"Redefining Possible"

In recognition of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, I would like to share what "Redefining Possible" has meant to me. My spinal cord injury is so much more than being in a chair. Although there is much pain, fear and loss it has taught me to triumph in the face of tragedy.

One of my early memories of my stay at Craig Hospital was the phrase "Redefining Possible.  It is kind of a mantra there. Those words are posted throughout the hospital. Most notably those words are printed boldly across the pedestrian bridge that connects the two towers. When I first got to Craig I did not know what these words were supposed to mean. I didn't really think of myself as having a spinal cord injury. I had friends who were in car accidents or suffered terrible falls while skiing. My condition was without trauma, things just stopped working.

My assumption was that my function would start to come back as quickly as it had left me. Soon I would be back home in Santa Barbara playing guitar, hanging out with my friends, and planning prom and graduation activities. My possibilities needed no redefining. As days turned to weeks and weeks into months, I began to appreciate that mantra more and more. Daily rituals and activities now were impossible. At least in the way I had known them before. I was learning new ways to do things and picking up new skills along the way. I was struggling with not returning to my life as I knew it before, but each day I saw less of the impossible and embraced more of the possible.

I was inspired by my fellow patients. I saw courage around every corner. People were doing things they didn't think were possible, they were achieving things that they did not think they were capable of doing. The care team and therapists were responding to us, pushing us to do more. Pretty soon you are caught up in it, and pretty soon you are redefining possible.