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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Well here goes nothing; off I venture into the wonderful world of blogging. Be gentle with me, I'm a blogging virgin....

Why should you read this blog?

 The date is 29th April in the year 2011, & the big day hath cometh at last. No, it’s not the much awaited nuptials of Wills & Kate, nor is it the anticipated arrival of the latest season of 'Glee' to hit our shores; instead it is the arrival of a sleek, sophisticated & pretty darn sexy new companion in my life- ‘The Beast’: the 4x4, off-roading, road legal power chair, that I am not too ashamed too admit, I have already fallen deeply in love with!

If you had told me five years ago that I would be getting this excited about a wheelchair, then I would have laughed you all the way to the mobility shop: however, the new woman that I have become as a result of my circumstances isn't laughing, & is indeed sincerely smitten!

Having only recently accepted in my heart that I'm disabled, I class myself as a newbie to this interesting & challenging existence of ‘one with a disability', despite which, I’m not too naive as to think that my perception of these new milestones is one shared by all - or is it?  
I honestly have no idea; which is an element of why I am writing this, in the hope that one of you may pick up your laptop to respond to me!

On reflection of this last paragraph, I appreciate that the very fact that I am referring to life with a disability as ‘interesting & challenging’ is subjective in itself.
I'm starting to appreciate the minefield of unintended offence that I may cause as a result of not having lived the years of disability that some of you may- however, equally, I no longer share many of the feelings & experiences of my able-bodied friends either.
I fall between two lives; one where after 23 years, I was just beginning to get into my stride, & now one where everything is new & pretty daunting at times.

I can see that some of you may find it a little grating for a woman who's lived a mere fraction of your own life with disability, to be merrily singing the joys of her shiny new chair, (when perhaps you have been imprisoned in your own for your whole life); if this is so, then please simply close the browser window & get on with your day. I wish you well.
 Alternatively, if I'm intriguing you, irritating you to the point that you want to share your contrary opinion; or possibly pleasing you that someone is finally vocalising elements of that grey area that comes with becoming disabled following an able bodied-life- then please stick with me through my personal growth & adaptation from able-bodied to disabled; dancer to writer. So on I go….

I assure you that the very last thing that I want to do is offend or antagonise any of you who have taken the time to read my rambling thoughts & feelings thus far- provoke opinion & passion yes; but offend you, no.

I am on a personal quest of acceptance of this radical change in my lifestyle, & as a result of which, I have finally acquired the conviction to stop resisting my difficult feelings attributed to this transition, & instead accept that they exist, are valid, & perfectly acceptable to share with others: be it with those who may be feeling precisely what I am, those who have no experience of my plight, & just want to empathize with others; or with those who are somewhere on the spectrum between the two.

 Like life in general, there is not a manual for learning how to live with a disability, & how to emotionally put to bed the life, & aspects & aspirations of such that you had before.
There is a whole new set of ‘life skills’ & emotional strengths to be learned, as well as a whole new list of hopes to dream of.

It was through my attempt to get my head around this seemingly incomprehensible metamorphosis, that I got the impetus to create this blog, & with it the associated charity that I intend to establish alongside it.
The proposed objectives of this charity are to raise awareness & funds to necessitate the appropriate infrastructure of psychological support for those going through the transitional period from being able-bodied to becoming disabled.
Having experienced this personally, I passionately feel that the current situation is far from adequate, & that those such as my husband & parents, (who have been involved first hand in my accident & subsequent rehabilitation), could too benefit from more structured emotional assistance.

I would love this site to reach out to those who are experiencing this transition, & for this website to become a community in which all are welcome to share their thoughts & feelings either of their own experiences, or in response to an opinion felt by reading about mine

I feel it imperative for my blog to also highlight how different we are as individuals notwithstanding our physical state.
Before we became disabled we were different characters & personalities, & just because we have experienced circumstances that now class us as such, does not mean that we should be classified as one voice.
We all have different levels of physical disability, mental disability, emotional trauma & pain, as well as levels of tolerance, acceptance & patience like those who are blessed without disability.
Some disabilities are plainly visible for all to see, whereas some are imperceptible to others- both situations are not without their relative frustrations.

 I hope that we can use the similarities & the differences between us to educate, relate & inform, so that anyone walking those few paces or wheel strokes behind me, may find those answers that I was unable to in that darkest hour of adjustment.
I plan to share the facts & feelings that I obtain & learn along this journey, &  more importantly I yearn to be enlightened particularly by those who have always been disabled & have never been given the opportunities that I have been blessed with, ( & no doubt at times squandered), in my 23 years of able-bodied life.

Whatever you may take from these words of mine, I wish you luck on your own journey ahead of you. Whatever your place of origin may be, or whatever your level, or form of disability; we are all heading on the same path - the path of acceptance to embrace our lives.

I pray that as a Discover Disability community we can be thankful for the blessings that we do have, however plenty or few, & get living the years that we have been blessed with. Good luck all. I hope to see you again! x

My transition between two lives; from dancer & air hostess, through hospital hell to a new life. There's no changing it, so lets get living it!

Dancing days

Flying around the world as a 'Virgin hostie'!
Spinal surgery isn't much fun, but it is definitely made easier with a lovely hubby holding your hand!Learning to live again
Embrace & enjoy your life, whatever form you & it may take.


  1. Great blog. Just what is needed! Keep up the good work.

  2. Welcome to the blogosphere. Welcome to a new freedom. Let the feelings flow. The secret of blogging is to read and share. I will add you to my blogroll but in the meantime find out who is blogging that you like to read and them to your blogroll. Commenting on peoples blogs will bring people over to your blog. It's a community so you need to be communal.

    Join http://www.rearparty.co.uk - this a military wife forum but it will drive traffic your way.

    Love the blog. Aim to post three times a week. Love the positive mental attitude you have. You are beautiful inside and out and it shines through everything you do.

    AMMM xxx

  3. Karen , I saw the link about your blog on facebook of my nephew Eltjo . I read it and wonder how strong you are in all the difficult moments .
    Greetings from Huizen Holland ,
    Evert Clijnk

  4. Karen,

    I hope you remember the funpacked summer afternoons we shared together on the I.O.W...oh how fun being 12 years old was!!
    Well I certainly remember you and your big old smiley face (complete compliment by the way).One thing is for sure, you are still that funloving, cheery, bubbly,gorgeous, funny girl.
    I would just like to take this opportunity to praise your attitude and spirits. I realise I do not know the details of your circumstances and do not assume that in these past 5 years you have always been so positive, however it is plain to see that you have reached a place of acceptance and wish to help others find that place easier and quicker. That, I think, is marvalous!!
    Well done you Karen, I wish you all the very best in this blogging thing and what ever else you choose to take on-if another thing is the same about the 12 year old Karen I knew, then that is that whatever you will aim for you will acvhieve...again, another complete compliment!!

    Best wishes,

    Love Katie Atkins (you will know me as Katie Cruikshanks)

  5. Karen,
    You know full well my love for you. My admiration for you and respect.
    I don't pretend to know first hand, but i have been there every step of the way with mum and i got a taste of things your side when they weren't sure they could fix my knee.
    I had to find a way to deal and fight off the anger i felt at the situation. That is something i know mum felt too.
    The way you deal and you chose to live life and give a shake of the fist to circumstance makes me smile. It gives me hope. Not just for you, but mum too.

    Please keep writing and keep highlighting a very important cause.
    I want to help if i can with all of your many projects. Let me know if i (or mum) can be of any use.

    All my love,

  6. love Naomi's mum XX24 June 2011 at 03:40

    Dear Karen,

    As I read your blog , many happy memories came to mind,of the times when you as a young girl, motivated ad inspired others to try new things and make the most of their time and talents. Dressing up,'Spicing up' at the carnivals, making videos at Tower Bridge and many other memories flooded back . Karen,your blog is beautifully written and very insprational and I look forward to reading more.

  7. Clare Nordbruch24 June 2011 at 06:13

    Karen, words can't express how incredible your blog is - you are such a wonderfully positive person, still finding time to find the beautiful things in life, ask after others little problems, nowhere near as lifechanging as yours, and to offer words of comfort and encouragement when you have so much turmoil, pain and struggle of your own. You are a swan! I'm proud to know you and have you as a friend, no matter how little we see each other. Keep posting - your story and positivity should go global. Love and God bless, Clare and Christie xxxx

  8. Wow Karen, good for you. I really admire you getting out there and telling people your story. You look great. Well done and I look forward to reading more of your blogs.
    Lots of love Alison Thorpe. X

  9. Top blogging Karen, Hope you and Gary are both keeping well, been far too long!

    Lingy x

  10. Hi karen, what an incredible journey of adversity and resilience! Who knows whats around the corner of life. Your model of strength and optimism in the face significant change and loss is inspiring. Well done - your family, friends and husband must be so very proud of you!
    Lots of love, Kellie xx

  11. Hi Karen, what an incredible journey of adversity and resilience. Who knows whats around the corner of life. Your model of strength and optimism in the face of enormous change and loss is inspiring! Well done - your family, friends and husband must be so proud of you! Now with your blog, plenty of others too!
    Take care and sending lots of love, Kellie, xxx.

  12. Karen you're amazing! I look foreward to another crazy night in chi next time you and gary are down! X Dan Kennedy

  13. WOW!!!! What an inspiration you are. As you may remember my Dad has had to make this transition and as you state its the psychological transition thats the hardest part.....if I can help in anyway with the charity please let me know I feel it is this kind of support that is truly needed.

    So many happy memories of the summer seasons and shows which I really miss....

    Love to you


  14. Nice blogs luv!!! Hope you 3 are all having fun and will hopefully catch up soon.

    Lots of love

    Joey xxx

  15. Karen,

    You are a bright shiney star....a moving read and look forward to updates. Hope you guys are enjoying London...been too long.

    Lots of love hun,


  16. Karen- Reading your blog for the first time...you are such an inspiration! I loved seeing your "coconuts" picture from Barbados! What fun! Take care of yourself and tell Gary "Hello" for us! Love from across the pond- Missie Hoglund

  17. I'm one of the in-betweeners. I don't always have to use my wheelchair, walker, or even my cane all of the time. If someone yells, "Fire!", I can get up and out though I'd be "running" funny. The thing is, I appreciate the first 37 years of my life before my accident. Now, it's just different. Oh, it was hard at first and I still have frustrating times, but all in all things are good. It is especially strengthening to have a sister & brother I'm able to live with. They are a tremendous support.
    Best wishes on your new endeavor!

  18. Is think you've discovered your calling; writing! That was beautifully done.


  19. Thank you for sharing this with us (I must thank your cousin Adam for letting us know too). Good on you.