Another anniversary

This morning I woke up a bit unsettled, a bit more tense than usual. I’ve had a heavy feeling all day so far, wondering just how crazy it is that time has passed the way it has.

It was exactly four years ago today that my life changed forever. That three decades of knowing my body in a particular way and understanding how I interact with the world got turned on its head.

In some ways it feels like very little has changed and that it was still only yesterday that I was climbing up mountaintops and biking all over town. I still dream every night that I am walking, running, playing sports (I just dreamt of playing in a competitive soccer game last night) and having access to my body as I’ve always known it. Sometimes I have more vivid dreams with more symbolism and meaning, like walking through my college campus and pushing an empty wheelchair. And I never stop thinking and visualizing of my goal to walk, of wanting so badly to move through the world at six feet tall again. None of it is distant; in fact, it all feels very familiar.

Yet in some ways it feels like four years has been eternity. Four years of waking up with some disappointment every morning, with frustration that my day will include challenges and discomfort and pain that I never thought I’d have to face, but that I have no choice but to meet those challenges head on, deal with them as best as I can and move forward.

I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve gotten used to it. I haven’t. I still don’t think I ever will and that’s fine because that will continue to motivate me. Acceptance can lead to apathy and that’s a dangerous road that I’ve never wanted to take. I know that’s not the path for everyone but it is for me. I can’t help that the fire in me still burns strong. That the frustrations of daily challenges can’t match the even stronger feelings of wanting to overcome those challenges, and wanting to reach my goals. I can’t help that four years of navigating through this very different life has not led to me wanting to throw my hands up and say that the doctors were right.

The truth is, they weren’t right. They said I’d never get to where I am now. My rehab doctor told me that instead of focusing on recovery options outside of the hospital, I should go on a cruise or a vacation with Brita and try to have fun. He told me not to worry too much about my spinal cord healing because it was unlikely that it would.  So even though where I am at this moment is not nearly as far as I want it to be after four years, I can’t help but recognize that it’s only from working my ass off and staying true to my intentions and commitment to my goal that I’ve gotten this far.

I WILL continue to fight. I WILL continue to dream. I WILL continue to have faith that improvements and changes will continue to come, and that I will reach my goals. I know so much more about healing, about healing my own body and recently, I’ve been paying  more attention to healing my mind and spirit. I have come a long way since the first days after this injury when I was struggling just to survive, when making it through a day without a disaster was a cause for celebration. And now, armed with four years of experience, knowledge, triumphs, setbacks, perspective, and a stronger and more determined spirit, I continue to move forward.

And so the journey continues…

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25 thoughts on “Another anniversary

  1. If anyone can do this, it’s you! you WILL continue to fight. you WILL continue to dream. you WILL continue to have faith that improvements and changes will continue to come, and that YOU will reach your goals!

    love you so much! you’re truly an inspiration baradar.

  2. Keep up the fight. I share your determination to continue to improve. I wish I had your strength to swim 5 miles this Fall. Just reached a goal of a mile in the pool.

  3. Arash, so glad you posted today. My positive thoughts are with you. I believe in you and know you will reach your goals. Keep throwing wood on that fire, And let it burn!

  4. I don’t think anyone gets used to long-term chronic pain, illness and/or disability. As long as you’ve got positive people around you who are willing to work with your limitations, then you have a good chance of living well with what you have.

    Be kind to yourself though. Strive for your goals, but give yourself some space to relax mentally too.

  5. Dude. You always move me but I am in tears.

    I have never and will never doubt that we will be hiking together like we have so many times in my dreams.


  6. Dear Arash,

    We continue to be inspired by your strength and determination. You WILL succeed!
    linda and bob

  7. Thank you for sharing what you’re going through, good and bad. You’re an inspiration and not alone. ~ ~ ~

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