Meet Anne ~ Run Over By A Car and Has Never Stopped Going

Anne is another friend I met at my SCI support group meeting. I am honored to be the director of that group now, but my first year I was a faithful attender and so enjoyed meeting all of these amazing people! You know, I never knew Anne’s story until I made this video. I thought a long time ago she had told me she was in a car accident, but I did not realize what kind of accident! When you hear her story, you will be amazed that she is alive to tell it.

Anne has been on the go for a long time now. She has moved and started her life over several times. That is not an easy feat for anyone, let alone one with a disability. She is not afraid to try new things. She is not intimidated by life. She loves her dogs and she loves to help others.

Anne’s story is unique in the fact that she was measured wrong for her new wheelchair and now a brand new chair, that she needs, is useless to her and she is stuck in an old chair. This is a real problem when a new chair costs thousands of dollars and you just don’t have it. It is very hard to get insurance to help you with very real problems.

But, you don’t need to hear this from me. You can see it yourself.

Meet Anne:

PLEASE sign this petition to help Ann and others like us. Click here to sign.

Meet Mark ~ My Surfer Friend…and a Quadriplegic

Mark has a twinkle in his eye as soon as you meet him. It is not a Santa Clause twinkle. It is a “better keep your eye on him” twinkle. It draws you in though and you are anxious to hear every story behind those eyes. Then again, maybe you don’t want to hear every story! His premature white hair, his big grin and his unbelievable ability to push his manual chair with zero finger control, appeal to your curiosity about this fun-loving and ornery guy!

I met Mark at my spinal cord support group meeting and we made friends. We were at Myrtle Beach together where I did adaptive surfing for the first time. Not Mark. That guy is a fish! He made me nervous, but he felt no fear. I kept thinking he was going to drown out there on that surf board, but he didn’t. Instead, he was my cheerleader as I went out myself with a bundle of nerves. I think Mark stayed in the water all day long. His love for adaptive sports and activities keeps us busy trying to keep up with him.

Mark is a great friend and I want you to meet him. I want you to hear his story. He has been in a chair a long time. He went to college, and now lives alone and takes care of himself. I don’t want to steal his thunder. He will tell you all about it.

My friend Mark:

Please sign this petition to help my friend Mark and others like us to keep our complex rehab equipment! Click here to sign.

Meet Donny – My Mechanic Friend…Oh Yeah, He is a Quadriplegic

I love Donny. He is such a sweetheart. I’m not sure he would appreciate me calling him a “sweetheart” since he gives off more of a Harley appearance. His pony tail, mustache and cool knobby tires on his wheelchair rock a “tough guy” image which would make you think otherwise. He drives a Chevy pick up truck that he can lower down to the ground and transfer into. He is cool.

I met Donny the very first time I attended the SCI support group here in South Carolina. He was very friendly and I clicked with him right away. Over the many months that have followed, we have presented Brain and Spinal Cord safety in the public schools together. We have worked on projects together. I have been to his house and he has been to mine.

Donny has a heart as big as the world for those who need equipment and cannot get it because of insurance or finances. He searches for anyone willing to donate medical equipment. He will not sell it and he will not allow you to get it if you are going to sell it. He has personally helped me with tires. He gave a scooter to my cousin Scott, who has cerebral palsy, free of charge. He gave a tilting wheelchair to a newly injured young girl who had broken her neck and was stuck in bed because it was taking so long to get her an electric wheelchair through insurance. He gave an electric bed to a quadriplegic friend whose bed had broken and it was very hard on his wife and caregivers to reach him for his care. These are only the things that I have been involved in helping him with. He has so many others stories he could tell you. Like I said, he is a sweetheart and doesn’t just talk about helping change this world. He is doing it. One story at a time.

I interviewed Donny because I want you to meet him. I want you to see him. I want you to feel his heart. I want you to see what would happen to Donny if HIS medical equipment were to be taken from him. Not only would it hurt Donny’s quality of life, but it would stop his ability to help so many other people.

Here is my friend Donny:

Please sign this petition to help save our complex medical equipment (wheelchair, tires, cushions, etc.) so that people like Donny can continue their quality of life! Sign here.

I Need This Post to Go Viral and I Need You To Help Make It Happen!


Imagine… wake up in the morning and you only get one pair of shoes to wear for the entire week. That’s it. You have to pick one pair to work in, exercise in, play in, hike in….everything. Which pair would you pick? Oh wait a minute. You don’t get to pick.

I do.

I have gone to Wal-Mart and bought you a cheap pair. They are size 6. Now, enjoy your week! I hope you are comfortable and your feet will be okay with my choice! 

Will they be okay?

Or, will your feet be crammed in? Will your toes go numb? Will you get sores of blisters? Will you be limping by the first hour? What about by the end of the week?

There is something going on in Washington that needs stopped. PLEASE, PLEASE help be a voice of change.

I will try to make this as simple as possible. Imagine losing a leg at 3 years old. Imagine being told that insurance would only pay for one leg for the rest of your life. How do you wear that little leg when you are 30 years old? Now, if you have the money, you can definitely buy yourself a new leg. But your insurance won’t help you. You are on your own. What happens to all those who cannot afford a leg that costs thousands and thousands of dollars? “Oh, they would never do that to people!!” Really? The state of New York already did.

Now imagine you have been diagnosed with ALS. You have lost your ability to speak and move most of your body but your mind works perfect. Insurance would help you to pay for an amazing wheelchair with high-tec accessories that would allow you to drive your chair and speak through special adaptations. Or maybe, like me, you need a wheelchair cushion so that you can live your life without pressure sores. I have a power add-on so that when I am out all day long, my arms – which get weak after much use – can get some help and it preserves my energy so I can enjoy my day. Or maybe it is the custom back on my chair which helps slow down scoliosis because of the paralyzed muscles which cannot hold me in place. How about the light weight frame and wheels that allow me to push myself, and load my chair so that I can be independent. Those are all accessories that my insurance will pay for if a doctor says I need them. But not after January 2016. It will all be a toss-up then. What if one of my wheels break? Then what? What if the back needs repaired? How can I move around without a wheel?

Here is what is going on in Washington. Starting January 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has decided that Medicare is allowed to diminish reimbursement rates for complex rehab wheelchair accessories & seating systems. Do you know what this means? It means that the rich can buy what they need. The majority of disabled people who depend on insurance to help pay for their equipment, will not get help. Their equipment will be up for “bidding”. This will not be good. Do you really thing a wheelchair cushion is going to last for 40 years? I assure you they do not!! Currently, my insurance pays for one every two years and I have needed one by then every time. Patches only hold so long. Read this to understand more.

This means that those with ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy & spinal cord injuries will be greatly affected. Many things on our chairs are considered accessories. Those “accessories” are not purple paint and sparkling wheels. They are things that are necessary for our everyday health and function. They allow us to be healthy emotionally and mentally as we can focus to continue to DO what we can physically.

If they shut us down physically, by eliminating the very items that we need to be mobile, then they have shut us down emotionally and mentally. You really thing that is going to save Medicare money?

This is why I went to Washington D.C. this past spring. We were fighting this very thing. We are still fighting but we need the help of all of our friends and families. We need this to get out and let every one know exactly what is happening. We need to shut down the politics of this and get back to caring for the individual and not the almighty dollar. Our politicians work for us. They need to represent us. This decision does NOT reflect the will of the disabled.

I have asked you to imagine a lot of things in this post, but for many of us, this is reality. And it is terrifying. If this was your reality, would you speak up? Please help us take a stand. This isn’t for a week. It is for our lifetime.

Over the next few days, you will meet a few friends of mine, and get a glimpse of how they are living their lives after spinal cord injuries. You will hear how they got hurt, how they are living their lives, and what this change would do to them. My hope is that if these words will not persuade you, maybe their stories will.

Now, what can you do?

1.Sign this petition.

It is just your name and email. The email will just ask you to confirm that it is really you signing. That’s it. It took me maybe two minutes if that. Please sign it. We only have till the end of October to get the signatures we need for this petition.

2. Spread this post! (at the bottom of this post, just click to share on Facebook)

Share what I have explained here and then share the stories that I will be sharing as we ask others to sign this petition. Ask your friends and family to please share. Hopefully, what they see with their eyes will affect hearts to help make a noise for change.

3. Call your lawmakers. Click here to find the numbers you need.

This is the idea of what you need to tell them – “Congress now needs to legislate a technical correction to clarify that CMS cannot apply competitive bid pricing to accessories used with complex rehab power and manual wheelchairs to prevent CMS’s application of these payment reductions scheduled for January 1, 2016.” You can put it in your own words, but that is the idea of what they need to do.

Tell them that you have friends and loved ones that will be greatly affected by this and this is NOT what we want! Tell them to please represent us as they have sworn to do. 

Lastly, let me say that I so appreciate each one of you who care about me. I know you do. And because of that, you care about what is dear to my heart. You care about “my kind.” Thank you for caring and for sharing!!

Spinal Cord Injury ~ Are Bladders and Bowels Paralyzed?


I was at IKEA. My stomach started bothering me so I made my way to the bathroom. All the stalls were empty except the handicapped stall. Someone was in there. My wheelchair would not even fit through the door of the regular stalls. I waited. And waited. Out came a young gal who had changed her clothes. “Oh, sorry…” she mumbled as she walked past me. I went into the stall and was already upset because I knew it was too late. I had had an accident. My bathroom trip had just become very complicated.

Why? Your legs just don’t work right? Wrong. Actually, sometimes wheeling around in our wheelchairs is the easiest part of our spinal cord injuries. Bowel and bladder issues are probably one of the greatest frustrations for us. It can stop a day’s plans. It can be embarrassing. It can be infuriating. I never go anywhere new without being very nervous about the bathroom situation. Paralyzed bladders and bowels literally affect our lives every single day.

So, how do we handle it? How do those of us with spinal cord injuries take care of our needs?

Watch this video to find out! Thank you for watching!

*By the way, if you need any needs, please visit my website for ABC Medical. I would LOVE to help you out!
Get help with your catheters! <— Click here.

Spinal Cord Injury ~ What Are Spasms?

Several years ago, I was teaching a lesson in my Sunday School class. After class, one of my ladies came to me and said, “I think you can move more than you think.” I said, “Really?! What makes you think that?” She said, “Because when you were teaching, your toes were moving.” I laughed and said, “Yeah, you ought to see my legs move at times!” I tried to explain…as I have had too many times – that I have no control over my movements at times. The whole conversation really embarrassed me as it was the first time anyone had seen my spasms.

That lady was totally clueless about spasms. Her understanding, like SO many people, is that if they see something on you moving – that is supposed to be paralyzed – that you are either 1) Lying, 2) Not trying hard enough or 3) You have been healed! All three are wrong. They don’t have a clue about spasms!

Spasms are movements that we do NOT have control over. Toes jumping, legs sticking straight out, our backs bowing and throwing us, our hands or arms shaking, or our whole bodies violently throwing us around – are all out of our control. We learn how to manage spasms, but we cannot get rid of them, nor do we have control over them. At times, we can trigger our spasms to help us transfer, put our clothes on easier, keep our muscles from atrophying completely away and other things that we learn along the way to help us along the way. I can bow my back and trigger a spasm (like you will see in the video) and I am in control of causing…or triggering…that spasm. But, I am in zero control of my legs. Spasms are extremely strong at times or barely noticeable. At times they are painful, embarrassing and can make life quite miserable. It all depends on a lot of various things. Spasms have always blown my mind. How can parts of my body not do anything I command them to do, and at other times my body does what I do NOT want it to do? That is the mystery of spasms.

This video gets very raw for me! I have never shown so many of my spasms in public. In this video, I am still in bed in my jammies, have a bed head, look awful, don’t feel great, and my body is fighting me. But….if this helps you to learn and not say something stupid or embarrassing to someone with a spinal cord injury, then it will have served its purpose.

Thank you for caring and sharing!!

Video 1 – Incomplete or Complete?
Video 2 – Nerve Pain!
Video 3 – Muscle Atrophy

Video 4 – Temperature Control

Spinal Cord Injury ~ Why Do We Get So Cold?


Why do those of us with spinal cord injuries get so cold so quickly? Why does it take us hours – literally – to get warm again? Why do we get so hot and cannot cool down? Why do our legs feel like ice cubes?

Did you know that the”thermostat” of our bodies is controlled through our spinal cords? Watch this video to hear more about it!

Thank you SO much for watching, caring and sharing!

See other videos in this series:

Video 1 – Incomplete or Complete?
Video 2 – Nerve Pain!
Video 3 – Muscle Atrophy