Monday, May 7, 2018
Thursday, February 1, 2018
As the 8th annual Relay for Rachael approaches I am reminded how lucky I am for the support of my amazing friends, family and community. Year after year my runners continue to train and raise money and I continue to get the help I need to gain strength and stay healthy both mentally and physically. I am knocking on wood as I write this but I have not been sick in over 5 years, I am gentle to my body because I know it needs strength to heal. I try and eat healthy, I rarely drink alcohol anymore and if I do it is a glass of red wine, I get my rest by staying on a consistent sleep schedule (which includes having to wake up from 3-3:30AM every morning to switch from my left to right side) and most importantly I keep my body moving. My movement is possible because I have people who believe in me and who allow me to continue on my journey. I can’t imagine my life without this support and I am forever grateful. Once again my runners hit highway 1 on Sunday, April 29th in part of the Big Sur Marathon to run their fastest and raise money for my recovery, to inspire me and others and to enjoy one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Donations can be made at Relay for Rachael. Thank you and Be the Light.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
In the traditional Chinese culture, seven represents the combination of Yin, Yang and Five Elements (Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth). This combination is considered as “harmony” in the ideology of Confucianism. While in Chinese Taoism, it stands for Tao which has a close connection with kindness and beauty.
I look forward to harmony and a close connection with kindness and beauty in the upcoming year of my recovery. I am constantly trying to find the balance of kindness in my rehab. How far can I push my body and when do I just need to sit back and recover. Most of the time I just make up my rehab as I go, circling back around to the exercises that I have done in previous years and enjoying the differences in my strength and ability. To say that this process is slow is an understatement, this progress is painfully slow, but I am here and ready to face it and I am encouraged by my strength that continues to grow.
my situation end up in the hospital and some don't make it out. It's a constant battle to survive, not to mention the huge financial burden that weighs on me heavily. My number one focus is my health and it has to be that way because nothing terrifies me more than ending up back in the hospital. It is easy to end up with pressure sores or other issues related to quadriplegia, it is hard to fight this battle and stay strong. It all starts with having proper care and people that understand. This summer I had three caregivers in the matter of two months give me their notice. It turned my world upside down and my entire focus had to go to finding new caregivers that could help get me through my days. Through this journey I have met so many amazing people, true angels that allow me to live. It really is beautiful and humbling and gives me hope in humanity. There is nothing more selfless than being a caregiver and it frustrates me so much that as a society we don't put more emphasis on how important these people are. So if you see me out and about with a caregiver please thank them because they can never be thanked enough for what they do.
As lives go on, marriage, kids, travel, play ...I look for my path, a path I can take that will give me happiness knowing that my path will be very different from most. Without my art I would have a hard time moving forward. I still have my art and I thankful for that everyday. My 2018 calendars are available online and we have a new website for Gallery Exposed (links in sidebar). Currently we are exhibiting "See you, See me" a solo show with photographs by me up through December 31st, if you are in Carmel please stop by!
It doesn't seem so long ago that I woke up at my house in Big Sur, ate breakfast, watered my garden, fed my animals, showered, packed up my Halloween costume and headed into Carmel. It was a Sunday so it was my day to open up the gallery. I remember this day like it was yesterday, my last day of independence. That evening I stopped by the Big Sur River Inn to watch game 4 of the World Series, San Francisco Giants vs Texas Rangers, Giants won 4-0. I changed into my costume and headed to Nepenthe for their annual Masquerade Ball. We danced, we laughed, we enjoyed the beautiful night under the stars....Happy Halloween my friends.
Friday, May 12, 2017
You did it again, we met the goal of $30,000 to help with my caregiving and physical therapy costs after a car accident that left me a quadriplegic in 2010. I can't believe how the energy behind this relay continues to grow and grow every year, it is inspiring and motivating. Thanks for believing in me and being my light.
My 19 runners hit highway 1 on Sunday, April 30th in part of the Big Sur Marathon, 3 marathoners and 16 relay runners. Sister/brother duo Shelby and Taylor Hawthorne ran their first marathon and Kodiak Greenwood ran his third consecutive Big Sur Marathon. Relay "Team Nepenthe" came in first, 5 minutes before "Team Carmel Valley", Lee Lightfoot was not happy about this!
The relay year after year motivates me to keep on going and gives me the funds to do it. I exercise 6 days/week, 4-6 hours a day and Sundays I make sure to stand and stretch a minimum of 1-2 hours. I have to get the movement, I can't imagine not. I am so fortunate for the support that I have and continue to receive. Thank you! My progress is slow but happening! My core and arms continue to get stronger, I am starting to feel temperature change in my legs! About damn time...this growing nerves thing is tricky business.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
I have finally started collecting my rehab videos over the years! Check them out HERE. Thank you for continuing on this journey with me. Be the Light.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Honestly life has been whacky for me recently, not because of my disability but because of life. My grandmother passed away in May, peacefully at home in Carmel. Grandma was a big influence in my life, she taught me so many things that molded me into the person I am today. Her dementia kicked in big time right around the time of my accident. In a way i'm glad she couldn't understand what happened, but watching her grow weak and not being able to help her in the ways that I wanted to was challenging. Grandma taught me the value of hardwork, an appreciation for art, to have manners and be polite, the joy of gardening, to cheer for the Oakland A's and much, much more. Her influence in my life was huge and I am so thankful for our time.
Ironically Carmel celebrates 100 years this year as my great, great uncle's property (left to my grandparents) of 100 years is for sale in Carmel. Unfortunately this is the end of the line for us but I feel so fortunate for the time we had here... I am taking in my last moments and looking forward to new beginnings. I will miss the sound of the ocean at night, the trees and the fog. I will not miss the mold, the parking issues or the mail delivery!
The "crashiversary" always makes me re-evaluate my life and my rehab program. Is what i'm doing sustainable both physically and financially? Am I being the most productive with my limited time? Can I do more on my own? I'm always wondering if i'm doing the most with my exercise, pushing myself enough... while still remembering to listen to my body.
Somedays I am so mentally exhausted, and others physically... I have to remember (and have the energy for) the mindful movement that is needed to really connect to my body. It has been a bumpy road recently. I lost my trainer I worked with for years and this has really made me question my home rehab program. I recently read this blog post of a fellow quadriplegic, he explained the importance of the trainer/client relationship so well.
"The client can have his entire world changed – for good or bad! – by the attitude of his trainer...This is the constant psychological battle that plays out over minutes and months alike and, during a time when there is much uncertainty about the future for someone who has just lost access to most of his body, the therapist can keep the commitment boat afloat...As you can see, awareness and trust in this relationship are critical for rehab when working with a therapist, just as they are in so many other settings: student-teacher, player-coach, community-police, public-government." -Theo St Francis
Thank you Theo for sharing!
More on Theo here
I finally have gathered my rehab videos from over the years, this helps me see how far I have come and what I need to be working on more. Check out my videos here
Thanks to my friend Roman Reed and his efforts in finding a cure for paralysis there have been huge strides forward in Stem Cell research here in California! Read about the recent human clinical trials here
I lost myself that night of the accident, my old self "before" the accident but I also experienced a rebirth, into something maybe deeper and more meaningful. I'm not sure what it all means but I look forward with hope and determination knowing that I have a lot to look forward to.
"We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us." -John Steinbeck
In my calm place.
In my "WTF are we doing" place.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Words can not explain the gratitude I have for the overwhelming support I continue to receive year after year. My inspiration and hope comes from all of you.
My runners hit highway 1 on April 24th...it was a windy Sunday morning as they headed out to put one foot in front of the other for me. I heard Hurricane point was a force with wind coming from all directions, I can feel that force. The relay year after year motivates me to keep on going and gives me the means to do it.
Check out relay for Rachael on KSBW! Watch video here
Wow! All the donations are incredible! River Inn's check from their proceeds on marathon day pushed us over our goal of $30,000! www.relayforrachael.com
Team "El Sur Grande" came in 2nd in the Big Sur International Marathon open-mixed relays and was my fastest team. (My marathon runner, Kodiak Greenwood, beat all the relay teams!)
Pasta Dinner! (photos by Magdalena)