Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

Thankful (again) 6

I know that I have used this title for a post before, maybe even more than once, however I feel the need to do it again.

Recently I joined an American SCI facebook group – and it has been fascinating (and crazy) reading. It has caused me to think about how grateful I am, yes grateful. Every SCI is different. I ride the FES at Parkwood with two other women who have the same level of injury and yet our levels of pain, sensation and function are all very different. I am grateful for having the sensation and function that I do have – because so many people with SCI are in way worse shape.

So here are some of my most recent reasons to be thankful:

Mentors: As I have written before, one of the most challenging things to figure out is how to make your body do what it is supposed to do without any muscle function. Specifically, bowels and bladder. I am fortunate to have learned not only from nurses with years of experience, I learned from Chris, a dietician with an SCI – lived experience. This FB group is full of peers – who you can share with (if you wish) – but you should only follow mentors. I read posts from people who don’t understand how important it is to “retrain” your bowels and end up waiting a week or more between bathroom days. WTF? How can you do that to your body? I learned from the best about the importance of routine.

Ontario healthcare: This is not a paid political statement. I know that healthcare funding changes every time there is an election, but I also know that no matter what – we have it good. I was allowed three months in rehab – specialist SCI rehab – which made all the difference in my ability to come home ready (more or less) to be home. Some people I have read about had weeks. Weeks! I can’t even begin to imagine. I supposed that partly answers my wtf from above – not enough time in rehab to understand the importance of such things.

Physio: Again, I’m lucky to be able to afford to continue with physio several times each week. One day in the exo in London, one day in the pool with Tammy and one day at Glassier’s with Marc. It is because of Marc and his creativity that I am able to do this (with my super sticky spidey hands) :

My kids: They are fun, helpful, loving of me, Theo and each other. The latest bit of fun is dancing and singing to “try not to dance” on Youtube  – we all failed on the first song!

My skin: Reading about people who are dealing with major skin issues like pressure sores leading to hospital stays, MRSA or sepsis. My skin (and my habits of movement, diets and hydration) mean I have not had personal experience with these very serious medical conditions. Thank goodness.

My voice: I love using it to speak and to write and hope to continue doing so. Writing for The Citizen has been a challenge because it can’t just be another blog post – and I like being able to put a “local” spin on things. Speaking as a Rick Hansen Ambassador means I reach a wider audience about accessibility and much, much more.

So much to be thankful for. Think about what you have got – and say thanks.





  • Jean Langley says:

    Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope 2018 is an even better year for you.

  • Susan Allen says:

    This is wonderful, Julie!
    PS this is a new email address not sure you have it.

  • Susan Allen says:

    Sorry, I meant “This IS wonderful!”

  • Helmut says:

    Wow Julie this is amazing your journey in full and now seeing you are standing. You are an inspiration for many.

  • Terry Sillick says:

    Hi Julie. I keep following your blog weekly and I am always amazed at how you take on so many different rolls. Your many contacts and enthusiasm to help others is very inspirational to me. I can relate to your experience at Parkwood though I was only there three weeks to get a prosthetic leg. Looking forward to your blog in the future. All the best to you and your family in 2018.

  • Ernest Dow says:

    Great (and grateful) that you are stewarding your considerable gifts well. May 2018 be ripe with promising new possibilities for you!

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