On my recent family vacation to I experienced many firsts. This was the first time I traveled out of state via airplane since my injury 4 years ago. My family and I spent two amazing weeks enjoying the sights and taking advantage of many excursions in Ka’paa and Princeville in Kauai.  My husband even surprised me with a wedding vow renewal ceremony our on the beach.

The first big adventure was of course just getting to Kauai. My fears of being able to get through the airport, board the plane and arrive on the other side with my walker intact was overwhelming. Yet, other than and extensive pat-down at the airport all went smoothly. I checked my walker at the door as I boarded and when I arrived in Kauai it was at the door waiting for me.

The next big adventure was the accommodations. Being handicapped takes a little extra planning, but also requires flexibility. Something that I lack from time to time. Neither shower, for example, had bars nor was there a shower chair. So, we had to improvise. We found an outside chair that was stable and made of material that could tolerate getting wet to use as a shower chair.  Also, the shower was smaller so I could use the walls to get in and out without issues. The second issue was the bed was extra tall. Getting into bed was a challenge but was solved by finding a small step latter that I could use to step onto then get into the bed.

Another challenge was the grounds. Because we were at the beach I had to deal with uneven walkways, sand, dirt, grass with hills and planters as well as large rocks and tree roots. Thank goodness I had my special walker. It allows me to walk safely and easily in such areas.

It even allowed me to walk through the Cocao farm with large tree roots , rocks, mud, fallen fruit and uneven terrain during our Garden Island Garden Chocolate tour.

Despite the challenges it was was a great trip. I was able to do many excursions including the one depicted above. It was great tasting the varieties of chocolates, that were grown on the different islands, as well as learning how it is grown, picked, processed and all of it’s health benefits. During this trip I also got to go on an amazing ATV ride where we road out to the site where many movies like Jurassic Park and the Pirates’ of the Caribbean were filmed. We even road to a hidden water fall. It was fun, fast paced, and very comfortable. Our final family excursion was an unbelievable helicopter flight seeing amazing views that otherwise cannot be seen because the areas are unaccusable my foot or vehicle.

Published by Denise Rogers

I am a wife, mother, stepmother and grandmother who enjoys spending time with family and friends, crafting, gardening, and I am learning to live with being disabled. In 2017, after my 8th thoracic spinal surgery, I lost all feeling from the waist down as well as losing my proprioception on the right side. This has made it difficult to stand without assistive devices and made it, so I am having to relearn to walk. Plus, I have another uncommon condition called Chiari Malformation Type 1 which also creates balance issues as well as many other health issues. Because of the Chiari and the spinal cord injury, I have been left with severe nerve damage which causes a great deal of pain (5 and greater on pain scale) as well as spasticity, muscle spasms, and allodynia (burning) in various areas of my body. I have endured 8 surgeries on my Thoracic Spine and will probably need more as the drain that was placed will eventually clog and require replacement. Currently, I have a spinal to pleural cavity shunt, which drains the CSF from my arachnoid cysts into my pleural cavity. Professionally, I am a retired Health Care Professional with over 26 years of experience. I have worked in the Public Health realm as well as in Long Term Care and Acute Care. I have a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work. It is my hope that through sharing my personal trials, experiences, and triumphs that I can help others keep moving forward. No matter what life throws at us we can always tell a better story. I know that God is with me and because of this anything is possible. His promise to be by my side every step of the way helps me to keep pushing on even when there are setbacks.

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