Ask Me Anything

I would like to invite anyone who wishes to ask me whatever may be on your mind.  What have you been wondering about my life or the lives of all people suffering from spinal cord injuries?  What have you always wondered but been too afraid to ask?  Erase all thoughts of offending me or hitting a touchy subject.  I am a very open and sharing person so it is hard for me to imagine being offended by someone’s curiosity.  It is also very unlikely that I will be unwilling to answer any questions that may arise but if a question does come up that I do not wish to answer, don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know.  So fire away, let us break down this barrier of fear and promote understanding.

Thank you in advance for all those who want to learn more about my life and all people suffering from this injury.

Colin

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100 Responses to Ask Me Anything

  1. Colin says:

    The concept of human suffering has been on my mind a lot lately. I think there are many levels of suffering. I believe many people create their own suffering and convince themselves they are victims. It is so much easier to suffer rather than feel joy. I don\’t understand why there is such an imbalance concerning the emotion. Why can it not be just as easy to be happy then be sad? It seems to take a lot of energy and focus to maintain a sense of joy from within. Joy hides within the recesses of the soul while anger and sadness resides on the surface easily accessible. Its an odd thought to picture what life would be like if the opposite was maintained, joy and happiness easily grasped, while sadness and anger was something you had to work hard for. This of course is not the case and people must continue to make the choice that they will not suffer. Unfortunately many people are unable to make this choice.Then there is suffering that cannot be justified or explained. Suffering such as the tsunami disaster and hurricane Katrina. Part of me says that these are just natural occurrences, part of life\’s natural cycle of destruction and renewal. There\’s also a theory that says the amount of suffering presently in the world is to do the overall level of consciousness of all people. If everyone in the world lived through the perfect presence of their souls then there would be no suffering.I often like to refer to an instance I read about in Washington DC. A group of meditators hypothesized that if they meditated for a certain amount of time each day that summer than then the crime rate would drop 20%. The Police Department said this was impossible and the crime rate had not been that low in many many years. The meditators went ahead with their plan and sure enough the crime rate drop 20%. Quite interesting I would say.Colin

  2. Lana says:

    Colin,I just stumbled on your site and was enjoying your answer to a "day in the life of Colin" You made me laugh. My ex was a C4 Quad too and I remember when we first started dating he hated the idea of me being at the house when he was doing his program. Eventually I got inducted into the helper hall of fame though! 😉 Who would have thought so many of my favorite memories would be of him on the pot and me sitting on the bathroom floor helping him out?!He had alot of pain too so my heart breaks for you. I used to give him \’butt rubs\’ on the really bad days and would joke that I never imagined I would date a man with such a tiny ass…not fair that it was smaller than mine! Take care and stay strong!Lana

  3. Colin says:

    Lana,I have always figured that when I become involved in a relationship I\’m going to keep that part of my life separate in order to maintain some sort of normalcy. The young female nurses while I was an inpatient, always did get a big kick out of my bowel programs. I used to always ask them if they were ready for the bowel program party.I don\’t really think I want the woman I am intimate with to be sticking her finger or anything else in what were my once "exit only" holes. I\’ve been told this causes a lot of confusion and stress on the relationship. However, I have also met people that don\’t seem bothered by it. Whatever works.Your comments about the butt rubs and the ass comparisons were cracking me up. I have always had a small ass, but now it\’s just ridiculous. :)Colin

  4. Tricia says:

    Please forgive my ignorance, but how much movement do you have in your arms if the injury is at C4? Then next question that I have is about the psychologists/psychiatrist (if any) you have worked with. I have read a few other blogs written by people with paralysis who have the psych people, so I was wondering about you experience with the people in the field. I ask that question because that happens to be my field. By the way I love your style of writing….

  5. Colin says:

    Hey Tricia,No need to apologize. This injury confuses even me so I don\’t think there\’s such a thing as an ignorant question.My C4 vertebrae was the one that shattered but somehow my injury level is at C5. This means from the very beginning of my injury I had partial shoulders, biceps, small amounts of the fore arm and upper back muscles. I believe the upper chest also belongs to the C5 level but I don\’t think I had any chest when I was first hurt.I am also classified as an incomplete injury which literally means I have some feeling in my rectum. I feel extremely blessed to be an incomplete injury because this means there is a larger chance for future recovery. Being an incomplete injury has enabled me to move my arms as much as I do today. I have recovered some strength in several muscle groups but it\’s hard to say exactly where and how much because the progression has not been extremely drastic. When I was first injured I could barely lift my arms from my side but because of my biceps could bring my hands to my shoulders. I am now able to lift my hands slightly over my head but the lack of triceps hinders this ability. I have to move my arms around in slightly peculiar ways due to the imbalance of muscles but my overall movement is not bad.I\’ve seen a total of three psychologists since my injury. The first one was a female who worked in the inpatient rehab facility I was in. She wasn\’t that great, but it still felt good to spill out all of my emotions for someone. The second one was another female at a day program I was involved with. She was awesome. She made me feel extremely comfortable and always had good insights to the things I spoke of. She was also very good at inspiring me and giving me hope to push forward. I now visit another psychologist several times a month who works in the area. This one is a male and he is also extremely good. It gets a little frustrating at times because he really likes to try and get me to solve my own problems. He is simply there to help me work through my emotions. By talking through what I\’m feeling I\’m supposed to eventually figure out the solutions of my own. He does chime in from time to time to push me in certain directions. I always thought there\’s a lot of diagnosing and analyzing involved with being a psychologists but really I think you just have to be a good listener.In my opinion it takes a lot more than a degree to be a good psychologists. I think it takes a certain type person who relates easily with people and is a comforting figure to open up to. You can\’t really learn these things in school.I\’m not sure if my reply was what you were looking for, so feel free to ask more detailed questions.Thanks,Colin

  6. Tricia says:

    You completely answered my question, and really fast too. My brother broke his back at T-9, however he is not paralyzed. He fell through a roof at his job, but he was air life to a really good hospital and had a lot of luck on his side according to the doctors. I have my degree in psychology already, and plan to start on my masters in psychology this fall so I am very interested in everything everyone has to say about the field. My dream job would be to work with people who are injured (more the neuropsych field) so ANYTHING that you have to say is a huge help. I really don’t think you would like me to ask every question I have, I am extremely inquisitive, to the point it is a fault. I do not want to be one of those online people that over step their place, but my last question for you is what do not think makes a good rehab psychologist? Does gender, age or looks play any type of role? Have you ever done art or music therapy? Feel free to email me if you think my questions are too intrusive, or post it on my new space. You can put she is annoying hehe. Anyways thanks so much for your insight…

  7. Colin says:

    "what do you think makes a good rehab psychologist? Does gender, age or looks play any type of role? Have you ever done art or music therapy?"Tricia,I suppose a good rehab psychologist should have somewhat of an idea of what people are going through in rehab. This probably comes along with experience because everyone is very different and deals with lifes situations in different ways. Whenever I talk to newly injured people I really try not give too much advice but rather just listen to how they deal with the situation and then add my two cents. I don\’t think there is a set way for everyone to deal with injuries such as the spinal cord injury. I think a rehab psychologist should advise accordingly for each person.Gender and age probably play a huge role. I believe the main ingredient for a positive relationship between a psychologist and patient is that a connection is established. Some people more easily connect to certain genders or ages simply because they have programed themselves to do so. I believe stereotypes play huge role in our subconscious thoughts and actions. I seem to respond better to females reasons being I\’m quite girl crazy and also the fact that my sister used to dress me up in tootoos might have something to do with it. However, I tend to respond well to all types of people.When I was at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta I did some painting for recreation therapy. I painted a mountain scene and quite enjoyed myself. I haven\’t painted since then even though I said I was going to pick it up. I remember seeing other people doing some music therapy at the Shepherd Center as well but I never participated. They were basically beating on drums and shaking marracas. I loved to play music before my accident and it is definitely something I miss. I have been do several concerts in the past year and they always tend to energize my soul.Please continue to ask questions. I enjoy the discussions.Colin

  8. Anita says:

    Totally different question… I think you could help though. I am having the hardes time downloading pictures into an on-line album. It first worked, but now everytime when I try to do it the album comesback with 0 pictures… Any suggestions…

  9. Tricia says:

    Thanks so much for answering my question so well. It is hard to conceptualize what a person who is in rehab is going thru. In psychology, more so psychiatry, we are quick to pull out the little DSM and place them on the axes. Human nature in its glory then becomes the confound. I am glad to hear you responded better to females than males, maybe there will be professional hope for me after all. I guess sometime I get worried because it is really a huge gamble when you go into a field such as psychology. I am not the typical up tight, quick to give you a diagnose type of person. Sometimes maybe I lean more to counseling and lending an ear than diagnose and give a pill, hence the fact I like psychology verse psychiatry. I work right now in psychiatry, and it sucks…So many people think that there is the wonder pill that will be their salvation from life, but alas, one pill only leads to another pill. My biggest problem is trying to find my niche I guess. I have wanted to work in rehab psych since I was a counselor at a MDA camp here in Texas. Those kids were so strong. I found your site via another quad mans site, he trashed psychology people in everyway, and so I am happy to see your positive take on it. Well I really enjoyed conversation with you, but I really do not have any true questions, more just wanting to poke at your thoughts on the issue. LOL, maybe you can be my consultant when I go into private practice. If it is okay with you I would like to put your blog under one of the ones that I read. Like I said, I am a newbie (this is only my first week) so I am not sure the proper etiquiqe, but I think your positive writing is really cool and will like to keep up with your progression. By the way, I read your website, did you enroll in school and what do you want to major in? I see that you were thinking about spanish, hablas espanol?

  10. Colin says:

    Anita,The help link in the right hand corner of your profile is very helpful. I e-mailed the MSN technical support and they were extremely nice as well as informative. The spaces site in general has some glitches. Sometimes my blog entries don\’t show up when I first try and publish them.Colin

  11. Colin says:

    Tricia,Feel free to put me as a link on your site. I don\’t mind at all.I have yet to dive back into school. That is going to be a large step that I\’m not quite ready for but am by no means forgetting about. I spent three years at Appalachian State University and was taking summer classes up there when the accident happened. Two of the three years I was living up the college life and figuring out what I wanted to do. I finally found my passion at the time which was biology and I was loving it despite the dedication it required. I no longer know if this is the field I wish to pursue. I\’m still leaning towards biology but psychology, English, and writing are also possibilities.Colin

  12. Colin says:

    I have a question for the readers out there. We all have first impressions of people. When we first set eyes on someone there is an instantaneous impression that emerges which cannot be suppressed. What is your first impression when you see a guy like me in a power chair? Do you feel sorry for me? Do you see me as a week, strong? Are you inspired by me? Are you curious as to what happened to me or does an immediate diagnosis of my situation emerge? Remember this is all at first glance. No conversation has taken place, our eyes only lock for a couple of seconds.Colin

  13. Tricia says:

    Honestly, I would think “damn, he is hot, what the hell happened to him.” Then, because I am a very forward person I would walk up and ask you if the situation permitted. There is also the other question, you know the first question the chicks in Murderball asked, but I would ask what happened first. By any guy with a slight Mohawk is worth approaching. What about you, do you approach chicks?

  14. Colin says:

    Tricia,If only every girl was like you. Would you really ask the second question so soon? Do you know the answer to the second question?I can\’t recall ever approaching a random girl since my injury. I\’m not sure the situation has arisen yet. I used to approach girls before my accident but it was always very nerve racking for me. It would probably be even worse now, I\’m not sure if I could do it. Even when I know a girl likes me, I\’m not sure how to ask a girl out. I can\’t go pick her up because I don\’t drive and it is rather embarrassing at all the things she would have to do for me. She would need to be pretty understanding of my situation. I do need a woman though. Can you give me any tips?So you like the Mohawk huh? I\’m surprised how many people like it, especially girls. I never would have thought.Colin

  15. Anita says:

    To answer your question… it depends on a situation… Where are you and what are you doing? If I was hanging out on that beach, and saw you while you where getting on the boat I\’d be like : \’Hey! I have to talk to him.\’If you ended up on my route when I was doing home health, the thought would be definately there, but I could not DO anything about it becouse of the whole patent thing.As for your current situation I know it can be a bummer. The proud Pappa of my girls was in the same situation… And he actually thought that he would never WANT to burden anyone with his disability, and look at the little girls now!!!We met on the internet in a chat room. Neather one of us was looking. In the middle of the night for different reasons, we where just LONELY, and wanted to talk to a stranger about what was bothering us. So we ran into each other.After the inital \’getting things of our chest\’ part, we started discussing Chans Christian Andersen, and the Grimm brothers.I was very imprest, becouse I did not think that a men in the States knew who they where. HE DID. So i was atracted to him instantly. (This was a chat room… No pictures… No profiles).We chatted for about a week. Then my computer broke. My daughter spilled ensure on it. So I went to a friends house, and borrowed his. I told Charlie that my computer was going to be out of order for a week, and if he had to get a hold of me… Here\’s my number. So we talked on a phone for 4 hr. I LOVED his voice. He told me about his disability, and how he lives with his parents, and how he will probobly never leave them becouse of his problems… I LOVED his stories, his way of thinking, even though I\’m a Christian I LOVED his Buddisim… There was everything about him that I LOVED. Still not pictures… He kept on calling for about a week, then I got the flu. I was dying. I felt sick, dehydrated, and had no one to take care of me and my 3 year old… It was July and everyone was out of town. The first day I was not answering the phone when he called, then towards the night I finally did… What do you need ? He asked all worried \’Oh… If I could just get out of bed and get some tea… I\’d feel better\’We lived in two different states. About 350 miles apart. He did not have any info exept for my name and telephone number… Six hr later he made me tea!!! I knew that he was my sould mate. The physical stuff by that point did not matter. The fact that I would have to be the bread winner, and the caretaker did not matter. I knew that he loved me unconditionaly. We moved in together the followng weekend. The following year we had our second daughter (The first one was there from the beginning), 53 weeks later we had our 3rd…Things would get tough, but it\’s all well worth it.So go ahed Collin, and start the conversations. You do have SOOO much to offer to the right girl!!!!Ta ta for now.Sorry for the long comment.Anita

  16. Shannon says:

    Hi Colin,I just wanted to answer your question about what my first impressions might be if I saw you in your power chair. I think because of my profession, I have a tendency to try to "diagnose" people. I hope that doesnt sound bad! Like, when I see a child with autism, I can usually tell he or she is autistic just from the behaviors he or she is displaying. Sometimes I will watch for a short time from a distance out of curiousity. If I saw you in your power chair, I would wonder how you got there. I dont think I would come right out and ask about it though because Im not always comfortable talking to people I do not know. However, I would ask if we were already having a conversation. You discussed in one of your later comments under this entry about how you felt awkward about approaching girls. Me personally, I would have no problem with you or someone else who was in a chair approaching me. Even the dating issue would be based upon that person and not what he can or cannot do. As Kenny mentioned in one of his entries, its the connection that matters over everything else. I cannot say I would have felt that way at age 22, but we all change as we get older. You certainly do have a lot to offer the right girl, and there will be no question at all when that right girl does come along!

  17. Anita says:

    You said to ask:What\’s up?Are you OK??How is your new computer, and all of the good stuff?Hope to hear from you soon,Anita

  18. Colin says:

    I\’m here, just haven\’t felt much like writing. Expect another blog entry shortly. Thanks for asking.Colin

  19. Tina says:

    Hey Colin,I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. For the past week I have been reading your archives on your website and you are an amazing writer. I have read up to June 5 so far. I am amazed at the clarity of your writing and your thoughts – even the ones that came so soon after your accident. I appreciate you speaking of the ups and the downs of what is actually going thru your mind and various points in your recovery. I hope that at some point you read back about those down times and feel like they are a million years away.I read with a lot of interest about “Grumpy Colin” and remembered a time when I considered myself “Grumpy Tina”. And like you, I was only like this with my family. It got much worse when I was 16 after my father passed away. For some reason I could not find it in me to me nice to my Mom. I have no idea why, but even the most simple of questions was answered with an attitude. I would feel horrible every time and wonder why I acted this way. Ultimately I just forced myself to act better to my Mom. It was really hard at first but after a while it became second nature to be with her the way I was with others. Of course everyone has to follow their own path. And actually before I read about your feelings toward your family I was amazed at the fact that you seem to have such a great relationship with your dad (and no, I’m not talking about father-son shower time!). I think that sometimes its just easier to take out our frustrations on the ones that we are closest to. I mean I knew that my Mom was going to be there for me forever – even if I did act like an ass sometimes.Anyway, I am going to continue reading the rest of your story. I just wanted to post something in the meantime. I hope that you don’t mind me sharing some thoughts about your past writing. I look forward to following along with you in your recovery.Tina

  20. Anita says:

    How are you my friend?I hope that I did not hurt your feelings talking about the fire walkers…If you feel it\’s a stupid thought delete the comment.I will not mind at all.It was just something I\’ve been wondering about, and since you are so right on things, I thought it might be neet to see it from your point of view.Anyhooo I realy injoy reading you thoughts… And think you\’ll do great things with your life.The question about your parents was becouse I was looking at your photo album, and thought that there might be a diffrence in how each of them thinks.I also hoped that you did not think that you where being punished for something, or that helping with your healing process was some sort of punishment for them.Take care Collin.Looking forward to your next entry.

  21. Colin says:

    Tina,Thank you for taking interest in my life and my story. I\’m pretty much trying to take the same approach as you did as a young teenager. By forcing myself to the nice and respectful towards my parents I retrain my mind to react to certain situations differently. I believe as humans we can actually become addicted to certain emotions and we accidentally train our minds to react negatively toward certain events or people. I\’m also hoping the more I force myself to react my family and a more positive way the easier it will be.I\’m interested to know how do you come to the conclusion that my father and I have a good relationship? I\’m sorry to say that our relationship seems to be constantly on the edge, on the brink of conflict. It\’s as if we were in some sort of a competition which neither of us knows the prize.Thanks for sharing with me as well.Colin

  22. Colin says:

    Anita,No you did not hurt my feelings at all. I believe the art of fire walking is interesting and profound but it does not quite blow me away. I think there are different levels of what our minds can accomplish that is considered out of the norm. Overcoming pain seems to be on the lower end of the spectrum while curing someone of a spinal cord injury is quite high. It just seems that suppressing energy such as pain is easier than harnessing the energy I need, which is the energy of creation. What is creation? Creation is God. Seems like quite a task to harness God. I suppose this is not the attitude I should have. I suppose I should say the fire walkers can walk on coals so I can walk again. If people can cure themselves of cancer than I can cure myself of paralysis. I believe I can, I believe it\’s possible. If I could only convince myself wholeheartedly than I wouldn\’t be in this predicament. Do I spend my whole life trying to convince my subconscious? Or do I live my life as I am? I\’m trying to do a little bit of both.The question of punishment is an interesting one. Is my family being punished? What do you think? The ultimate question of why do bad things happen to good people? Why is someone I know recovering from a cervical injury but cannot motivate himself to leave the house? Doesn\’t someone like me deserve reward?I\’m not complaining, just giving you some thoughts to ponder over.Colin

  23. Anita says:

    Collin,I will have to think very long about your question.I just gave birth to a very long entry about my own doubts and cures… And I feel drained and kind of strage… it\’s like this blog wrote itself…Speaking of Giving Birth… are you sure about the pain?I will answer your questions soon ;-)Anita

  24. Lisa says:

    Hi Colin, I\’ve been reading your blog for a while now and just wanted to say that I\’ve learned so much from you…please, keep writing. You have a unique perspective (keen sense of observation, captivating articulation) and I know it\’s not as simple as it being from the eyes of a quadripeligic although I have to admit, that is how I found you in the first place. Actually, I have tried to comment a few times but I think MSN or the computer gremlins do not believe I should ever get through to you… You see, my father is a C5-C6 complete and I have a friend who is a C6?-incomplete so I can relate to some of your daily activities with some sort of second-hand empathy (if that makes sense). Or is that like saying, "Hey, you\’re from NC, I know a guy from NC, do you know him?"Anyway, I\’ve noticed a slight drift from the extremely positive, optimistic, at peace-with-one\’s-self Colin and just simply wanted to wish you well. I\’m up for any discussion you would like to have…

  25. Colin says:

    hey Anita,Don\’t feel pressured to answer my questions. They were more or less rhetorical. The ponderings I spoke of cannot be truly answered by anyone that I know of. I am interested however, in hearing your thoughts if you would like to share.Colin

  26. Colin says:

    Lisa,Thank you for taking the time to read my writings. Was your father in a chair as you grew up?Thank you for your well wishes as well. My emotional state is always fluctuating. I try and make it a point to write truthfully and honestly. If I feel like crap I won\’t cover it up to maintain some sort of reputation. Although, I would much rather inspire than bring people down by feeling sorry for myself.Colin

  27. Anita says:

    Colin,I do not want to sound like a person that puts a sign out in their cornfield that say\’s "Jesus loves me yes I know caous the Bible tells me so…"From a reaserches point of view, I always knew that Bible was an unquestionable truth. Yet who created the Bible and other books that are out there of Him?But, there was aday in my life that God spoke to me… The story is not simple… The story is long… I am still writing MY story.Just I wish that I could let you know that you do not have to HARNESS Him. It\’s already been done Colin.Is God punishing you for something bad that you have done? God does not punish! God loves us! He gave us his one and only son, becouse we have failed him over and over… Why did he do that?I asked this for 30 years of my life… Untill last year, Charlie was selling an ashtray on e-bay. Honesty, I thought it was worth NOTHING TO ME. When I found out how much SOMEONE was willing to pay for it my jaw dropped to the floor.He payid how much for that???Anything, or anyone is worth only what someone is willing to give for it.You have read about my little girls, you know that I love them…Supose tonight at church there was a fire, and I had to evacuate the building… Do you think that I as as human being would be able to pick up a stranger instead of my own child?I would die for a stranger, if my children where not in a building, but when it comes to my kiddies… sorry folks! so why did you take that bad fall Collin? Why did it have to be like that?I am not sure.I was born to a mother with a mental disease. Why did God made it like that?Why did my friend have normal families? What was wrong with me?Nothing…Christ can make you walk Collin!The thing that boggles my brain about the fire walkers is NOT their ability to endure pain.The thing that amezas me about the fire walkers is that their FEET do not burn.And for what\’s it\’s worth… You are an amazing spirit Collin. I wish i was as smart as you!!! I mean that.

  28. Tina says:

    Hey Colin,Thanks for your response on my space. I wanted to respond to that as well, but that will be in a different comment. First I wanted to answer your question from below. The reason I initially thought that you had a good relationship with your dad was because the first blog of yours that I read was the one titled The Seminar. I read with interest about the Greg Braden seminar that you went to and you spoke about “spirituality and consciousness, subjects my father and I have dove into lately” and then later in the blog you talked about the fact that your Dad had been trying to convince you to go talk to some of the young ladies at the seminar. So in reading this I had this vision of Father and Son setting out together to find themselves, talking about girls, etc. I know that you will think that this is really corny, but it reminded me of the old, old show “ The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (a show from before your time). The show was about just that – a father and son as best friends facing the world together. The theme song went like this, “People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend, he’s a warm hearted person who loves me to the end now” (And you’d have to know the tune to get the full picture…..) Anyway, its amazing how just reading one blog can skew how you view a person’s reality. As I started reading thru more of your old emails and blogs I realized that my above picture was a little off. And although I still feel that there is a lot of love in your family, I can also tell that there is also a lack of tolerance on your part – which I do think is understandable considering the situation that you are in. I do hope that you are able to come to terms with it some day. And I agree with the fact that as humans we do become addicted to certain emotions and have a tendency to continue to create that in our lives. I am too tired to comment any more. I am going back to read one more of your emails from your archives and then I am going to bed……I’ll be back soon!Tina

  29. Anita says:

    So did I preach?I dont want to preach… Honesty. You spoke of my gift. Yes, it use to be very scarry.It sometimes helps me, it sometimes frightens me, it sometimes makes me worry too much. But I knew that each one of us had this gift, so I am learning how to use it. I am not doing what I use to do when I was a wiccan… I just see it for what it is. Way that God is warning me. But also a way of letting me know that he is with me.I do not think also that God has PLACED me in my mothers arms as a learning experiance, and so that I can take care of all the abused children out in the world… He knew what was happening, protected me, and now is using it for grater good. He turned it into a gift. Like he always does.Sometimes in church people look down at me becouse I smoke.I use to skip church becouse of it.Then one day while I was meditating in a car (and smoking) I heard the DJ say the following words:\’Many peope are afraid of becoming Christians becouse they think that they will have to give up on things\’My mined turned him off and I said to myself:\’I do not have to quit smoking so that God would love me! He does! I will not go to hell for smoking… I will just smell like I\’ve been there.\’Thouse are my thoughts on it.What are yours?

  30. Lisa says:

    Colin,My dad broke his neck by falling out of a tree (stupid accident) during my freshman year of college. He severed his spinal cord completely beneath C7 (knocked it 70% out of place) and fractured C5-6. C6 ended up as many little fragments that they had to pick out of the cord. I was 700 miles away at school at the time and although it doesn’t compare to what he went through and still goes through, it drastically changed my life too. Different perspectives, emotions, questions, etc…I had just begun to taste some parental independence and then suddenly had the desire to rush home and be there to take care of them. However, my dad forbid that I come home from school except during my breaks as planned. I was in a strange state of mind; not always knowing what was going on as he was in ICU for 2 months and rehab for another 4…I almost ended up flunking out that spring and ended up with ulcers. I next went through quite a party stage where I gave up on studying for a while (was such an over-achiever in high-school and had never failed anything before, went through a time-to-enjoy-life-philosophy and a selfish stage.) Blah blah, poor me while it wasn’t really about me. Anyway, I straightened my academic act out enough to get a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry and move on. For a while, I could not live far enough away and needed to live my OWN life but the distance really brought me closer to my family. It’s strange how life can make its way full-circle. Plans change, priorities change, and like you are experiencing, emotions and perspectives change. Some of it is because of the situation; some of it is in spite of the situation. I’ve lived in Iowa, Calif., NC, Mass. and now this year (I’m 30), I‘m back where I started in Michigan specifically to be closer to family again. My dad would probably be dead right now from alcoholism if he hadn’t broken his neck and become sober 12 years ago. (He never had much of an optimistic nature but this really has been a positive turn of events for our family and his health – family irony #1.) Even though my parents still drive me crazy, (I think there always is that strive for independence and separation from our parents to some extent) I have learned to overlook or tolerate differences and actually appreciate them more as I have gotten older. I have really tried to understand my father and the progression of his mental states as much as I can not having been in his shoes. He has quite a life story – from Vietnam, to “foundry rat”, to quad – which I have wanted to record (as much as I can as a daughter) for some time.I guess my point is, I think you are mentally healthier than oh-so-many people out there…disability woes or not. Regardless of your ups and downs, as they are inevitable, you are inspirational because you write truthfully and do have a desire to have a positive effect on others. Besides, I think we all have days we feel sorry for ourselves; who should be any more or less justified? I love your honesty, and like I said before, your ability to express yourself and articulate the details…poop on reputations (you mentioned it).I also wanted to mention, my mother still does ALL of my dad’s care, from BP’s to transfers…Which leads me to ask, have you any options to move out and gain some separation/independence? Regardless, good luck in your quest for independence at various levels. I will continue to read as long as you continue to post…

  31. Colin says:

    Anita,No, you did not preach. I appreciate all that you have to say.I think it all comes down to faith. You have a strong belief in God because you have a strong faith in things that cannot be explained or proven. I struggle with faith because I\’m not exactly sure what it is or what it means. I\’m going to save the subject for my next blog.Of course I do not believe you are less of a Christian because you smoke. I do not agree with your unhealthy decision to do so but I do not judge you either. Anyone that does is not a very good Christian.Colin

  32. Colin says:

    Lisa,Thank you for sharing your story with me.My plans for moving out and gaining independence are very vague. That is a future decision that do not like to think about too much. It\’s hard for me to imagine being this way let\’s say a year from now. My future is a complete blank slate right now which has its advantages and disadvantages. In a way it makes me feel lost but in another way the possibilities are endless. I just can\’t accept that this is the way things are supposed to be. Colin

  33. Tricia says:

    Hi, again, Colin,I have a quick question for you. Keith and I were chatting today and he said that people do stare at him, and that they do not come up and chat (for example ask why he is in a chair ect). My inquisitive nature is taking over, and I was wondering if this is your experience as well. Is it rude for someone such as myself to walk up and just ask you if I saw you at say a coffee shop or something? At the least smile at you and say hi. I mean, I would never do it if I saw you eating with friends or family or anything like that. I just think it is rude to stare, and if you are checking someone out you should say something, hi at the least. Keith agreed, but I was wondering what you think… a different point of view on the subject…I can imagine it would suck to say the same thing a million times a day. Thanks in advance Colin, you have been super cool about answering my 1001 questions that I bother you with…

  34. CallieHuggles says:

    Hi Colin, Yep, I actually started at the beggining….I haven\’t seen you on the help site, but I have been contactin people through there since marc helped him put it up.How are you?My name is Callie,I am a right sided Hemi, due to a brain malformation, now many other DISORDERS it turned out that have been here since I was born, and they just DIDN"T know it until I am well near twice you age ( 41 )I guess it fits though, I have been advocating for human rights and the abilites FOR people with disabilites as long as I can remember… and elderly and children…now it\’s just me who is also..a Professional patient…. ( friend of mine in Canada came up with that term ) found out this year HOW TRUE it really is )had my first Major SCI in 89, too many TBIano now the paraylis, and major spinal cord disease with the brain/nuero problem…I find it so hard to believe how hard it is for someone who is in a wheelchair AND oxygen to be able to be able to get around..because my disabilities involve my brain, and NOTmy lungs, they are very strange on how they provide the oxygen…I would love to introduce you to many friends of mine if you would let me..over 6 countries.. the span the world.. I never imagined spaces could do that, but it gave me over 10,000 visitors in only 60 days and they hae not stopped.. so many wonderful people here..{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{BIG HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}write to me, I would love to hear from youcallie~!~ Let Your Positve Voices Be Heard ~!~ http://spaces.msn.com/members.CalihunAhh, I see, my friend anita has found you to 😉 she\’s amazing too

  35. Colin says:

    Hi Tricia,My experiences with people in public has been that they do not necessarily stare but that they try their hardest not to. Usually they may be looking at me but when we make eye contact they suddenly look away, giving me slight nervous glances. I do not mind people staring at all because I understand it is just out of curiosity. The people that do stare however are also usually the people that will smile at me. I do not think it is rude at all for someone to approach me about my situation. I would actually much rather them approach me then try their hardest not to acknowledge my existence. I say if you want to stare, go ahead and stare. Staring is not rude if you simply smile at someone or say hello. Staring and then pretending you\’re not, is rude.Colin

  36. Colin says:

    Tricia,Did that make sense?

  37. Tricia says:

    It does, thank you for taking your time to answer my MANY MANY questions, your a great guy…tricia

  38. CallieHuggles says:

    Hi again collin{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{ Big Hugs }}}}}}}}}}}}Ohh yes, I sure do have more info than they ALLOW us to have, and even more that you can probably get invloved in, that will help many more with little effort..I like that you are doing the ask questions…I still am strying to figure people out..as I try and get about my way in life, by chair, in the hospital or whatever means I can…I see people stare at me, then look away…I see people worse off then me…The one thing I always do Is smile, and say hello… to children in chairs.. I smile, say hello, and give my hand hello..( Imagne a one or two year old trying to say hello with thier hand and thats me, because of all my neuro problems.. )Being a pette 41 year old, and fairly NON disfugured ( considering ) I don\’t consider myself SCAREY looking, but people just don\’t seem to ackowledge the fact that a Human is looking back at them..One day… One Voice at a time.. Humans will understand..Accidents or Illness, People don\’t make Choices to be Like this, but it\’s the SYSTEMS that are broken..and HUMANS that will make the changes…and ONE VOICE at a time, ONE person at a time…things WILL change for the POSITIVE{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Blessings and Hugs }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}Callie~!~ Let Your Positive Voices Be Heard ~!~http://spaces.msn.com/members/Calihun

  39. Tricia says:

    You should be the model for wheelchairs. I know that Kenny wrote about how he wanted to do it, but I have decided you should do it. When you sign your multimillion-dollar deal can I be your manager? Promise I will be good.

  40. Colin says:

    Model for wheelchairs huh? I can dig.OK you can be my manager, but no nude photo shoots. The world isn\’t ready.Colin

  41. Tricia says:

    Deal…

  42. Kris says:

    Colin, First off, I love your site. You are so expressive, and your range of emotions seems to be so well-represented. This forum is such a healthy way to work through those emotions, and you have oviously heard many times how inspirational your words often are. I work as a nurse in a hospital where I have encountered patients of all ages who have both new and old injuries which have left them disabled in some way. I have seen them try to begin the arduous process of coming to terms with the changes in their lives, and I have met many who have overcome with grace and found within themselves reasons to continue to live life as fully as they can. But I see many, as well, who seem to refuse to begin to accept what comes next. Especially young people (by young I mean below the age of, say, 45). I know there is a grieving process akin to the stages of death, and I know that there is so much going on inside that I can do little about. But I really have trouble finding ways to reach out and to be helpful with the transition when I can. There is so much anger (rightfully so) and that is often a bit scary. I don\’t feel there is some magic word or phrase that will "fix" their life or something, but how can I best help these people? Thank you for your openness. It is the most brave tool that will open doors for the rest of the world to see how much life people confined to chairs still have. Your journey is extraordinary. Thank you for sharing.-Kristine in Florida

  43. Will says:

    Hey bro.  They pretty much said it all.  I took a while to read what everyone had to say.  I hope, and I\’m sure, you will take the time to read all of the comments.  Much love Colin.  Take care.  I will call soon.
     
    Will
     
    P.S. I love the pictures from Costa with you and Benny…even though I wasn\’t there it still brings a smile to my face to see you and Ben straight chillin\’ like we did back in the Boonetown days. 
     
    Ciao.

  44. robert says:

    Colin,
     
    Great writting, keep it up. Your perspective on life and it\’s important subjects is dead on. Develop it, be patient and your perspective will grow. Go forward and never give up.
     
    I too use "It always works out" and it does, always.
     
    Are you familar with the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act? If not we need your help getting this piece of legislation passed.
     
    Peace,
     
    RWM C5/6 ASIA d as of April 25, 2002

  45. kelli says:

    My uncle Phil was paralyzed on one side by a brain injury from his third surgery to remove a brain tumor. . . and within a few months, he died from the cancer.  He was only 35.  Because I was so far away for school, I never saw him during the time he was functional enough to be in a wheelchair.  Having discovered your blog, I can only imagine what he must have gone through. . . but knowing him, I think he probably handled it with some of the grace and honesty and faith that I see reflected in your posts. . . you are doing amazing work! 
     
    I know someone who is paralyzed from the neck down in a fall, as well. . . my question pertains to him. . . in the time I have known him, I have witnessed a dramatic increase in his weight, as well as being present when other friends have helped him purchase food and then fed him. . . I am of two minds about this. . . I imagine that what little sensory experience he has left includes the pleasure of food and I am reluctant to deny him that, but at the same time, I feel like I am doing him a disservice if I participate in feeding him the copious quantities of junk food that he requests, as his extra weight is not good for his health. . . do you think this is a reasonable response?  am I a horrible person for being uncomfortable with feeding him?  which takes precedence, enjoyment or health?  So far he hasn\’t had to ask me to help out, because he has had others doing so, but if it comes up, I don\’t know what to do. . .
     
    Thanks!  For taking the time to read this and for being so honest.
    –Kelli

  46. Matt says:

    hey Colin I saw your blog and saw you play quad rugby  I also play and just wanted 2 say hey if you need 2 chat or anything add me 2 msn ozziemat101@hotmail.com feel fre to add me and chat

  47. Unknown says:

    Colin:
     
    Great site…I applaude you on your efforts.  I was born, rasied and still live in Charlotte also, my father was one of the first Tarwheels, way back in the 70\’s.  He was injured in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.  He is paralyzed from the waist down.  Growing up basically my whole life with these men that where injured and a very few with birth defects playing alot of basketball (that\’s all they had in the early days), So guess I have a different perspective on things.  I just wish my father had an outlet like this when he got hurt.  Sure it was 35+ years ago but the scars for me are still there none the less.  This type of injury changes everything for everybody in your family.  But we have to adapt.
     
    I am able bodied and a few years ago I finally got to go snowskiing with him.  That was the best day he and I ever had together.
     
    Just remember the row may be hard to hoe, but you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
     
    Best of Luck and go kick ass…just be careful and take care of those knuckles playing ball. 🙂
     
    Kriste

  48. katie says:

    Hey Colin,
    My name is Katie and I noticed your site completely by random on MSN.  I was curious and looked into your site because a very good friend of mine had an accident at my house last summer which has left him paralyzed from the mid-waist down.  Honestly, paralysis has never been a part of my personal life or affected anyone I know very well before so it\’s all very new to me and I have been trying to research into the whole thing. I even tried to be a human research subject for reflexology training but couldn\’t handle the sensations and had to stop going which turned out to be a funny story actually but I won\’t go into that now.
    Anyway, since my friend\’s accident, a lot has happened obviosuly. We have remained in pretty good contact but because we live about 200 miles from each other it\’s pretty hard to have regular contact and I miss him immensely. He\’s not the same person and it\’s hard to relate in the same way we used to, obviously because we don\’t live the same lives anymore.  I just find myself walking on pins and needles when I\’m around him and trying to stay away from certain conversations such as partying (we\’re still relatively young 26 & 30 yrs old), what outdoor activites I\’ve been up to, and simple everyday conversations that we always took for granted with each other.
    An odd aspect to his accident is that no one that was there at the time has any idea what happened to him, including him.  It was late night (3:30am), and he wasn\’t around for about an hour, which wasn\’t out of the normal for him, and all of a sudden we found him in my side yard lying on his back and couldn\’t move.  We have all speculated what could\’ve happened but no one has any clue for sure. So that\’s hard during conversation and with his family.  
    I don\’t really have any specific questions for you, I just wanted to talk to someone who knew where I was coming from….but from the opposite end of the spectrum I guess. I miss my friend and thought you would be a good person to talk to.
    I\’d really appreciate anything you have to offer. I\’m sure you\’re super busy with everything so take your time and I appreciate you listening. Thanks again
    Katie
     
     

  49. C says:

    Hi Colin,
     
    I was doing a little web surfing at work and ran across your space.  I found it interesting and informative to read your blogs and that of some of your friends.
     
    My husband Steve is a paraplegic (T2-T3) and 50yrs old.  He has been in the wheelchair now for 25yrs.  His injury is high- he is paralyzed from midchest down; he says he is basically a quad with arms.  I can tell you that he has not let SCI deter him from his passions in life- most of them being women and hunting!
     
    He is an avid Bowhunter and Firearm hunter.  We have many beautiful pictures from his hunts and some very cool trophy mounts- from Whitetail deer to antelope and bear.  He currently uses a compound bow, but is considering going to a cross bow soon. 
     
    Should you or any of your friends be interested in persuing the outdoor sports of hunting and fishing, I hope you will check out a couple of organizations that can help- Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America; Wheelin Sportsman etc.
     
    He has seen alot of changes in medicine as well over the years in helping those with SCIs. If you arent aware of it yet, ask your doctors about ED meds (viagra, cialis) inre to your personal lives (girlfriend/wives)-  they do work for some SCI men. 
     
    Dont get me wrong- he has days when his paralysis and all that it emcompasses can be a huge drain on him. Sometimes our plans have to change or be modified because of physical and/or enviromental restraints. As he says, "this wheelchair business is not all downhill and wheelies".  After 25yrs in the chair, he suffers from arthritis in the wrists and shoulders and those joints are pretty worn out.
     
    By the way, it was one of his hunting pictures posted online that I saw and met him and we have been together for a year- just getting married this past memorial day weekend.  He is getting me a compound bow as a wedding gift and is going to teach me to shoot as well.  We are hoping to become involved with a local archery club and to shoot as a husband and wife team.  I want to learn, just so I can get good and kick his butt!
     
    If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to ask- I am sure he would be happy to share some of his experiences and he might have some insight that his years in the chair might help you or your friends with!
     
    Take care and good luck to you and your friends!
     
    Colleen
     
     

  50. Liz says:

    Hi Colin,
     
    Have you ever looked into Shake-a-Leg? It\’s a second stage rehab summer program out of Newport, RI for adults with spinal cord injuries.  \\If you get a chance check it out at http://www.shakealeg.org.  If you like what you see or are interested in more you should come down for a visit.  If you\’re looking to gain some direction for the future, some new friends and some unbelievably fun memories, then this is your place. I can\’t tell you how many lives I\’ve seen this program change, including mine.

  51. Unknown says:

    I TOO BROKE C-4 I DID THAT WHEN I WAS 15 NOW I\’M 41 .I WAS LUCKY I ONLY HAVE FUCTION ON MY LEFT SIDE .IT HAS NOT STOPPED ME FROM ANYTHING IN LIFE. I THANK THE GOOD LORD EVERYDAY . DO NOT LET THIS STOP YOU FROM YOUR GOALS IN LIFE

  52. Larissa says:

    Hey Collin,
     
    A highschool mate of mine sustained a gunshot injury to his spinal cord at the age of 12 (now 31). I came accross your site, and looked into the link you posted regarding olfactory-tissue transplantation for sci clinical trials being performed in Portugal. The patients that have been treated are ones who\’s injuries were caused by a trama/force to their spinal cord. Would you know off hand if injures to the spinal cord as a result of a puncture wound are treatable through this procedure or would this treatment not be of help in such a case?
     
    By the way, you are an inspiration. I only had the chance to read a couple of your posts as I\’m sitting in the middle of lots of work, but the couple that I\’ve read certainly influenced my perspective on life.
     
    Peace.
     
    LT
     

  53. amy says:

    Dear Colin,
         I was on a break at work saw your space on msn and decided to read it(I\’m glad that i did) . how you manage to stay so positive most of the time is better that great and I\’m frankly in awe(autograph please:))…….I have about a million questions; and am not really sure of which ones to ask. Ive never really had any contact with anyone with a spinal cord injury.
    Did flirt with a guy in a chair the other day; he just sort of looked freaked out and ran off…(I promise I\’m not that bad to look at) so I was wondering if maybe I did something wrong…..
     
    Amy

  54. celeste says:

    Colin-
    You\’re an amazing person, reading thru your blog has inspired me and made me feel as though I take so much for granted.  You have given me a much needed reality check…I love the fact that you are not allowing yourself to give up on the things you had enjoyed prior to your injury, it\’s very moving that you still go out there and give it a good old heave ho! Best wishes to you!
     
    Cheers!
    -Celeste

  55. Unknown says:

    D-Mannose for UTI\’s google it.

  56. aishwarya says:

    hey colin i think ur a gr8 guy it really takes alot of courage to move on in life.. i really wonder if i was in your place wud i have been able 2 even survive a day… jst wanted 2 say ur gr8 guy n kep d spirit up and u relaly are an inspiration to alota ppl.. GOD BLESS U all my wishes are wid u…
     

  57. Beth says:

    Hi Colin
    Great blog, you really are an inspiration!  As I was reading your blog about hiking, you said you were in the Catawba National Park and that got my attention, my husband is from Catawba County – Hickory actually…so I kept reading and really enjoyed your adventure!  Maybe you should think about writing for a living – books, maybe a newspaper column?  You\’ve got a great style, kept my attention anyway!  Good luck with the Shepard Center – I\’m just north of Atlanta and I\’m familiar with what they do, pretty great and I hope you enjoy your trip to San Diego!
    Keep the faith…
    Beth

  58. Unknown says:

    Hi,
     
    I read your article and was truly moved.  My daugther will be 30 years of age on June 17 and was injured at age 13.  She is a C-5 complete.  She finsihed school, college and law school.  She was employed as a public defender but has lost her job due to serious pressure sores.  She married, got pregnant and lost the baby when she was two months old.  She is at a low point right now but continues to fight.  I have given her your information and I am sure she will like reading about someone as determined as you.  Continue to to what you are doing.  We have a strong faith and belief on God  and He does  have everyting in control although we may not understand.  Please feel free to contact her at alexia21@aol.com.  I am sure she would love to hear from you.  Sincerely, Linda

  59. Colin says:

    RWM,
     
    I am not familiar with the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act.  What does it entail?
     

  60. Colin says:

    Hey Kelli,
    that is a tough situation.  I too would have discrepancies in your situation concerning feeding him junk food which I know is not good for his health.  Honestly, it  probably would make me sick to my stomach just watching.  If one already has a low metabolism, it\’s hard to keep the weight down when confined to a wheelchair but of course it\’s not impossible.  Many people just don\’t care, and decide since they\’ve been handed their situation then they should be allowed to have an excuse to be unhealthy.
    Unfortunately, I have found that it is very hard to change people.  As soon as you try and change someone they usually grow immediately defensive.  Maybe you can try giving slight hints and then observing his reaction.  Something like, " You know, this stuff isn\’t very good for you".  If his response is, " I know, but I don\’t care", then what can you do.  But, if he shows signs of possibly wanting to change then maybe you can offer your assistance in helping.
    I agree that it is a delicate situation.  Most of the time, people must decide for themselves to change.

  61. Colin says:

    Hey Katie,
    I can relate to what you\’re saying about you and your newly injured friend not having much too relate to any more.  I have lost a great many friends since my accident but most friends do come and go in life.  You know certain people in your life at certain times and then you move on.  It\’s very hard to keep a friend your entire life.  Now I\’m not saying you should not be friends with this person anymore.  If you guys are true friends then you should be able to work through this transition.  I think it\’s probably important to create new experiences with each other so that you can relate to more than what once was.  After spinal cord injury it  is like a whole new life has begun and the past is but a distant memory.
    Try not to be apprehensive about what you say around him.  The best thing you can do is be open and honest about your curiosities and questions.  I usually feel most comfortable around someone when they\’re willing to talk about all the uncomfortable things with me, because to me these things are not all that uncomfortable.  The only reason they are uncomfortable is because the other person is avoiding them. 
    I can understand you not wanting to talk about things he can\’t do.  In my situation, I take it upon myself to try and make the other person feel comfortable in a conversation.  What kind of a friend would I be if I wasn\’t willing to talk about their lives and interests?  Just know that all the responsibility does not lie on you to make conversation comfortable.
    I hope that helps a little bit.

  62. Colin says:

    Hey Elisabeth,
    It\’s a little too cold up there in Rhode Island for me.  I get cold really easily.  Plus I am kind of looking for a place that is completely focused on recovery and not so much independence.  Thanks for letting me know about it though.

  63. Colin says:

    LT,
     
    I cannot be sure of your friend is eligible or not for the surgery.  The two main requirements are you must be Asia A or Asia B(Asia scale measures level of incompleteness) and you must only have one injured area which is no more than 4 cm long.

  64. Colin says:

    Amy,
     
    I tend to like it when girls come up and flirt with me, but that\’s just me.  Some people are just paranoid and think that any girl who talks to them is just trying to be nice.  Even if they are, it\’s still a great opening.  🙂

  65. Unknown says:

    Hey Colin,
     
    I haven\’t posted on your site in quite awhile, but I\’ve been checking your blog to see what you\’ve been up to.  I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear about Project Walk.  The Portugal surgery also sounds like a great opportunity, but after checking out the link to PW you posted, it seems to me that is an ideal fit for you.  I\’ve followed your blog since you first started, and while I realize I don\’t know you personally, I have read about your struggles with paralysis, and how much you have been trying to find a way to better your situation.  Project Walk seems like just the thing you have been looking for.  I can\’t wait to see your pic on their site in the near future!!
     
    I was wondering…how are things with your home aide?? I recall you had hired someone new, I was wondering how things were? Do you have a good routine established??
     
    Hope to hear from you soon,
    ~Andrea~ 

  66. Pati Mooring says:

    Colin,
     
    Your injury sounds very familiar.  Our friend back almost 5 years ago was thrown 40\’ from a vehicle in a drinking and driving accident.  He is very much like you.  He never lets anything get him down.  He recently stood up for my husband in our wedding.  I noticed in some of our pictures that you are water skiing.  How hard was it for you to learn and have you tried snow skiing yet?  Where did you find a water ski like that one and how were you being pulled?  I could go on and on about the skiing for hours asking questions.  Sorry if I bore you. 
    Our friend was very athletic before his accident and it changed his life.  He doesn\’t really get into any of the same stuff you do.  I really don\’t know why.  I guess he is so busy with work, friends, and family he doesn\’t have time.  Anyways, your story is quite amazing and I\’m really glad that I found it.
     
    Regards,
    Pati

  67. Colin says:

    Hi Andrea,
    thank you so much for continually keeping up with my Blog.  Even though we do not know each other, the fact that you have stuck with me all this time means a lot to me.
    I tend to not talk about my dealings with nursing aides much in my Blog.  I feel like if I did write about it I would start personally attacking someone which I feel I shouldn\’t do publicly.  Not that my current aide is all bad or anything but it is a tough personal relationship a person in my situation must deal with and there are many ups and downs.  Any time you\’re with someone for such an extended amount of time and they are constantly doing things for you, it can get rather annoying.  I am on my third aide right now and he has a great heart and is a great guy.  Somewhat of a routine is established but it could be better but it could also be a lot worse.  No one out there is perfect so I try and hold a lot of forgiveness in my heart when things don\’t go exactly how I would like them to.  People in my situation tend to get rather obsessive compulsive.
    Take care,
    Colin

  68. Colin says:

    Hi Pati,
    I water ski with the Adaptive Sports and Adventure Program.  They supply all that is necessary.  For quadriplegics who cannot hold onto the rope, the rope is attached to the front of the ski.  There are two bullhorns attached to the seat where I use my biceps to hold on.  I use my balance and upper body strength to shift from side to side to turn and stay upright.  It\’s quite an adrenaline rush because if I fall I pretty much have to wait for the jumpers to flip me upright.
    I have not tried snow skiing yet.  It probably would be too cold for me.
    I think it\’s sometimes tough for people to get back into sports after spinal cord injury.  Sometimes it\’s depressing for me because it is not nearly as much fun as able-bodied sports.  Plus in rugby everyone is so much faster than me.  I used to always be the best or one of the best when I played sports now I am the worst and there\’s not much I can do about it.  Maybe your friend feels nothing could compare to the old times.  I myself try and have fun however I can even if it\’s not as fun as before.

  69. Larissa says:

    Thanks for your response. It\’s really cool of you to take the time to get back/touch base with all of us who have left comments/questions in your site!  😉 
     
    LT

  70. Amber says:

    Colin-
    Good site! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.  This will now be one of my regular stops.  I really appriciate your positive outlook dispite your difficult situation.  It is encouraging to hear your stories.  My 19 month old daughter has some special needs which are quite different from yours but the same in the way that she too will have to keep fighting the good fight to have what she wants in life.  It is a comfort to me to see what amazing things the human spirit can accomplish and overcome.  It gives me confidence that my daughter can & will find her way as well. 
     
    Also, I was very interested to know how you managed to make a guest book on your space.  (I asked about it a few days ago in your guest book- wrong place for questions- so I thought I\’d ask again here.)   Could you tell me how it\’s done?  I would really like something of the sort on my site.
     
    When you get a chance, please check out my site and let me know what you think. 
     
    Thanks,
     
    Amber 

  71. C says:

    Hey Collin,
     
    I have been kind of following your site since you were recently profiled.  My husband is a paraplegic- has been for 25yrs. 
     
    Since we are newly wed, I have been researching some web sites that offer alot information and support for not only the disabled but for their spouses/carers.  I am not sure if you are familiar with this particular site, but thought you might be interested. 
     
    http://www.apparelyzed.com/
     
    Take care!
    Colleen
     

  72. Missy says:

    Hi Colin,
    I\’ve been reading your blog for a little while now and really enjoy your open approach and how you  make the everyday interesting.  I was just wondering what options do you have when your  personal assistant is not quite what you had in mind?  Is there a limit to changes? 
     
     

  73. Colin says:

    Hey Missy,
    There is a limit to the changes if you have specific types of people you want.  For instance so far I\’ve only used males.  There is not many males to choose from among nursing aides so my options are limited.  So far none of my aides have been perfect.  I\’m not sure I\’ll ever run across the perfect aid.  Everyone has their flaws and their positives.  My first aid was a really good driver but a totally boring person and not much fun to be around.  My second aid was fun to be around, good at the care, but lacked dependability and had no drivers license.  I won\’t openly talk about my current aid because he is still my aid.  But I will say, he is very dependable, and a great guy with a good heart.

  74. Missy says:

    Thanks for the prompt response to my question.  I had a couple of others about dating.

  75. BP says:

    Just curious if you use NaturallySpeaking for the majority of your writing? I myself use it for 99.5% of everything which I write.
    Billy

  76. Shelly says:

    Colin,
    I can only imagine the pride and amazement you felt when you were walking… keep up the good tough work!   I had a question… in looking at your photos, I noticed in the group labeled after accident, it looks as though you had much more use of your arms then.   Why is that?  i.e. picture of you and therapist on table you are leaning on your arms.  Picture of you looking "crazy" in hospital bed with hands on your shoulders and mouth open.   I was just curious does your arms get weaker and tend to take on a mind of their own every day from the date of injury?   O.K .well keep it up!  Glad to hear your doing your best!!  Hey… ever tried Yogurt?   I have a friend that used to get uti\’s all the time Dr. told her to eat a yogurt a day and it kicks that bad bacteria right out… Shes gone 1.5 years with out a UTI!!  Just a thought..
    Thanks for being so open to us all!
    Shelly
     

  77. Colin says:

    Hey Shelley,
     
    At the present time I have all the movement and strength I had directly after my injury plus a great deal more.  It\’s hard to tell exactly how much strength I have gained just looking at the pictures but I think it may seem that way because I am laying down in a lot of them.  Rest assured however that I have made vast improvements since my injury.  My dad and I are looking into getting a digital camera to record some of my upcoming progress.
     
    I have never heard that yogurt prevents UTI\’s.  I will look into that.  Right now I started taking a high concentrated cranberry pill which I hope will help.
    Thanks a lot for the comment.  Take care,
    Colin

  78. Unknown says:

    Colin,
      Ouch, another UTI!  Darn Microbes!?! Have you considered a superpubic catheter?  My friend, C-5 one year post injury, had it done before he left rehab. It\’s a very simple procedure and totally reversable.  He hasn\’t had a UTI since it was put in place…

  79. Colin says:

    I am surprised your friend was so willing to do such an operation so early after injury.  I\’m not nearly ready to make such a change to the natural state of my body.  I also would do not want to limit any healing that may take place.

  80. Unknown says:

    It\’s people like you and Christopher Reeve that turn my stomach, you act like you\’re the only people on earth that has ever been paralyzed. I\’ve been paralyzed for 26+ years, never have I begged for money to help with my recovery. You ski and do many other activities, you have it much better than the thousands of paralyzed people in the world who have way less than you. I doubt this makes your web site about your inspirational story, but just in case, Colin is not the only man paralyzed people.

  81. Unknown says:

    Colin, As I\’m sure many others have told you, you\’re an inspiration to any human being. I\’m sure that\’s especially true for those who have personally experienced an injury such as yours. Thank you for sharing your story openly and with such honesty. You make me remember to be thankful for everything that I take for granted each and every day. I pray for many blessings and miracles in your life. ~Sarah

  82. aperfectplace says:

    Hi Colin,
     
    We could use your help , we are a start up company and we need about 2,000 sales associates across the country.  We are spreading affordable solar energy all across the country.  The company actually allows people to use our solar energy panels and because they don\’t purchase the panels… they actually save money, they simply continue to pay the same rate they were paying the day they register to be considered and get to lock that rate in for the next 25 years..   It is really wonderful… win-win-win   the earth wins (cleaner air and less risk of global warming) ,  the consumer wins (the average homeowner will save about $10,000 on electricity in the 25 year period the panels are on their house, and the sales associates win.. because this is not pushing anyone to do anything that they don\’t want to do…. everyone wants to save money and have clean air.  You can work from your home and make a great living.  This is not a piramid.  This is the most joyful sales experience that I have ever had.  Can you imagine that for every house that we switch over to solar that it is the equivalent of taking 47 cars off the road in reduction of pollutants in the air.   If you  like speaking on the phone with peole who are knocking on our doors to find out more about this then we would seriously love to interview you over the phone.   E-mail me when you have a 15 minute window of time open…..   you can work part time or full time… we would simply love to have you inspire us all and have fun changing America.

  83. aperfectplace says:

    Hi Colin,
     
    Just after I got off your page from offering you the job, I had a thought flash through my head.  My friend sent me some stuff that is supposed to be really fantastic for nervous injury for stroke sufferers and the like.  If you would like I will send it to you.   When I heard the stuff she told me it sent goose bumps up and down my arms….. I do believe that we are the eyes, ears and hands of God… so perhaps this is his gift to your recovery because I was looking forward to using it.. .but your injury is much greater and I would love to send it to you and see if this was true inspiration or not.   e-mail me your address and I will wrap it up as a Christmas present .. but please start taking it the day you get it… the scientist who worked on it were supposed to have received a Nobel prize on their research….   you can call my friend Gloria and ask her … she knows more … I am getting chills as I type this… so maybe it is angels flapping their wings with joy…. I pray it helps you on your journey to a full and joyous recoevery   karen

  84. aperfectplace says:

    Hi Colin,
    It\’s me again.. and this is my first night on this… I clicked on because I saw your story on some other page I was opening up and it sounded pretty inspiring… anyway I don\’t know if you can see my information or not or how to use this really so if you want me to send that stuff which Gloria sold me… just send your address to gosolarnow@yahoo.com

  85. Oscar says:

    Hi dear friend Colin : my name is oscar , and I have a spinal cord injury too….pleaseeee I would like so much can speak with you.
    Because I would like too ask you all my history, I\’ve 18 years on wheelchair, please write an e-mail to : oscar_urp_2001@hotmail.com
    I want to speak with you …and I congratulate you for all that you do it!!!   Very Good Colin !!!!  I admire to you !!!
    Take care you so much!!! and good luck in all.
    Please don\’t forget write me an e-mail. please!!
    Bye

  86. Laura says:

    Hi Colin, I have felt a strong emotion towards you since I first came across your site last week, to the point where I had an elaborate dream that I traveled the world to come and visit you. I am very touched by your honesty and strength, I think you are such a beautiful person. Im a bellydancer from NYC and I had read that you too loved to dance, and continue to do so at concerts..I felt it would be great energy to dedicate my saturday night performance to you, since you too have bought light into my heart. I performed to a packed house, greek/armenian live band, and held your spirit in my heart for the whole performance. I hope you felt the love in some way.Also in your honor I donated all of my profits for that night to the NTAF under your name.If you are ever planning a visit to NYC, please email me and I would be very happy to have you come to one of my shows, or have a cup of coffee with you..I read that you grandmother passed away and you regretted not being able to get better aquainted with your Indian hertiage. Perhaps this can be another goal, to build the strength to be more mobile and visit your family\’s land, which I know to be full of amazing people like yourself, not to mention the art and history which Im sure you will admire greatly.Peace and good thoughts,: )Jordan

  87. Karla says:

    Hi, Colin!
     
    I\’m going to try this again, since my last attempt went to nowhere land.
     
    I\’m probably one of those people you\’re expecting from the increased traffic of having your Live Space as one of featured Spaces on MSN. Your Space did indeed catch my attention from that little promotion, and I\’ve read a lot of the comments here in the \’Ask Me Anything\’ area, as well as a few of your own blog entries.
     
    My very first exposure to SCI was when I was a child, and picked up the autobiography of Joni (pronounced \’Johnny\’) Erickson – now Erickson Tada as she has since married. Joni was also injured in a diving accident, when she was in her late teens. While I was able to comprehend at that time that she had no feeling below her shoulders and that she would require a wheelchair, I didn\’t know how truly life-altering it was. Folks in Evangelical Christian circles might know of Joni; she\’s appeared on the Billy Graham Crusades and has her own ministry. She testifies to finding strength and courage in her faith in God and Jesus\’ mercy.
     
    My second and perhaps more personal experience with SCI was when I was in grade 8, and my homeroom teacher broke his back in a skiing accident with the school. When he returned to teaching the following year, we got a crash course in his injury, which was from the waist down. He talked a little about his time in the hospital and in rehab; how he got to learn how to use the chair, and a little about his bladder-emptying regimen. He showed us how he could transfer himself from his wheelchair to another chair. He also allowed some of his students to take a spin in his chair, doing turns and attempting wheelstands. I got to try; was surprised how easy it was to manouver, but couldn\’t manage the wheelie. (I was just too small – no leverage at all).
     
    Thanks so much for sharing your story so open and honestly. I\’ve been really impressed with what I\’ve read so far – especially on the pages of the \’Ask Me Anything\’ area, because I can see you\’re serious about it. Your answers are thoughtful and respectful. You see, one of my hobbies is writing (original compositions and fanfiction) and I recently took the bold and frightening (stupid too?) step of writing a character who\’s been SCI. The circumstances surrounding that injury and the level (L1) are totally different than yours, but I have some questions when it comes to rehabilitation:
     
    Through my own preliminary (and rather basic) research, I understand that in a rehab center, the everyday regimen is tailored to the specific needs and injury level of the individual. Other health concerns such as bladder and bowel, sores and pressure points would be common across the board – the only difference being how one manages those concerns, i.e., catheter program, etc.
     
    I\’ve seen a website that has a lot of illustrated exercises for building one\’s own exercise program which was somewhat helpful to me.
    But with the therapists that work with the SCI \’patient\’, what sorts of stretching and muscle-building exercises are utilized? Specialized equipment and their names? Can the equipment be adapted for home use, or is it exclusive to the center? Can a friend or family member be trained easily to take over some of the rehabilitation work? Do you feel comfortable having (initially, anyway) a total stranger working with you to move your limbs when you\’re unable to do so yourself? Is it a team of therapists? I noticed in some of the pictures, you\’re in an area where others are also working out. Is therapy always in a \’group\’ setting? Are there any one-on-one physical therapies?
     
    Please don\’t feel obliged to answer all of my questions; if there are any other websites you can recommend for further information, I\’d be grateful.
     
    Thanks in advance for any and all answers you can provide.
     
    Peace and God bless,
    TC

  88. Julie says:

    Hi Collin,You don\’t know me and I don\’t know you…..but we have one think in common.  I have a brother that has had a spinnal cord injury.  Its been 2 Years since his car accident and he lacks inspiration to keep going (in my opinion).  He has stopped taking all his meds and doesn\’t take proper care of himself (also my opinion).  My family and I am not sure how to talk to him about this situation.  When ever my family tries….he always gets defensive and angry.  I am not sure how to really handle this situation….I care about him so much and don\’t wanna see him hurt himself any more by nit taking his meds and all.   Do you have any suggestions on how we can get through to him?

  89. KL says:

    I just had a freak accident on 12th Nov 2006 snapped my C4 and damaged my C3 and C5. I was in traction for 3 days while the doctors discuss treatment and we were preparing for the worse but I was extremely lucky according to the doctors. The first time in Malaysia that they are looking at full recovery after such extensive cervical damages. Right now I cannot lift my arms but day by day I am regaining more and more use of both my arms. It is good that I came across your blog because it made me feel the possibilities of full recovery FAST is possible. God gave us a second chance and like you I need to discover his purpose for me. People tell me that my recovery is like a miracle, well I want the whole yard stick 100% recovery and fast. I am hoping to be able to lift my hands by Christmas but I guess that would be asking too much since the nerves grows 1mm per day and I have only hundreds of mm more to go lol! Take care and get well soon faster!!!

  90. Joe's Place says:

    colin, Hi their I guess since we have similar injuries I just want to say hang in their. My problems start at c-3 to c-6 and t2-t3 and L4-L5. I have been told by 4 neurosurgeons to just remain a drug addict   (legal). For the risk of paralysis is greater with any kind of surgery. I\’m a Vietnam Vet, yes a little older but pain and tragedy do not dis-criminate.Well Agent Orange is taking it\’s toll as well,spinal stenosis and degenertive arthritis. So hang in their drop me a comment, and we\’ll have the young and old sharing spiritual bliss in uncertain world. Joe

  91. Joannie says:

    I have been through a lot and I\’m still fighting. I have survived 2 bouts of cancer, having my right leg amputated below my knee and now I have been diagnosed with COPD. Sometimes it\’s hard to keep on keeping on….but I am a survivor and it sounds like you are too. Just never give up. I\’m trying to find some good exercises to do to help my breathing, all ideas are welcome. send e-mail anytime.
     A friend,
    Joannie

  92. Colin says:

    Hello TC,
    I\’ll be glad to help you out if I can. First off understand that therapy is going to be different depending on what kind of setting you are in. Inpatient therapy is going to be different than outpatient therapy and a recovery program is going to be much different than both. Inpatient is primarily focused on preparing you to go home. All strengthening is geared towards a functional goal of independence. Your family also learns many things so that they can take care of you in a safe manner. Outpatient will be a little but more focused on strengthening but functional goal\’s are still present. A recovery program is going to be entirely focused on getting you better.
    "With the therapists that work with the SCI \’patient\’, what sorts of stretching and muscle-building exercises are utilized?"
         Stretching and muscle building will be much the same as an able-bodied. Lying on one stomach is always a good stretch for the hip flexors. The imagination is a limit to muscle building exercises. In a recovery program much of the muscle building will be based on fundamental development, such as sitting in balancing, kneeling, crawling, standing, and walking. I believe this to be much better for recovery than weights.
    "Specialized equipment and their names?"
         Gate training systems such as the locomat and a total body workout machine called the giger have been proven to help recovery. Other more standard pieces of equipment include hand bikes, standing frames, the nustep, and a functional electrical stimulation bike.
    "Can the equipment be adapted for home use, or is it exclusive to the center?"
         Creativity is the key to adapting to the home environment. Most equipment will be found at the gym.
    "Can a friend or family member be trained easily to take over some of the rehabilitation work? "
         I believe so but I\’ve struggled with this. I would much rather have a professional.
    "Do you feel comfortable having (initially, anyway) a total stranger working with you to move your limbs when you\’re unable to do so yourself? "
         I never felt uncomfortable.
    "Is it a team of therapists?"
         It depends on what type of exercise you are trying to accomplish. The higher level of injury the more help you probably need.
    "I noticed in some of the pictures, you\’re in an area where others are also working out. Is therapy always in a \’group\’ setting? Are there any one-on-one physical therapies? "
         Most of the time but I\’m sure you can hire private therapists. I like the group setting for motivation.

  93. Colin says:

    Hey Julie,
    That\’s a tough situation. It was the same way for me and my family and still is for many things. My dad would always tell me that I\’m going to walk again and it would frustrate me so badly because I maintained the belief that I just didn\’t know, I still don\’t know. He would also try and get me to do certain exercises that I knew would be good for me but I wouldn\’t just because he was pressuring me. My parents have learned that the more they give me my space the more I make the right decisions.
    I would like to believe that people eventually find it within themselves to make the right decisions and escape negativity, but unfortunately it doesn\’t always happen. It takes a drive to want to improve and better oneself before it can be done. What would your brother like to accomplish? Maybe he could use a mentor, someone with a similar injury level and such to talk to him.
    If you say he gets defensive and angry when confronted you probably should not push those particular buttons. Possibly just sit down and talk with him without giving much advice but just listening to what\’s going on. In the end he has to make his own decisions whether they are the appropriate ones are not. All you can really do is be listening ear, be there for him, and hope he makes the right decisions. After listening for a while or just backing off completely you may be able to guide him in the right direction.
    I hope that helps a little bit and good luck. Feel free to e-mail me anytime.
    Colin

  94. Karla says:

    Colin,
     
    Sincerest thanks for your most gracious response to my inquiries! You truly made my day (well, it\’s late night where I am now, but who\’s counting). You were detailed and thorough – even adding things I hadn\’t even expected or anticipated. Blessings on your recovery process, and a blessed Christmas season to you and your family.
     
    Peace,
    TC

  95. Unknown says:

    Dear Colin,
    My name is Marina Grohmann. I am a parent of a child with CP and an owner of a company called Ablegaitor. My friend has T12 SCI. My mission is to put people with SCI in upright position and start walking. I do have an incredible device made in Europe called Dynamic Parapodium "walking stander" that allows people with SCI up to C5 level stand and walk independently. Pease check out our web site http://www.ablegaitor.com. I hope you would share this information with other SCI people to help them to find cure and get back on their feet. We send free DVD/CD and more information on the device. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
    Thank you very much
    Marina
    http://www.ablegaitor.com
    (888) 858-5289 toll free

  96. Unknown says:

    Where do you live, or attend therapy?
     

  97. Colin says:

    "Where do you live, or attend therapy?"
     
         May I ask the basis for your question?

  98. lil says:

    HI  Just wondering if you have a list of  friends on your live spaces page as i would like you to invite me as a friend…Cheers THE  ABSINTH GREEN FAIRY…..

  99. Pastor jizzheroff says:

    I\’m sending you power of healing from god Colin.Say this prayer with me,and who ever can hold hands with you at the time we pray. ready??? God, we come to thee in faith.Let your healing powers surge threw colin as a healing bolt of lighting.We know this to be done as of right now.AMEN! God bless u colin in jesus name. pastor james aikman.

  100. Quinton says:

    WELL FIRST AND FOREMOST I WOULD LIKE TO SAY STAY STRONG AND PLEASE CONTINUE TO POST BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO BE ONE OF MY GREATEST INSPIRATIONS IN MY TIME OF RECOVERY ON NOVEMBER 20TH 2009 I WAS IN A CAR ACCIDENT THAT SHATTERED MY C4 VERTEBRAE AND I BROKE MY T6 AND T7 VERTEBRAE I HAD TO HAVE SURGERY WHERE THEY HAD FUSED MY C3, C4, C5 VERTEBRAE TOGETHER AND SO FAR IM MAKING PRETTY GOOD PROGRESS BUT I JUST WANNA LET YOU KNOW THAT SO FAR IVE BEEN READING UP ON SOME OF YOUR POST\’S SO I WILL CONTINUE TO DROP IN CHAT LATER BYE BYE.

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