Realizing Impossible Dreams
By Saralee Perel
"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." Christopher Reeve
Recently, for the first time in 5 years I simply went out back, put my cane down, and started walking. I made it 42 yards.
Today I walked 5 miles.
A while back, a psychologist pal of mine urged me to try to help myself. I was angry. I said, "They're four of Boston's leading neurologists. They all said I'd never get any better."
"They could have all been wrong."
"They said there's nothing I can do! No rehabilitation. No physical therapy. I'm not putting any effort into trying to walk and then be miserable when I fail."
"Trying is never failure."
However, there was a common denominator in my friends' advice. And that was the word, "Try."
What made me finally try? The answer is simpler than I’d have ever imagined. That day I tried walking on my own, I had simply said to myself, "Why not?"
When I walk I have a Frankenstein-style gait. I get embarrassed so I explain. I met a gal who said, "Stop excusing yourself. Walk proud!" She's just one of the many who’ve taught me that if I open my heart to acceptance, the world is filled with support teams.
I've also learned to open my obstinate mind and really listen to others, experts or not. This not only fosters my own sometimes-frail belief in my abilities; it fosters faith in miracles.
Bicycle built for two
Um . . . did I mention it came assembled with a set of pedals for me too?
Now, hundreds of miles later, after exhaustive hours of pedaling along beautiful bike trails, I only wish that we owned stock in Ben-Gay.
Bob needs a tube a day to keep up with me.
Last week he repeated, "There's a huge present in our driveway." He led me outside. "Voila!" he said. "Oh God," I moaned. Bob dubbed it "The One-Woman Dynamo Power Bike."
"Sweetheart? You know I can't bike on my own."
He laughed sweetly. "I know. And you can't walk either. Then why does the pedometer I bought you have 74 miles on it?"
Discovering the powers within
Think I love my bike? You bet. Think I love Bob? Of course. Think I love life again after cloistering myself in a self imposed no-can-do closet? Goodness! You have to ask?
How do we find hope when hope seems impossible? Do we simply believe in our hearts, our minds and our very souls that we can beat the odds?
Christopher Reeve said, "When we have hope, we discover powers within ourselves we may have never known. Once we choose hope, everything is possible."
His immutable words still ring in my heart and I so hope they will in everyone else's: "And you don't have to be a ‘Superman' to do it."
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Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD)Dept of Physical Medicine and Rehab Services at Baylor College of Medicine.
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Well Spouse AssociationA national, not for profit membership organization that gives support to wives, husbands, and partners of the chronically ill and/or disabled. Through information and support groups, the organization address issues common to family caregivers: anger, guilt, fear, isolation, grief, and financial threat.
Paralysis Resource Center The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.
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