On a beautiful Southern California morning, my life dramatically changed in an instant. While traveling high-speed on a mountain bike I flipped over and broke my neck. The spinal cord injury and paralysis caused me to spend the next three months in the hospital and when I got out life was very different than before that Saturday morning when I went mountain biking with my friends.
You may have a very similar story to mine. Where your life was headed in one direction and then everything changed in an instant.
I was a successful specialist within the chiropractic profession when I was injured. I had a growing practice where I loved taking care of people in my community and seeing them find hope and healing through upper cervical care. I thought I was going to be a practicing chiropractor for 50 years but God had other plans.
If you are spinal cord injury survivor you know that there is much more to paralysis then not being able to stand or walk. For me, one of the most difficult transitions came professionally.
During those three months I was in the hospital my chiropractic practice went from thriving to dying. 80% of my business was gone in three months and never recovered after that.
My wife and I had three small children who she homeschooled and there is no practical way that she could be my caregiver which she desired to do and also work full time to support our family of five.
I needed to find a new way to provide for my family but more importantly, I needed to find a new purpose.
Mark Zupan, spinal cord injury survivor and author of Gimp: The Story Behind the Star of Murderball has an interesting quote in his book:
“But injury can be like a rebirth because you learn that you can’t live in the past. Either you move on with your life or you wither away and die.”
Either you move on with your life or you wither away and die.
Have you moved on with your life?
Or are you withering away and dying?
One of the most important aspects of recovery from a major life event like paralysis is finding a renewed purpose. Your life is not over because you have had a severe injury. There is hope. Your life may look very different than what you were anticipating but I want to challenge you that it could be better than you could have ever imagined.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
After three months in the hospital, I came home with a stage IV pressure ulcer on my sacrum and had to spend the next seven months in bed on my side 22 to 23 hours per day for it to completely heal.
I was unable to think how I could possibly be used for good in my present situation. I felt completely hopeless. I was once an avid reader of nonfiction books. I especially liked business, marketing, and personal development books. But after my injury, I couldn’t read any of them. I felt like there was no point.
During that time my family was blessed with donations from friends, colleagues, and family and disability that sustained us until I could at least get out of bed and begin getting my strength back.
But I began to find my purpose again when I began reading the Bible for long periods of time while I laid in bed recovering from the pressure sore. I started to receive the seeds of hope that would grow within me.
Then in March of 2013 (about 15 months after my injury), a friend of mine asked me to write some blog posts for his website and he would pay me. I realized that I could make money using the knowledge and passion that I had by helping other doctors like him.
I was able to see a renewed purpose and focus in helping other upper cervical doctors throughout the world reach sick and suffering people in their community through the power of the Internet.
Over the past six years, we have helped hundreds of doctors reach over 20,000 new patients with the upper cervical message through our Upper Cervical Marketing System.
God has expanded my vision even more and now I understand that my mission is to bring hope and healing to sick and suffering people for the glory of God. This is what I was doing in my chiropractic practice and this is what I am still passionate about and now I get to fulfill this purpose in a completely different way that I could even imagine before my injury.
My company Hope and Healing Solutions help people with migraines, vertigo, fibromyalgia, and other chronic health conditions find upper cervical doctors who are uniquely able to help them. But we also have been blessed to help people with digestive issues, anxiety and other health problems find fantastic solutions through our partnership with Warrior Strong Wellness. And lastly, we are able to help people with paralysis find hope and healing through Thriving with Paralysis. It’s amazing what God has accomplished. Psalm 138:8 (ESV) says “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” This has been so true in my life.
What about you?
The first step in determining your new purpose is to get someplace quiet and give yourself some time alone to think. It’s important to get away from the noise and distractions of life and create an environment to look inward, quiet your mind, and really listen to your heart.
Next, think through these questions and write down the answers in the on a notepad or the notes section of your phone or tablet if you are able. If not have your caregiver or spouse write down your answers.
If you have never had work that you were passionate about or you can’t find any way to use your passion for that work in a new way ask yourself these questions.
Starting to determine your own personal purpose and philosophy will allow you to keep your mind focused on your purpose even when your journey has challenges…which it most definitely will.
Once you begin to determine what your purpose is next you can begin to brainstorm and research how you can fulfill that purpose in your work and life.
I will be writing more about this topic in future blog posts. If you would like these Thriving with Paralysis articles sent to your email you can request it here.
Also, I want to encourage you to check out our Free E-Books by clicking the images below: