Well today 9 years ago at 2:30 pm my new life on wheels started. Its something that you can never forget, something that sticks with you everyday and is always in the back of your mind. The hours upon hours of rehab, the countless miles traveled, the days my parents had to take off work to take me to appointments, just to name a few. When something like this hit you blindsided you are left in shock and things are just a blur. I very vaguely remember my hospital stay, but I do remember the doctor telling me what type of injury I had. I thought “oh alright no big deal in a few weeks I will be back to raising hell”. Boy was I wrong- I had no idea what was about to come… I was in the hospital for about a week, then off to rehab. At rehab is when it really hit me... I remember saying to myself “Boy I really did it this time”. I could not even sit up on my own, I couldn’t move either of my arms very good, my legs had no feeling, talk about being scared shitless. During my 2 months at an inpatient rehab facility I had tons of friends and family there to support and visit me daily, this definitely boosted my moral. My support system was (and still is) absolutely unbelievable coming from such a small area that we live in. Do you know the saying things come to you when you least expect it? Well…Rehab was where my wife Brittney and I first started dating. Now that’s some great timing! While I was there, I had one hell of a group of guys going through the same sort of live events as me which helped tremendously. I never missed a day of therapy; I knew how important it was at this time of my life. Did I want to lay around and feel sorry for myself? Yes, but my parents nor my friends were ever going to let that happen. So, my only option was to push through the bad days. As crazy as this sounds, I actually made a few good friends while I was there and a lot of memories I will never forget.
Fast forward to coming home… When I was getting discharged from rehab, I was so happy to come home, but yet so scared. I had no idea how I was going to shower, eat on my own, and all your other daily tasks. My parents had to turn our garage into my new bedroom/bathroom because all of our bedrooms and bathrooms were on the 2nd floor. There were a lot of sacrifices being made in my parents lives at that time and its something that I will never be able to thank them enough for. Home just didn’t seem like home at first, I had a lot of different feelings built up inside and was basically just scared. We all made it work…You have to! I started out patient rehab shortly after arriving home, I wasn’t sure if I would get the same care as inpatient.. Boy I was wrong! Penn Highlands Elk in St. Marys, PA pushed me to my limits each day I was there, which is what I wanted. They would research things and try new activities each time I was there, some activities were a success and some were a fail. I was fine with failing, because then I had something new to work for. I was getting stronger week by week, but don’t get the wrong idea here, I would go to therapy for 3 hours, come home and rest for an hour, and then start working out again. I was doing everything I possibly could to get as far as I possibly could. My point is you need to put in the fucking work to get the results, you can not sit around and think things will come… Because they wont..
After a few months of being home I was finally confident enough to start going out with my friends, but I still had those inner questions. What are people going to think? What are they going to ask me? Will they be nervous around me? At first people were a little leery and didn’t know what to say to me, but I believe its all in how YOU act. I acted my same old self and they lighted up. Yes, sometimes I did put on a show in front of people… Then my parents got the brunt of it when I got home. Time goes on and months go by, it started to get a little easier adapting to my new life. I remember like it was yesterday, my buddies, Beau and John, called and asked if I wanted to do something and I said “not tonight guys I’m just not up to it”… Well an hour later they were at my house, I had no choice. I was doing something with them if I liked it or not. Deep down yes, I wanted to go and do something, but I was just scared. Every time I went I enjoyed every minute of it!
A year after my accident I was talking to a guy by the name of Chris Niles, he went to Panama City, Panama and received Stem Cell treatment. We talked back and forth for a while and I decided I was going to do whatever it took to get there and undergo treatment. This was something that I had to do for myself despite if it worked or not. I just did not want to look back and regret not taking the opportunity. A few months went by and we were on our way to Panama City, Panama. Was I nervous to undergo treatment in another country? Of course, I was, but I had to do it. My grandfather and I were there for a whole month, my wife and mother came for the first 2 weeks. During my month stay I received treatments everyday and very intense therapy. Long story short by the time I left I started getting more feeling throughout my body and my arms/core was really waking up. When I got back into the states it was go time! I was doing therapy 8 hours a day, and was not slowing down until I saw results. Every injury is different though, I feel that stem cell definitely made a huge impact on me(but I also worked my ass of everyday). Others I have talked with said they feel it really didn’t help. I could talk for days about my stem cell experience for days. If you have any questions send me an email and I would be more than happy to answer any!
Here I am 9 years later.. Living proof you can overcome any obstacle life throws at you if you work every damn day at it. I feel that I live a pretty normal life and have an amazing wife and support system. Every day is a new challenge and I have accepted that. My life was forever changed, but I’m not letting this disability define me. What I want you guys to take from this is; Everyone has their own struggle and no matter how hard life gets YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I believe in you! By the way guess what I did on my 9 year anniversary? Went to therapy!