Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

Time 6

Although occasionally I still think that maybe I will wake up and this will all be gone, it has been long enough now that I have realized the truth. This is not a dream. Today is three weeks. It sunk in a bit more today because I met some people here at Parkwood that also have spinal cord injuries. Some that, like me, have new injuries, some that have been here long enough to get an electric wheelchair (watch out) and some that were former patients. The guest speaker was Lee Thibeault, who two years ago crashed his motorcycle and became a paraplegic as a result. He had a lot to say and I will write about it more later – but let’s just say that SCIENCE IS AWESOME.

The woman who sat beside me has been in her wheelchair for 13 years. She rolled into the rehab ward with such confidence that it reminded me of me, when I would walk into a new place and know exactly what I was looking for and who to ask. It made me realize a couple of things. The first being that three weeks into a spinal cord injury is no time at all. Every day since all this began, one, if not several different people have said to me that it is going to take time. My usual response is “I am not a very patient person”. But maybe this is a different type of patience. My lack of patience is usually about the actions of other people – things that I really have no control over. Now my patience has to be with me. My body, my mind and my soul.

My spinal cord is likely still in shock. All those cells jared to the point where they no longer recognized what their job was. Maybe with enough time those cells will “straighten up and fly right”. My bones slowly knitting themselves back together, or in the case of my spine, learning how to deal with titanium. My mind often hurts. Physically (that whole landing on your face thing Dr’s say causes head trauma) and I have had a headache every day but one.  My mind also hurts because of all the processing it is trying to do. I tried to go to sleep tonight before I finished this post, but my mind could not slow down, even with a sleeping pill.

And then there is my soul. It aches for the people I love and it wishes that they didn’t have to see me go through this. No parent should have their adult child turned back in time. My soul craves for their company, but I know that soon they will have to go about doing their normal lives and I will have to pass the time here working and learning how to be the new me. To be the one who confidently rolls into the room. That will take more than the time I have here at Parkwood. There will be no discharge date for that.

Note: very little proofreading has been done on this page.  Sorry.


  • Julie,
    I've been reading your blog and following your great friend's updates. We're all thinking of you and Theo and the kids and are just horrified that this happened to you and that you're having to go through all of this now. Your courage and determination are just amazing and we're just wishing you all the best in your recovery. Sending you all hugs, Monic, Aaron, Daven and Madyn

  • Being patient with ourselves is the hardest patience of all, I think. I hope you are able to find ways to 'turn off' sometimes and get some really good sleep. Glad to hear there are people to share with who know and can hopefully lend inspiration in the journey ahead. Hugs from the Stevensons.

  • Your posts are so easily consumed. I have been thinking of you a lot this past week and from your posts get a small glimpse of what you are going through. Your strength, spirit and wisdom shine through these posts.

  • Erin Despard says:

    Julie, thank you for starting this blog. I am so glad to hear about how you're doing, from you. You've said that you are doing this for yourself, but it is also a gift to hear your brave, intelligent voice coming through. Wishing you hope and strength and patience and comfort. Erin

  • Bill Hamblin says:

    Julie, I have just now heard of your terrible accident.

    During the years we taught together at Madill the signature line on all my e-mail was the following quote:

    "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars.”

    You are poised for greatness. The greatest lessons you will ever teach now lay before you.

    Fight the good fight strong soul.

  • Ernest Dow says:

    Praying with the apostle [who himself suffered much physical trauma and abuse at the hands of others]: "May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…” (Col. 1:11)
    Thanks for sharing! Graciously allows others (us) to be privy to your struggles. Hope headaches subside soon.

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