Similar Yet So Different

Matthew 21:22(ESV) “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

As I enter the beginning of my 6th year post injury, I began reflecting on what it means to live with a SCI (spinal cord injury). Those of us that live with SCI may have similarities like Chiari Malformation and/or Spinal Arachnoid cysts and live with chronic pain, motor deficits, and must use assistive devices. Yet, each injury is uniquely different. Although we are wonderfully made and resilient, we all face different challenges in life.

Our spine is comprised of 5 parts. It starts at the Cervical level which is from C1-C8. Next is the Thoracic Spine the largest segment which is from T1-T12. Then followed by the two more segments the Lumbar Spine (L1-L5) and the Sacral Spine (S1-S5)Finally reaching the final segment the Coccygeal Spine (Co1).

The spinal cord has both motor and sensory nerve fibers that sends and receives signals to and from all parts of the body. The sensory nerves control involuntary functions of the body such as breathing and our heartbeat.  Whereas the motor nerves responsible for muscle movement and sensation. So, when an injury occurs to the normal signals are disrupted rendering the patient incapacitated starting at the first vertebrae below the area of the damage. 

There are two types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury would result in permanent damage to the spinal cord. A patient with complete damage has no control of their body movement and may be bedridden. An incomplete spinal cord injury is partial damage to the spinal cord where the spinal cord retains some ability to convey messages to or from the brain allowing the patient some sensory activities below the site of the injury.

My injury is in the Thoracic Spine from T-4 to T9 plus Chiari Malformation. I also have a neck fusion from C-3 to 6. I live with chronic pain, muscle weakness, loss of sensation from the waist down with the right side being more affected, and a condition called Allodynia. My injury is an incomplete SCI.  

I share this with you not because I want sympathy nor am I angry about it. I share because I want to share my journey so that others may be encouraged and uplifted. Yes, I have very hard days sometimes, but I smile even when I think I can’t because I know that there is a better story to be told. I believe that I will be restored someday as per Matthew 21:22(ESV) “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Sometimes it is tough because I want it now, but I know that it is in God’s timing not mine. and each morning I open my eyes I know that HE is not done with me yet.

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.

One thought on “Similar Yet So Different

  1. I’ve had to have two major brain surgeries not even a year apart, I have Arnold chiari malformation 1.5 I was born with this condition it took me until I was in my late 30s to get my diagnosis. Doctors always pass it by as bone and muscle pain no real answer to why I was unable to speak properly or walk in the right direction instead of bumping into walls or other people whoops 😬 . people always thought I was drunk or high because I have a balance and slurring my own words and involuntary body movement problem… Even they went as far as calling DSS on me my children’s school because of my condition high was the words they used… Found out nope not high thank you but it was the fact that now my self and my kids was mixed up with the state of south Carolina… Every since that school did what they did I have been fighting for my children… Now having this brain condition didn’t help none.. well that’s besides the point … I’ve always been passionate about art and photography just hitting that learning curve was stupendous but I figured if there’s a Will that there’s a way.. It’s hard for me to give up on something especially if I can’t understand it… So I study and research something that I couldn’t do my hole life until after my 2 nd brain surgery…. Something I was so bad at comes easy now. I’m more humble and empathy and admit I was wrong uh-huh nope was a problem I’d argue with you until you gave up lol not really but yeah I was right most of the time in my mind anyway 😬 but I now believe in intellectual humility I’m wrong I gotta find out why I was wrong…. Learning I will never stop taking advantage of I’m teaching myself Microsoft Excel WordPress PDF digital marketing advertising graphic design acrylic pour painting… Every thing I know today is self taught I’m working on turning my hobbies into a career my dream……

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: