Living a Balanced Life

We sat in our Pennsylvania house with our realtor as she presented an offer for our house. While it wasn’t an outstanding offer — it was an offer just a few days after we had listed our house. Following a bit of negotiation, we all agreed to the price, terms and timeline. We were moving to Virginia and had 60 days to pack, move, sell the Pennsylvania house and buy the house in Virginia. 

While I won’t spend time going through all the details, buying a house during a ‘recession’ is a nightmare.  All the horrible stories you read and hear about are true.  The financial impact on the housing market has caused mortgage companies to require the most unimaginable things.  However, we survived and sold a house as well as bought a new house –thanks to the help of three very special people (our mortgage representative and two realtors).  However, what came in-between was a bit of a nightmare…moving a four bedroom house with a full basement! 

The moving companies wanted approximately $12,000+ to move our belongings, which we thought was a lot of money. Instead, my husband, daughter, family members and a few friends moved us. It took two 26-foot U-Haul-It’s, four 18-feet cargo trailers, a Honda Odyssey and Accord, a Toyota Camry, and a Ford F250 to handle the loads. My husband lost 25+ pounds and gained a few gray hairs loading and driving down and back three times. Ok, he gained a lot of gray hairs. My daughter was a big help in wrapping and packing. In Virginia, the builder was nice enough to let us put our furniture in the house and garage prior to the closing and we received a lot of help from my family and our Virginia realtor.  It took time to get settled, but before we knew it — we were finally home. The move was difficult and painful at times; however, we adjusted nicely and are grateful to all those who made our move possible.  The family who bought our PA house were a pleasure to deal with and I hope we will remain friends in the years to come.

We are enjoying our Virginia house and not having to go up and down stairs on a regular basis has decreased my number of falls. All of furniture fits perfectly…as if we knew we would be living in this house all along. However, would moving back to Virginia be what I was expecting? After 18 years a lot of things had changed. I was the one who moved away…I knew that I had changed, but was I prepared for the changes in the small town where I grew up?

Since we moved to Virginia, I have been focusing on getting my life into balance. However, it seems that when I take two steps forward, something happens and there is a set-back.  Balance.  That is definitely a word with multiple meanings for me.  A life that is in balance as well as being able to balance my body so that I can walk.

Just this past week, during physical therapy, my therapist had me complete a balance test to see what level of assistive device I need when walking. Sadly, once again, I failed the test and have to continue using a cane.  I didn’t let him see my disappointment, but I was crushed.  I had been practicing for the ‘test’ and thought that I would pass and become cane-less. 

The following day, I saw my Pain Management doctor and discussed the results of the balance test with him.  I thought maybe he would be willing to give me a break and let me try not using the cane.  He didn’t budge.  Why is using or not using the cane so important? With all the tragic things going on in the world today — it really isn’t.  However, to me, the cane is a crutch — a constant reminder of Dr. Liar, the injury and the life I lost.  Because of using the cane, I have carpal tunnel. I have tried having fun with the cane — coordinating them to my outfits, etc.  However, deep down I resent it and the things it represents. To me it reminds me of the day I was sitting in my employer’s conference room and a man I once respected called me a ‘cripple.’ It is a constant reminder of the last six years — a period of time I would like to forget.  I guess I understand better why my daughter wanted to burn her private school uniforms when she graduated! I have a secret plan for how I plan on destroying my canes once I am done using them!

Balance and walking are things most of us take for granted. I know I did prior to my injury. In fact, I don’t know if I ever thought about it. A balance test is quite simple and that is why it’s so frustrating since it’s something we learn as a toddler…when we learn to stand and walk.  One of the first things we learn to do has been taken away from me and no matter how hard I try I can’t make me body re-learn it.  Because of the spinal cord injury — my spinal cord and brain don’t communicate.  Since they don’t…I don’t receive the signals that allow me to walk or even stand up straight and balance myself.

At the same time I was working on physical balance, I also continued working hard on my mental balancing through meditation.  I had dabbled in yoga and meditation prior to my injury, but never gave it 100 percent of my time or attention.  I never took it seriously. Since I wasn’t working I decided that I might as well give the same amount of effort on the mental balancing at the same time.  I took some classes, read books and fell in love with meditating.  I uncovered why it is so popular.  Once I was able to relax and participate in true mediation I began to better understand myself, as well as, the things I need to do to move toward healing.  Meditation isn’t easy.  It takes work, practice and then more practice.  And, you have to believe in it and in yourself.  The rest will follow.

I had the pleasure of meeting a very special person yesterday who I may not have met if it wasn’t for writing this blog. She has been experiencing some unplanned events in her life, but has continued to keep a positive attitude. She has a friend in her life who is also going through some troubling times that involve a court case. While our situations are different, much of the emotional aspects are the same. He is following his heart by doing what is right and at the same time is losing all that meant so much to him.  Someone once said that ‘Misery loves company.’  I will never believe that statement to be true.  When people reach out to share a story similar to mine — it breaks my heart.  Since I lived it and am still experiencing the long-term reach of it six years later, it upsets me to know others are being treated the same. Having others in ‘misery’ doesn’t provide me with additional comfort. What I want to do is to offer any assistance that may help.

To my two new friends — stick together and keep looking forward.  Don’t let those vultures and demons define you and focus on the many accomplishments you have already achieved in your career and your personal life. No one can ever take those things away.  You earned them — and own them. You will get through this unplanned time. Remember ‘every day is a good day — just some days are better!’

What surprises me is would I have met these two terrific people if I didn’t have a spinal cord injury, gone to court and written a blog? Would our paths have crossed in another way? What if they weren’t experiencing their court case — would they have read my blog and contacted me?  Life has its own way of twisting and turning so we learn to take the good with the bad.  Does the good and bad balance each other?  I am still trying to figure that out…but I am enjoying soaking up all the good that I can!

©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com. 2011.

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About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Disability, Dr. Liar, Employer and disability, Faith, God, Long Term Disability, Medical Malpractice, Pain, Pain Management, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Living a Balanced Life

  1. Lori says:

    Hi Marsha, It has been a busy week and I just got the chance to read your latest blog… I am so moved!
    You are such a wonderful and amazing person and I am so very happy to have met you and your family!
    You are living proof that there is GOD in EVERYTHING!
    I truly believe there no coincidences and I will definitely pass your message along to Troy. If we lean on each other through the difficult times and lift each other up we can make it through anything! Hugs, Lori

    • mswd says:

      Lori ~ what a wonderful, thoughtful message — it brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad that you have come into my life with your love and wisdom. Together, we will definitely lean on each other and lift each other up. During this experience, I have learned who my real friends are I am honored that you are at the top of the list. In fact, I have lost a few (as we discussed), but the friends I have gained offer something unique and special to this new life I have found myself living. I welcome you with loving and open arms and please know that I am always here for you. God brought us together and I know he has a plan for our friendship. Thank you again for your lovely message and congratulations on the new grandson — so exciting! Lots of thoughts and love!

      “Many people will walk in and out of you life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

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