Chapter 1

When I arrived home late Saturday night, I felt as if a grand adventure had just ended. More than two months ago my dad and I stepped out of the front door to find opportunity and the results were amazing. I discovered the multitude of avenues life can take you down simply by opening your eyes and looking for it. I discovered that dreams are meant to be found and sought-after no matter what. Even if all of your senses tell you that the dream is unattainable but the thought cannot be shaken, the act of reaching will inspire growth of all kinds, dreams are reached and new ones are made. I popped my comfort bubble and said anything is possible, and for once I fully believe it.

As I stepped back through the door of my home the house had a strange quality to it. Dusty, stale, and oddly quiet with a strong sense of familiarity and comfort yet I felt like a stranger among the surroundings. With no heat the air was chilly and a cold draft hung in the air. A house which was once a thriving organism had become still and lifeless. But despite this and the disconnected emotions, it felt good to be home. I felt a sense of relief, now able to breathe in my experiences and absorb the journey which had just taken place. There was also a sense of safety having completed the long journey unscathed and without major malfunctions.

I couldn’t believe the adventure was finally over. My mom and dad slowly gathered the things from the van and began to bring the bags inside. I sat still and peaceful pondering my recent experiences and settling my energy into my new environment. I thought about the people I’ve met, the places I have been, and all I had accomplished but I hadn’t been pondering long until I already found myself saying "now what?" I then realized that the adventure was no where near over, and entering the front door of my home only concluded Chapter 1 of this odyssey I am on. Many more experiences lay ahead and thousands more opportunities to step outside the comfort zone and make new discoveries. The past two months have made me envision what is possible and know that these possibilities are clearly within my reach but at this point the exact plan of action is beyond me.

Do any of us know the plan and the pathway to reach for our dreams? I know that I must continue intensive exercise if I am to continue making physical progress, but I’m still not sure of the exact place I meant to do this, if there is an exact place. I thought maybe this recent trip would leave me with some sort of an epiphany, but I find myself still questioning where I belong. I tried my hardest to simply go with the flow while at Project Walk, but my analytical mind was constantly churning secretly taking note of all aspects of life which I was experiencing. I knew that I did not need to make the decision at the time but in the back of my mind the question of "Am I meant to be here?", was always there. Mostly this led to frustration, taking me out of the moment as I tried to discover what the future would be like. But it comes down to the fact that one just doesn’t know what a living situation would be like until the move is made.

A more important fact which remains is the fact that after my Project Walk visit noticeable improvements in my physical recovery have been made. My lower back has kicked in and gained in strength along with the rest of my entire core. Upper body strength has improved greatly leaving me with broader shoulders and more filled out chest muscles, which also has more activated muscle fibers. The muscles in my upper back have strengthened as well as elongated down my spine. The improvement in my legs are somewhat tricky. I can say for certain that the connection is stronger but as far as physical strength it’s hard for me to personally say. However, the trainers tell me that they have strengthened so who am I to argue?

Our recent stay lead to all these improvements plus almost every day I experienced brilliant sunshine and the Pacific Ocean only five minutes away. You would think that with the above reasons to consider I would be packing my bags as soon as possible to move out there and it’s a good possibility that this may happen. I am sure it would be a great decision which would lead to great things, but I still have further exploring to do. In my gut I feel that this is what I meant to do at the moment. My strongest desire is not to make a permanent decision right now but to keep exploring, experience new things, new people and new places. Through these experiences, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open, as I follow the lead of a higher power and ultimately this higher power will make the decisions for me.

Another option of exploration came about quite by surprise on our long trip back from San Diego. It was our plan to stop in Austin Texas, same as the initial East to West Coast trip, to spend a few days visiting the spiritual energy healer. My first visit was an awesome experience and it left me feeling rejuvenated not only physically but spiritual and mentally as well. I’m not sure exactly how it works but very simply he explained it as sending light into the body and replacing the darkness which is caused by illness, injury and what not. This takes place at the molecular level targeting the root cause of your ailment. After I expressed the simplicity of the process he told me that "God is very simple, it is people who are complicated". This "simple" process all comes quite naturally to him as it is a gift given from God, and his entire life is devoted to sharing this gift with those in need. There is no ego or pride in his voice and he is probably the most peaceful person I’ve ever met in my life.

I sat in the Austin hotel room a few hours after a healing session and I could feel the energy flow into my legs and down into my toes. Tingling sensations and warmth spread through my body and the effects of the God-given gifts of this man were clearly apparent to me. I began to think that maybe it’s not exercise which is the key to my recovery but a man I somehow came across through a series of divine coincidences who possesses healing abilities. Each visit certainly increases my faith of recovery more so than any exercise session I have ever had. I hopped onto google the next day and began to look for recovery centers for spinal cord injuries in the city of Austin. Sure enough I found the Brain and Spine Center located at Brackenridge hospital. After several conversations with answering machines my mom, dad and I decided to just stop by and pop in for a visit.

We arrived at Brackenridge hospital really having no idea where we were going. We parked on the side of the street and immediately after exiting the van I saw a man in a power wheelchair scooting down the sidewalk. I asked him if he knew where the Brain and Spine Center was and he wasn’t really sure but he told me to follow him. I entered a building right across the street from where we parked and asked the receptionist where to find the Center. Surprisingly I was exactly where I needed to be and only had to hop on the elevator and go to the fourth floor.

I came across a small sign notifying me that I found the right place and entered. The room was about 5% the size of Project Walk and I have to say that my initial observations were not one of great impression but I remained open-minded. I talked with a young woman who ended up being the physical therapist for a few minutes and I loved her enthusiasm and hospitality. She directed me to the occupational therapist who heads the program and she came out of her office like a tiny bubble of energy. We talked for at least an hour about recovery, my experiences and what I would like to accomplish. She was very knowledgeable and I liked her immediately. I told her it would be great if I could work with them while I was there, she agreed and said she would see what she could do.

Sure enough strings were pulled and the next day I experienced a two-hour "play session" at the Brain and Spine Center. The therapists were both very creative and I really enjoyed working with them. Their techniques are very different from both Project Walk and Beyond Therapy but the goal was basically the same which is neural recovery and knowing that recovery is possible. I knew Austin would be a city I would visit periodically but never did I think it could be a place to live. I love the city in itself and it contains great energy. It has a small-town college feel but still contains all the aspects of a big city. The Brain and Spine Center is a relatively new facility and the foundations are still being laid but I believe it has great potential and I could possibly accomplish great things with the teamwork of them and the energy healing I would receive on a consistent basis. So many wonderful options to choose from. So many paths I could go down. I feel blessed to have all these doors to choose from.

I’ve now spent several days back at home and relaxation has been my primary concern but I’m getting restless. On Friday I have an appointment with Carolina’s Integrative Health, which is an offshoot of Carolina’s health-care system that focuses on overall wellness and health through alternative therapies. I know they will be able to set me up with acupuncture and nutritional counseling but I’m also hoping that they can help me to continue my recovery training. I had said my main focus when I returned home was to get healthy. Unfortunately only a couple days after arriving home I began to feel the effects of a urinary infection. The bacteria Klebsiella continues to haunt me. I’m staying off antibiotics as long as I do not have a fever, but the current side effects of bladder spasms and constant irritation are quite annoying. I am now on a prescribed antibacterial called Uroquid but I believe nutritional counseling may be key to solving this problem.

Thank you for all those who were able to make it to the end of this long update. I also would like to thank everyone who has visited my blog recently due to my recent feature on MSN. The kind comments mean a lot to me. Many times I no longer feel like sharing my journey but knowing that there are people out there who gain strength from taking part in my ups and my downs keeps me writing. I’m just a young man trying to find his way in this life. No matter who we are, we all suffer. I am not trying to give people a reality check to their own lives. Everyone has their own fears to conquer and battles to win. If God would like to place me as a character of inspiration than so be it, but I’m no different than the mom raising a family, the teenager growing up, or the billionaire trying to make a profit. We are all one, we are all the same, spirits traveling through space and time trying to find our place in this world.

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9 Responses to Chapter 1

  1. Lessie says:

    "Even if all of your senses tell you that the dream is unattainable but the thought cannot be shaken, the act of reaching will inspire growth…"

  2. Chas1049 says:

    What a great site. I also saw that you are featured on the Best of MSN. congratulations on that! I wish you all the best next year.

  3. Jason says:

    Thanks for sharing man. I\’ll keep you in my prayers.

  4. joannie says:

    so glad to see that you have continued to grow and follow dreams.  happy holidays

  5. Sam says:

    Our abilities don\’t decide who we r, our choices do. That\’s what I learned from u. U\’ve inspired me and I hope u inspire others too.

  6. Zhu says:

    God bless you ; I wish you be fine next year !

  7. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin,
    Haven\’t been by in a few weeks, but I enjoyed reading this entry.  I enjoyed reading about all of the new sensations and strength you are having in your muscles.  Its obvious that the programs you have participated in have done wonders.  And Im sure you will only continue to make progress.  I can see how you would be getting frustrated…you saw so much progress, and now you are just kind of hanging out waiting for the next step. 
    I hope you are doing well and that you and your family had a great holiday.  There is a chance we might be heading down to NC this summer…my aunt mentioned something about a trip to the Outer Banks.  Not sure how close you are to that, but it would be nice to see you if we get a chance!
    Take care and drop me a line to say hello!  New email address is in the heading.  My other computer runs so slow, and thats where I have your email address!  Its painful to even turn the thing on because it runs so slow!

  8. dana says:

    Hi Colin,
    I\’ve been reading your space for a few months now and enjoy your take on things. I have muscular dystrophy and havebeen in a chair all my life. Needless to say, this is no excuse to sit back and let life live you by, right? Ok, just wanted to say hi from Austin. You are right, Austin is a great city. It is also very friendly for people with disabilities. If you want to know more about the city, or if I can help you find something, let me know. I work at a local non-profit here that helps people with disabilities locate affordable accessible housing, so if you do follow a path this way I could point you in a right direction. Good luck in your journey!
    Take care,

  9. Maria says:

    Hello Colin~
    I hope that when you finally move to Atlanta you can make a happy home there. Seems like you can adapt to just about any situation – so I think you could be happy anywhere.  Great Site!  You give me a lot of HOPE in this crazy world.  I have a mental diability (bi-polar), and it looks like you are doing a lot better than me – with full use of my body.  Silly me!  Anyway, you are definitely one of my heroes.  Best Wishes in your new home, Colin :o)

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