In my book, it Doesn’t Define Me I share my inspirational story of surviving an ischemic stroke to my spinal cord.
New Year’s Eve, 2002: When I kissed Kimberly and we released two helium filled “I Love You” balloons into the night sky at midnight, I did not know how much my life was going to change in the coming year.
The summer of 2002 I walked into hospital for an ascending to descending aortic bypass. The following day, after his surgery, when I tried to stand, I quickly fell to his knees on the floor.
Sometime between climbing onto the gurney before surgery and when I awake and tried to stand after the surgery, I survived an ischemic stroke to hips spinal cord.
I was unable to run. Walk, stand, turn myself in my own bed, dress myself and I needed help to feed myself.
Laying in a hospital bed, depending on others to help me with my most basic of needs. I tried to deny that there was anything wrong. While clinging onto the hope that everything would just go away on its own, deep down I knew I was facing the biggest challenge of my life.
With my fiancée Kimberly by my side and less than a year before our wedding, I battled obstacles including insurance limitations on needed therapy and a life threatening blood clot. I always remained determined to show people there was more to me than a man in a wheelchair. I was fighting to get my life back – only to discover there was a better life awaiting me.