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Thread: How do we move forward?

  1. #1
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    How do we move forward?

    My daughter was injured on 12-20-08 (also her 19th birthday). She is a C6/C7 incomplete. At this time last year, our lives were completely upside down - Sarah was very much touch and go at this point. As her mom, I could hardly breathe if I was not at the hospital 24/7. I was ever so desperate for my daughter to survive these horrible tragedy.

    Today things are much better regarding Sarah's health but I still do not know how to move forward myself let alone how to encourage her to do the same. She went from a very healthy young adult to 100% dependent on us. Just like all families that go through this life altering event happening to their loved one - how could this have happened? How could such a terrible injury not have a cure? Why are there so many unanswered questions?

    Her accident was at the hands of another driver therefore her anger has been holding her back. I do not know what to say or do that may spark the fight that she has deep inside. So many of you with spinal cord injuries have become such great inspirations to others. Does anyone have any great advice for me, Sarah, and our family? How do we get over this feeling of sadness?

  2. #2
    counseling can work wonders. I'm sorry for her (and your) losses, but moving on can bring so many gains. I can't stress enough how much PT, exercising & counseling can help, please consider it, in my opinion

  3. #3
    4 years after my own injury I still struggle with sadness and grief. And I know my parents do too. I think that might never really go away. But I will say that after 4 years the grief has a different form than the first year or so. I don't really know how to describe it except that the sadness no longer seems to completely colour every aspect of life. And maybe that is a sign of moving forward for both me and my family, I don't know.

    One thing that has helped me a lot was going back to school. It has been a big struggle at times to manage the effort required for this. But it really gave me something to focus my energy and time on and has me, at least somewhat, feeling like I am moving forward again with my life. And I think it has freed my parents a bit from their own worry and grief. There have been more bumps in the road forward than I expected. For me things haven't moved forward in a linear fashion. And at times that has made me feel like I am not moving forward at all. But I know that isn't reality. I guess what I am trying to say is I think even in the act of reaching out and asking how your daughter and your family can move forward, you are doing just that--starting to look forward.. I think everybody's timeline for adjustment is going to be different and setbacks will happen. I think a person needs to acknowIedge the setbacks. But I also know that sometimes even now I fail to realize or celebrate small victories. I am writing from the perspective of the injured person but I think the same is true for my parents.

    I am rambling so I will stop. Sending good thoughts to you and your family.

  4. #4
    Most studies show that the first year is the most difficult. I would also endorse getting counseling to help her (and you) deal with both her anger and all of your loss. The counseling should also help you all organize your thoughts to move forward with life.

    Having goals and taking the steps to meet them will help. Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Going back to school or work or volunteering helps many people get some direction in their life and get out of the natural self-centeredness that goes with the initial coping with an injury like this.

    Continuing with intensive therapy and exercise (esp. wheelchair sports) can also be invaluable. At C6/7 she certainly should have the potential to live alone and not be dependent on you or anyone else ultimately, but it will take work on her part. Moving towards getting a place of her own, driving and getting her own vehicle, and having a reason to get out of the house daily (other than medical appointments) are goals that are both realistic and will help give her some structure to her recovery.

    Can you get her on-line here? If so, we can move your comments to the private caregivers' forum if you would like.

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Senior Member McDuff's Avatar
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    My sci was also at the hands of another driver, the anger flames brightly for awhile. In rehab a counselor asked me if I had any suicidal thoughts, I said no but have lots of homicidal thoughts.

    Y'all are only a year out, sorry to say but sci sloowwwws things down. Plans, thoughts of the future were still far away for me at 1yr post. Right now you still need to concentrate on the day to day items, health is obviously at the top of the list, sounds like y'all have a good handle on that.

    Her anger will subside but not go away, but she will need to bury it as best she can, it does no good, and as you say it will hold her back. In the meantime, distract her as much as possible, movies, books, video games, something to free her mind for awhile.

    Don't feel bad, y'all are on a pretty standard timeline of being able to move on, and it will get better.
    "a T10, who'd Rather be ridin'; than rollin'"

  6. #6
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    Thank you Colleen and Orangejello! I immediately went to counseling while Sarah was still in the hospital. I did not get any comfort from the sessions so I discontinued going. Sarah has actively been in physical therapy and has plans to return to SCI-Step in Mason Ohio in early 2010 - this is an awesome facility for anyone close enough to attend.

    Sarah has been working with Vocational Resources to determine what her next step will be - additional training, schooling, or going right to work. She is ready to get this part of her life back on track- she did not know what she wanted to do when she grew up prior to her accident. For all of us, it is more on a personal level. Does any of this make sense?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Robynbird569's Avatar
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    Sarahs Mom, I feel for you for I too have a daughter with SCI. I have been through what you have been through. To begin with, to help get through and move beyond, you have to stop thinking about what was and concentrate on what is. When my daughter was first injured, (she was 3), I would sit and cry thinking about things she did that would not be anymore. But through time I realized WTH, she can still do but it would be differently. She is still my little girl on the inside, nothing has changed there. So we set out to find alternative ways to do things, and we actually had fun doing and trying new things. You have to realize she can still have a full life. After my daughters accident I came across a saying and I hold it dear, "The secret of life isnt what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you." Coming across that I have to see to it that she "lives" and not let any door close on her. She is a happy well adjusted, go getter. She involves herself in anything and everything. She too is a C5/C7 level incomplete, but functions at a T11/L1. I have begged, pleaded and demanded to the dr.s and therapists to see to it that they dont treat her as a text book case. Each and every injury is different. Look at the child and not go by what a book says. So through LOTS of therapy she regained alot and is walking in braces.
    My point is, dont give up on your daughter. Now is the time to focus on getting her to move beyond what was. Today and now is what will determine tomorrow. As a mom it is hard, I had and still do have moments. I refuse to let her see them, I dont want her to pity herself and thats my greatest fear. I just decided today is a new day and a new begining, get living, and thats what we do. Life is too short to waste on what we can not change, but we can change on how we get through it.
    Sorry I am begining to rattle on here. You can always feel free to pm me if need be.


    Stay safe my son. See you around thanksgiving!

  8. #8
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    I will share with Sarah this awesome site. I think she would enjoy it as much as I have.

    Thanks for all of the wonderful encouraging words!

  9. #9
    It could be that you just didn't "click" with that particular counselor. If you still feel some counseling might be helpful to you, perhaps try a different one.

    I'm sorry for all you're going through.

  10. #10
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    TAM63- you are right! I liked the therapist - it just did not seemed that she could work with me regarding our family situation. I may not hurt to try again.

    Robynbird569 - amazing! Thank you so much! I could not have said it better myself. It is still so new to all of us. As her mom, I am looking forward to the day that Sarah becomes her own advocate. That will be a giant step in the right direction.

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