I turned the big 20 last week! That's right, I have officially left my teen years behind me... I DID IT!!! I SURVIVED!!! Although here's the thought I had... I will never be 19 again... That's kind of scary when I really dwell on it... Anyways!
I have to take a moment to say how much I appreciated the lovely comments and well wishes I had from my Facebook friends throughout the day! It really made me feel special! And I mean the real special... Not thpecial.... Thank you so much everyone!
My birthday was a series of ups and downs, starting with a down. I wasn't home for my birthday, I was in the city casting and having a back brace made. So I spent the morning being stretched and then stuck in a shell of plaster... I've been going through a bit of a time with my back of late. I won't go into too much detail, other than to say that it's kind of like fighting against time itself, or racing against nature. Ever since I refused my spinal surgery at age 14, I've known that it was only a matter of time before I started to deteriorate. I don't ever regret my decision, because the thought of losing 90% of my already little mobility was never an option, but sometimes it can be difficult. Difficult to ignore the thoughts that try to sneak up and take control of my mind. I think the hardest thing was finding out during my casting that they have new treatments for Scoliosis. New treatments that are successful, but unavailable to me because my adolescent years have passed. I haven't had a breakdown over my spine for a long long while, but because of having pain everyday whether awake or asleep, I did have an "episode" for a day. I'm only sharing this so that other people struggling with something similar know that they aren't alone. And I've always tried to be honest in my posts. I did at one point feel like I was losing hope, which is a terrible thing to go through. Because my case is pretty unique, it's easy to think that I'm all alone. So how do I get through it? Simply by these two verses that I cling to as if my life depended on it, because it kind of does. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make the crooked ways straight." AND "But this I call to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercy I am not consumed. Because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness." I wake up every morning, and even with the pain trying to hold onto me, I choose not to let go of my joy. Attitude is a choice, and I do everything I can to make the right decision, but only by the grace and mercy bestowed on me by the Lord. Casting a back brace on my birthday could've darkened my spirits, but I chose not to let that happen. I was my normal self, had my orthotist laughing the entire appointment, and left there as if the sun was shining through my pores.
The rest of my day was full of shenanigans in the mall doing most of my favourite things. I got an Earl Grey tea, which I can't live without, got some much needed summer clothes, aaand... WENT TO CHAPTERS!!! Yes, I was THAT excited about it, and admit to being a complete nerd... In fact, a conversation with my mother that afternoon went something like this;
Mom: So what do you want to do this afternoon?
Me: Probably spend a couple hours in Chapters!
Mom: A couple hours!?
Me: Hey! You are SO lucky you have an abnormal daughter, who would rather spend hours in a bookstore than in a bar!
You get the idea... We finished the evening having dinner and delicious Gelato dessert with family members in the city. Unfortunately I had a little bit of food poisoning, and therefore hardly touched my dinner, but as the French have it... C'est la vie! All in all it was a wonderful day, and 20 will be a wonderful year!
My sister challenged me on my birthday to make a list of all the adventures I've had in my lifetime, and you know what happens when I'm challenged! Bring it on! The following shows my journey of adventures, the big and the small, the good and the bad, in my 20 years thus far. Loved going back through memory lane, and I praise God for all the rich blessings He has given me. Life is amazing!
44 Adventures in 20 Years:
1. Flew in a helicopter (One day old)
2. Tried serial casting on feet (unsuccessful)
3. Was cut on both feet when removing cast (5 inch scars)
4. Went to New York (Age four)
5. Had picture taken in front of the Twin Towers (2000)
6. Had major intensive bone surgery on left leg (Age four)
7. Received first wheelchair (and was terrified to use it at first... )
8. Was in a car crash on the way to get casts removed
9. Started kindergarten at Max Turyk
10. Was featured on the Variety Club’s Show of Hearts (Age four)
11. Was featured on the Fifth Estate (Age seven)
12. Had surgery to remove metal plate and screws from left leg (Age eight)
13. Started voice lessons
14. Started piano lessons (Age nine)
15. Was featured on the Fifth Estate again… (Age nine)
16. Joined SET-BC (Special Education Technology)
17. Met Kate Gibbs (Age ten)
18. Illustrated children’s book called “A Hare Raising Adventure”
19. Went to Texas for first Arthrogryposis convention (Age 11)
20. Reported on wheelchair basketball for the Winter Games in Kimberley (Age 12)
21. Started homeschooling with Heritage Christian Online School (Age 13)
22. Spokesperson for CanAssist at the Senate’s National Day of the Child in Ottawa (Age 14)
23. Interviewed Paralympic archer Kevin Evans
24. Was featured on the cover of Legacy Now magazine
25. Interviewed Josh Dueck (Age 14)
26. Interviewed Greg Westlake and Jean Labonté from the Canadian Sledge Hockey team
27. Torchbearer in Vancouver for the Paralympics (Age 14)
28. Reported on sledge hockey at the Paralympics
29. Interviewed goalie for Canadian Sledge Hockey Team, Paul Rosen
30. Freelance journalist for the Fernie Free Press
31. Started “Disabled and Living in the Real World” blog and video blog (Age 15)
32. Sit skied for the first time at Kimberley Alpine Resort (Age 15)
33. Started working on “sit ski society” (Age 15)
34. Became the president of FIRE: Fernie Inspire the Race to Empower (Age 16)
35. FIRE Adaptive Snow Program officially opened (2013)
36. Stopped sit skiing due to whiplash (Age 17)
37. Graduated with honours from Heritage Christian Online School (Age 18)
38. Received the City of Fernie’s Youth Achievement Award
39. Received BC Adaptive Snowsports “Club Board Member of the Year”
40. Started sit skiing again (Age 19)
41. Created Daughter of Light Photography
42. Photography featured on the front page of CBT’s Scratch Magazine
43. Received the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing “Administrator of the Year” award
44. Skied Whistler Blackcomb and conquered The Saddle baby!!!