Disability confidential. Informing. Empowering. Agitating.
Life After Paralysis is a blog that represents a variety of paralysis community members. It is a place for open conversation about the issues and the interests of people living with paralysis, their family, friends, caregivers, and the professionals that serve them.
Comments are welcome!
The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
(Find out more about the contributors at www.ChristopherReeve.org/contributors.)
Hello! I’m Jennifer. At the November Working2Walk conference, Sam Maddox invited me to join the Blog Squad. I was thrilled by the invitation to join the voices I’ve come to know and respect. I am, however, probably mouthier than the other Reeve bloggers. Some enterprising soul might want to start the pool on how long I last. So, let me be clear. Every syllable I type is my own opinion. No one pre-screens my posts and no one approves them. I hope together we have some spirited but civil discussions.
I would have been up and posting here weeks ago if the first post wasn’t “Tell Us About Yourself.” I’m not good at that. If this were a first date, I would have changed clothes eleventy-two times by now. I’ve written this post nearly as many times. I’d call myself a neurotic writer if that weren’t so redundant. I’m just not sure which part of me I should introduce first.
I’m a 50-something mom, disgruntled hockey fan, sun-loving desert rat and T-4 paraplegic. I make up my own words. I drink too much, live too hard, love too freely and I refuse to change any of it. I have an amazing adult son but out of respect for his privacy, I probably won’t talk about him very much. Did I mention he’s amazing? And single? And he never reads a thing I write so I can taunt him without reprisals?
I was injured in 2004 when my then-fiancé and I were shot in a random event. He was shot in the head, I was shot in the back. Another time, I’ll tell you more about that. But I’m sure most of you know this story; life interrupted - the world spins completely out of control and in an unexpected direction. It took me a while to re-establish my equilibrium.
Since then, I’ve devoted most of my time to working on the issues most important to me; fundraising for research to cure spinal cord injury and advocating for more community inclusion, which sort of fits with the Reeve mantra of Today’s Care, Tomorrow’s Cure. I believe in a cure, I work toward that goal. But I live as fully as I can every single moment I’m stuck in this chair.
On the care side, I advocate hard for inclusion. As long as I have to live my life in this chair, I want my world to be as open and inclusive as possible. I serve in some appointed positions to help ensure that the voice of PWD in my community is heard loud and clear. I see barriers as another form of segregation.
On the cure side, I pay attention to the research, attend a conference here and there and I raise funds for research. I’m currently training to join a friend and ride our handbikes coast-to-coast as a fundraiser. While I’m training in earnest for this event, I don’t even own my own handbike. You’ll be hearing a lot about this adventure as we prepare.
I’ll be talking about my views on both sides of the care/cure conundrum as well as other current events and my day-to-day life from trying to find love in a wheelchair (or is my personality the barrier?) to chasing Senators around my state Capitol to be heard on issues. It’s not unusual for my life to read like an “I Love Lucy” episode.
So. There you go. I’m Jen; a twisted, sardonic mess of a human, full of hope and cynicism and ready to share it all with you. I hope you’ll be back to listen.
© 2013 Jennifer Longdon