spinal cord injury staying healthy is not as easy as it was once upon a time. I was in great shape before my accident and since then have continued a rigorous exercise program and a healthy diet. So someone please explain to me how I am now 36, have a pacemaker, and my wife’s Pops who is in his 90’s is in better physical condition than me. The man sleeps 4 hours a day to wake up and meditate before doing tai chi. Something is seriously wrong with this picture. I know the man lives to humiliate and torture his grandkids and great grandkids with his practical jokes and stalking them to catch every possible blackmailing moment on film, but I spend 2 hours a day in the gym with my wife 7 days a week. Read more

Living’ the Cold-Blooded Quad Life

Living’ the Cold-Blooded Quad Life

When the doctors first told me I was cold-blooded after my accident, I didn’t believe them. “How was that a possible?” I thought. I know one of the worst things in the world happened to me, I broke my neck, but I didn’t transform into an amphibian while I was at it. How can a human be cold-blooded? I was utterly confused. Read more

WHO, WHAT, and HOW vs. WHY? (Now there’s a vague heading)

WHO, WHAT, and HOW vs. WHY? (Now there’s a vague heading)

I suppose this first one’s for me. I’ll take it.

Like every other wisdom-toting, hot-shot twenty-five year old, I have a story to tell. Perhaps coincidentally, as I find myself approaching the 6 year mark of paralysis (having confessed my spinal cord injury testimonial to sweet little old ladies, church prayer circles, pseudo-concerned college professors, and awkward first date subjects ad nauseam) I also find myself stumbling upon a platform. Regardless of its size or prominence, I have a platform. Not a platform of authority, reverence, or of fortuitous counsel (not yet the wheelchair-yoda I aspire to one day be), but one of interested and empathetic eyes that I may have never been privileged to reaching otherwise. Read more

I Can’t Compete with the ‘Super-Quads’

I Can’t Compete with the ‘Super-Quads’

It all started with Tom. He was the recreation therapist at the rehabilitation facility I was living at. He was also a complete C5-6 quadriplegic and roughly 20 years older than me. I was 19 when I knew him, which put him around 39 years old, and despite nearing 40, Tom by far was the most independent and strongest quadriplegic I had ever met. Read more

4 Ways to Chop Veggies When You Can’t Move Your Fingers

4 Ways to Chop Veggies When You Can’t Move Your Fingers

“But but…what about the chopping part?” I asked my OT nervously as I sat in the rehab kitchen while an inpatient at rehab 18 years ago. She didn’t have a ton of options to give me back then, except to use a quad cuff (a sturdy piece of plastic that Velcros to the hand) to insert a “normal” knife or, or to use my tenodesis splint (see here for more). Ug. Read more