California, Here We Come

“Some lessons are a privilege to learn, no matter how challenging the course.” 

I wrote that sentence down a long time ago to keep as a reminder. 

What do I mean? Simply that we would likely choose to avoid the pain and challenges of life if we could, but when we can’t… we have the privilege of learning from pain in ways we never could have if that pain had never existed.

It’s something that’s been instilled in my family and me now… ever since my accident – almost three years ago. I think I take more chances now. I think I appreciate the little moment, the quiet moments, a bit more than I ever did. I know I stop and sit to watch sunsets a while longer now, say far more “I love yous” than I used to, and prioritize things far differently than I used to. Because of the pain and the challenges I have faced, that has given me a new appreciation for life, I’ve had the privilege of learning from my pain in ways I couldn’t have without it.

A new opportunity

It’s what has created my desire to make the most of this life. So when opportunities arise, I think a little less rationally now, and (usually) just immediately say yes – always deciding that I’ll find some way to make it work. When this newest chance arose, I did just that. Something I’m nervous but so excited about. In less than two weeks, I’m heading out to California and will be staying there for one month!

It’s not a vacation, though I’m sure it will feel like it is once I get there, it will require a bit of hard work. I am going to a Paralysis Recovery Center – The Perfect Step, in Pomona, California. At this center, I will have the opportunity to participate in three hours of specialized physical therapy, five days a week, for four weeks. 

This is something I’ve wanted to do since my injury, but now the timing feels right. After nearly three years, my surgeries all seem to be done. It’s like I’m some impossible puzzle that’s finally been put all together. I feel healthy and strong and good and ready to see what comes next now that this one chapter has come to an end. 

What’s in California?

But there’s an obvious question that could be asked: Why am I going all the way to California for this? Surely there are clinics just like this that are closer by? And yes, there are plenty of other options for this same type of therapy much closer to home. When it comes to recovery from a spinal cord injury, there’s a huge gap between what is available and what is affordable. These clinics have dedicated themselves to working on improving the effects of paralysis. They make huge changes in people’s lives, helping them to gain new independence, new skills, and a higher level of confidence. But somehow, this type of therapy isn’t covered by any health insurance companies (at least none that I have heard of). This clinic, all the way out in California, has offered me a scholarship that will cover 50 hours of therapy – an amazing opportunity. 

They presented the scholarship to me in an email. Following the offer, they asked, “are you willing to travel here?” So, like I tend to now do, I made a few quick phone calls to my family and simply emailed them back with a resounding “YES” of acceptance.

It wasn’t until maybe a day or so later when we began planning the details of this trip – flights, a month-long hotel stay, rental cars, etc when we began to realize that maybe not thinking rationally at all was a dangerous decision to make. Even with the therapy being covered, the trip was going to be a massive financial undertaking. But, we all still decided, it was worth it. It was something my family and I knew we didn’t want to pass on. However, we did begin to think a bit more rationally. 

As we worked our way through each problem before us, or at least attempted to, a message from the North Country Chevy Dealers, once again, made life a whole lot easier.

The North Country Chevy Dealers saw the importance of this opportunity as well and have now decided to assist in making this possible through sponsoring this trip!

Thankful, grateful, and excited

I’m so thankful to so many people right now that it’s almost overwhelming. I’m thankful to the surgical team and my doctors that have spent countless hours getting me to a point where my body is prepared for this type of intensive treatment approach. I am so thankful to my local physical therapy clinic, who after every setback and every surgery, somehow helps me bounce back to where I want to be. I’m so thankful to have a mom and dad, and the entire rest of my family, who do everything they can to make these opportunities possible for me. And I am so thankful to the North Country Chevy Dealers, who always stand up for me, provide me amazing opportunities, and seem to see as much potential in the opportunities before me that I see myself.

The nerves of excitement have fully set in as I count down these final days before leaving, but I cannot wait to begin. California, here I come!

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