Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) has devastating consequences for the physical, social and vocational well-being of the injured person. Living with a spinal cord injury means there is a never a day off. I know having a spinal cord injury is difficult but it brought the best out of me as well.
We always have a choice, the way we think has influence on our behavior and surroundings. I often say I don't have a choice, when someone asks me how do I do it, living independent while being injured this bad. But to me it feels natural, for me it's the only way to move on. Not everybody has the same mindset and I forget that sometimes. That's the nature of the beast.
I've once read an article where the writer said that Paralympics is not top-sport. I disagree, because athletes who have a disability and do top-sport are doing the work twice. They are not better than abled bodied athletes but they deserve just as much respect.
I understand what it means, in my case, to wake up every morning, dragging my own legs out of bed is already a workout. The first moves I make is like a pull-up. My arms, shoulders and upper back muscles do a lot of work during the day. They are taking over everything that my abs and legs can't do anymore. All the transfers I have to make, re-placing myself from my wheelchair to a car, sofa or toilet-seat. I guess on an average day I so at least make 20 transfers. That's pushing my body weight up and moving it up or down on another seat.
During the week I roll more than most people nowadays walk. What I'm doing is not even that much, I know other people in wheelchairs who are even more active, it's amazing how much a human body can handle and adapt.
If you want live independent as a paraplegic, you have to watch you diet, do special excersizes everyday and there is NO day off. Every day you workout twice as hard to do the normal things in life. No wonder the energy levels go low very fast.
Being paralyzed from the waist down is like doing 200% with just 50% of the body.
What makes a person an atlethe? their mentality. Pushing further and further. Perform. Going beyond limits. That's topsport.
I'm not a atlethe but I do know what top-sport is. Rehabilitation is topsport.
The past few weeks I've been training with professional dancers. I'm a participant in a TV programme that will be out starting next year. At this point I'm not even an amature dancer. Since being in a wheelchair, I've never danced again. In just 3 weeks of dance practice, I'm formed from non-dancer to pro wheelchair dancer. It's hardcore, not only physical but also mentally. It's very confronting from what I used to know what dancing felt like, to now trying to move my half paralyzed body in new ways.
I remember dancing in clubs and at parties, I used to dance in front of my mirror in my room, I used to dance with my mom and siblings in the kitchen. I've joined some salsa lessons and a belly dancing course in the past. Dancing was always just for fun. Never serious but I used to move my body more often than I realized I did.
But you don't know what you've got till it's gone. When I was laying in the hospital bed, one of my friends asked me what I would do 'when I would be back on my feet again'. I said; 'the first thing I would do is dance'. Not knowing in that moment what a it meant to have a spinal cord injury and that I would never feel or move my legs again...
2,5 years after that traumatic accident I got challenged, by to learning how to dance. Not just dance, but to perform with professionals. It's scary, confronting but the best thing ever! There is much more to it than you might think. The whole journey is being filmed and will be on national television soon. I am not there yet, I still have to perform. So to be continued.
This is going to sound super cheesy but...
DANCE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW
And If you don't like to dance, just MOVE your body, but do it ! because tomorrow is not guaranteed.