Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

Look Mom! No hands! 9

Just when I started to think that I was reaching a plateau…something awesome happens.

Be sure to listen to the sound on the video below – it tells the more complete story.

Honestly, I have been trying to figure out what’s next. Thoughts are constantly running through my head – wondering how I can possibly do all the things that I want to do. And always it comes back to my body. As I try to twitch a muscle in my glutes, or hamstrings I think of what it takes to make it work. It takes a lot.

Like most people, having a trainer forces you to do the work. The other thing that used to work for me was having a group of people to workout with. Other than having my t4 sisters at Parkwood – that group of like minded (and similarly able) athletes doesn’t exist for me. There are people with SCIs who work out in gyms, but usually they are focused on working out the muscles that do work. I am focused on working the muscles that don’t work.

My window of recovery is still open, in fact, people see recovery long after their initial injury. But like I have said before, you won’t see it work again unless you try.

So this is what happened today. I was working with Marc, on posture in a seated position. Up until this point I have never been able to hold my hands out in front, while seated, without falling forward. Today I found my balance point and was able to sit upright and hold my hands out front. Very exciting!

Then Marc got out the walker. And this happened.

I’ll give this a bit of context. Marc is supporting my hips with his hands – just a bit. Less than in the past, “for sure” (he says). My feet and knees are separated with a medium size ball (to keep the ankles straight and knees apart) and Marc’s knees push against my knees to keep them locked into place (separated by a pillow for cushion).

If my feet and knees are so supported, what’s the big deal, right? Well, considering that all the muscles below my breasts are not supposed to work, my core and hips are working enough to allow me to keep myself upright. Often in the past I would sway back and forth or have a spasm that pushed me forward. Marc and I have even made contact with our heads before.

We’ve done this lots of time (standing with the walker). Often I’ve had to sit down because of the impact that it has on my head (blood pressure becomes an issue) – I sit before I faint!

Today was totally different. I could have stood like this forever. My first reaction (after lifting up my hands) was to try and dance – there is a millisecond of this that you can see just as Ella stops filming – but I’m not there, yet.

Thanks, Marc. You are the best trainer a girl could have 🙂




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