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Newbie - Not really sure how this is all going to be OK. Fell too far.

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    Newbie - Not really sure how this is all going to be OK. Fell too far.

    Hi All,

    I have been following the "Cure" forum mostly but check back in here every once in awhile because this is what's happening right now, "Life". Even if I hate to admit it. I'm a C7, motor complete (sensory incomplete) after jumping into a lake and taking an unnecessary risk 7 months ago that led to my life going from extraordinary to shit in one moment. I see a future of independance and one that will also be void of all the memories of which I thought I would make (active lifestyle, athletic and tireless father, adventurer, etc ). Spare me the "you can still's" because although semantically you'd be accurate, the details will show that you-cant-still is more accurate.

    I had a great and fulfilling life that I recognized and was grateful every day to live. Love, health, wealth, friends, intelligence, and a surplus of all the other high value goods. Self made and dedicated to making my life and that of those around me better in whatever way possible. I had just bought my dream home with my beautiful wife and finish moving in the weekend before I destroyed all that was beautiful. Of course i've had to sell it since there were plenty of stairs (how in god's name can we go to the moon and somehow an 8 inch rise stumps us). And with its sale went all of my dreams and future visions of my next 10 years. 10 years would have included:
    • a family of 2 kids
    • walking kids to neighborhood school
    • a year abroad with family (have taken 1 year off, self employed)

    Now, life is like having a ferrari that I can only drive 10mph. I have all the things I had before but cant use any of them to their full potential. My personal life philosophy was to "color outside of the lines", which is in stark contrast to how I have to live my life now. Indoors, on sidewalks, accessible only, etc. It rips me up to think I'll never reach my potential. To think of all the experiences I would have had that I will now miss out on. To not be able to pick up and hold my child because I have no core. I could name 100 things I can already think of that I will miss out on, let alone all the random beautifyl experiences Ill never have.

    I was 30 and had already achieved a line of major goals:
    • Financial independance, over 250k/year income
    • a year abroad to 18 countries with wife
    • strong health markers
    • dream job with travel at a startup software company
    • found love of my life

    I felt like I had limitless potential and that if I continued to work hard in all areas of my life, nothing could get in my way.

    I never anticipated being a quadriplegic. I've never even seen one.

    I'm doing my best, but it's not enough. I am back at work full time as well as running my business, and in 7 months I've almost worked all the way to independence. But it's not enough. My wife questions wanting to be with me because she cant see a vision of our lives in the future, it's too cloudy (i don't blame her), and our relationship has changed completely. Not being able to even hug someone correctly when you are in this much heart pain is unbearable. I'm a handful. Im not able to be productive with home chores in any meaningfully efficient way. All of the past pleasures that were tools to cope with stress in able bodied life that I had (gym, long hot shower that I could actually feel, sex, hugs) are all gone or defunct to an extent where they no longer serve the purpose. So now, more stress, less tools, less fun, more planning, more accidents, less upside. Life is a shell of what it used to be.

    Here is my question. How the F is this going to be OK? This isnt "normal" so it will never be my "new normal". It's inherently abnormal. How is this OK? How is it supposed to be OK in the future? I realize I "have it better than others" with $ and a strong support network but that isn't helpful to tell me. My experience of the situation is relative only to itself, not other people that are worse off. I read 2 arms and a head by Clayton Atreus and felt like he was singing my tune and that it would all be over soon. I no longer feel like that, but I ultimately feel horribly trapped and powerless. I don't want to die, but i dont want to live like this. What choices do I have? How is this OK? How is it going to BE ok? I'm not who I was before, this new incarnation of ME is horrible.

    please help.

    First 5 years or so are really rough. It's a major change to your life. I'm coming up on 33 years now this May 9th. Been through the mill. It will be a real test of your relationship with your wife. Lot's don't make it as the spouse feels this is not what they signed up for. The ones that do are that much stronger and can weather any storm. Sounds like you really have your act together as far as your career goes and that's a big thing. The most sad thing is when somebody cannot continue on with their career because of their injury, like a house painter or roofer, then they have to change all that too. Keep your head up and do all that you can and maybe take up some new interests like handcycling or anything else you can do being at your level of injury. Just stay busy. Don't get too hung up on what the future will be, just live for the now and make the best of it.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred


      Yoo RIODERBY check yer inbox mate....
      I am not your rolling wheels
      I am the highway
      I am not your carpet ride
      I am the sky
      I am not your blowing wind
      I am the lightning
      I am not your autumn moon
      I am the night, the night..


        Who led you to Clayton's story? I'd feel the same had I read it within the first year of being paralyzed. I question if your wife is truly the love of your life if she vocalizes that she can't see a future with you. No wonder you're depressed.

        Take the time to mourn what you have lost. It truly does suck .. but being as successful as you say you've been, you know that attitude is everything. You can have the largest family, the most money and all the equipment of a major rehab gym but if you don't have the attitude, then you've got nothing.

        I was 12 so I didn't have much to change, but it still felt like starting over. You get a redo .. with less than half of what you had. Challenge accepted or no? What's that saying? Get busy living or get busy dying?
        Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

        T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12


          Hi rioderbi,

          I am a C-7 complete and am approaching 60 years post injury (October 26). After the momentary miscue that resulted in our sci most of us struggle with the Humptydumpty feeling that our life cannot be put back together. Sometime it does happen. I have come to recognize that finding a different but satisfying and rewarding life depend not only personal qualities and experience, but on luck. Just as life includes bad luck that played a roll in causing an sci, unpredictable good luck sometimes happens. I can only encourage you to hang in there. Given time another unpredictable event can happen happen that can put life back on a positive track. I certainly did not end up being the engineer and Navy pilot that were within sight when my injury occurred. But after several years floundering things happened that gave me a new lease on life. You can read about my journey by going to the link below.


          Click image for larger version

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          You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @

          See my personal webpage @


            There is a technique in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) called "Reframing": it means, the fact stays the same, but you give it a different "frame". A friend had told me about it way back before my injury, and it can help a lot. For example, instead of being upset that I can't play the organ any more, I think that playing that instrument had trained my brain in excellent flexibility (coordination of left/right etc.) which now is extremely usefull. But of course SCI is no fun whatsoever and this is just a tiny tool to deal with it, I know.


              Nothing I can say will help you, rioderbi, but your post has helped me. After 65 years of paralysis (not SCI), I have had my share of trauma/frustration and joy. In fact it's almost day to day, but as I look out my window at green shoots of tulips struggling to appear, and my SCI paralyzed husband nearby, it's mostly joy now.
              We try to help each other and our loved ones any way we can.


                I was good friends with Clayton. While I don't condemn him for his decision, it makes me very sad. I think that he could have led a productive, helpful, and even happy life if he'd given his body and mind time to adjust to the shock of the injury... and yes, this can take several years. Those who loved him miss him immensely.


                  Just hang in there and take it one day at a time.

                  Strangely time flies, you do adjust and I promise you it does get better.


                    So when you made your 250K a year you did it without any effort or failures? Every vacation you planned went exactly as you planned? Look back and you'll find how to go forward.


                      I know this may not sound like much, but just listen to me when I say : You'll get there. 7 months is so new and fresh that there might not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there. It took me about 2 years to get a grip on my situation, and even then it didn't seem like much. Next week will mark my 11th year, and I am at the happiest I have ever been. Married last year, bought a new, 25 weeks pregnant. It is all possible, but you just have to be willing to be open to a "new" kind of life. It's different, yes, but it is going to be different regardless of whether you are happy or miserable. Might as well make it happy, right?? I hope that your wife can somehow find the good and happy too. It's really worth it.

                      Sending good thoughts for you.
                      If there is light
                      it will find

                      --Charles Bukowski


                        CurlieQ is so right. The life you have now is very different but it is the only life you will get, live it to the max. You are going through a very natural and healthy period of mourning, please persist to see what's on the other side.


                          Thanks everyone for the kind words. It still looks so dark; I pray that everyone is right and that "it gets better" although I'm not sure how the body feel I have (always uncomfortable) is going to resolve itself. Not being able to share the experiences with my children and friends that I've grown accustomed to seems like it will always be a present source of grief at the front of mind. No way i can run with my kids, play sports, etc etc which was a component of my life that was very important to me that cannot be replaced. How does that "get better" when it can't happen now?


                            It certainly doesn't get better than it used to will get better than it is now. You'll learn to deal with the many, many challenges coming at you. It takes time. Take a year, maybe two, for your pity party. Then figure out how you're going to face getting up in the morning...


                              This is just something that came to my mind, and if it seems weird to you, forgive me. But already the fact that you are sharing your feelings here is a step in the right direction, I think. And if you can go through this all with honesty and courage, your kids will be so proud of their dad.