I wasn’t always proud to be a Paralyzed Veteran. As a matter of fact I didn’t realize that I truly belonged to the Paralyzed Veterans of America because I wasn’t permanently in a wheelchair. I thought if you were paralyzed that you couldn’t move your body part at all. I tried for almost 20 years to be “normal” but didn’t quite fit in as an abled body. I truly didn’t know I was paralyzed.
I always hid my right hand, tried to improve my gait. Everyone always thought something was wrong with my foot or my knee. I tried explain, but noone seemed to care or understand. I hid because I wanted to fit in, I hid because I was ignorant much like most people I come in contact with. Sometimes you just don’t know. I have overcome so much, but yet I still have struggles that I have hidden. I am a walking quadriplegic an anomaly and a blessing. I didn’t realize I was mobility impaired. When I think mobility impaired I think of an amputee or someone with Cerebral Palsy. I never though of someone like me or with a degenerative disease. I never quite fit in as an able body and I don’t fit in with amputees because I’m not missing a limb or with complete spinal cord injuries because I walk.
I have gone many years without support looking for someone like me. Support that I needed to heal. For years I had people say to me you aren’t disabled, stop playing. While others have said you are only a little disabled. Those words hurt, I never said anything, but that really made me withdraw. I hide it well, I have an infectious personality. I laugh I crack jokes, but I too have feelings. So I’m only a “little” bit female or just a “little” black? No I am a black disabled female; that’s it, that’s all. I am no ready to own who I am. What was called a “little” disability changed my life as I knew it. I wanted my life back and would have killed to get it. It is amplified by my traumatic brain injury I often try to hide. It is hard trying to focus, to attend to things, to process information, to recall information. I go to bed nighly with my brain hurting; not my head. I have to focus to do physical tasks and cognitive tasks. Going to college after my injury was so hard, but I learned to read again. I earned my 2 Bachelor’s of Science and my Master’s degrees.
Days, months and years after my accident I wanted to die, I wanted to take my life, but was too scared to go to hell. I remember hearing that suicide was the ultimate sin, that’s the one reason I didn’t kill myself. I don’t do well with summer heat so I figured I couldn’t do hell. Then I looked at my 2 year old and thought who will take care of him. So I made a plan. I planned to die when my son was 19. I wouldn’t kill myself, but I could put myself in harm’s way. By then he would have graduated from high school and have 1 year of college behind him. Then God could take me because I was finished with my life and done all I needed as a parent. I remembered my father unexpectedly dying in 2000 not even a year after my accident and how I felt. I couldn’t leave my family like that. My father was a Vietnam veteran suffering in silence from PTSD, no support and with the effects of Agent Orange. I was suffering in silence just as he was, but didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t turn to drugs or to a bottle, but I was running out of options. Knowing this God let me know there was still something for me to do. He lead me to my bucket list and I found exercise in 2014 when I began training for a marathon I told my doctors I would walk when they told me I would never walk again. Recovery through the use of sports exercise saved me. It doesn’t matter how you move. You just need to move. No matter what it looks like. I am don’t have full control on my right side internal or external. Although I don’t cath, use a catheter to void, I have difficulty with my bodily functions. I have been told I make having a disability look easy. It sure doesn’t feel easy, it’s a challenge that I have to overcome. Everyone faces challenges and we should all strive to be better. It starts with you getting up out of bed, getting out of your own head. Move!
I am the epitome of IRACE. My goal is to INSPIRE RECOVERY ACTIVELY THROUGH COMMITMENT To EXERCISE. Now let’s get moving! That is what Kandi Kane ‘s journey is about. I have inspired able bodied people to get fit. Some have started eating better, working out, running, and completing Duathlons and Triathlons.
If I have inspired you in anyway, please share this in hope that this message reaches the people who need to be inspired or needs support. I want to help them and support them the way I wanted someone to help me. While you are at it try an activity you have never done, I am. I am at the wheelchair games and I and I hold a legitimate classification. #IRACE #FaithInMotion #GetMoving #NVWG #KandiKaneMoves #KnowledgeIsPower