Hello, my name is Melissa. I am 40 years old, married and have four sons. I am a T8 paraplegic due to an MVA when I was 15 years old. I was a cheerleader, softball player and active teenager. After my hospital and rehabilitation stays, I was able to return home. I continued to be on the cheerleading squad, coached Rocket Cheerleaders, graduated on time and traveled out of state for college. I was independent, strong-willed and determined not to let my SCI change my life. I was convinced that I was ok. If I did need help, I would only have family and close friends assist me. I had no desire to have strangers help. Nope, no outside home health agency.
I became a single Mom, soccer Mom, worked full time and did whatever “normal” people did. I trained for six months to walk down the aisle when my husband and I married. Although on the outside I was on top of life, on the inside I struggled. I struggled with depression, sadness, anger, anxiety, poor self-image, frustration, and grief. I view SCI as an alien thing that took control of my body. And I hated it even though I was living life and doing everything that a person does in their life. But then I had a bladder accident, UTI, skin ulcers, pressure sores, tendonitis in my arms and falls from my chair and dealt with all sorts of obstacles that reminded me that I wasn’t in control. I would never be out from under the power of the SCI.
Over the years things became harder for me to do and I had more and more medical problems. My family and friends were not able to provide the care that I needed. Reluctantly I was put into contact with AdvisaCare by a case manager. I was concerned about having a stranger in my home, being vulnerable, having a stranger help me with personal, intimate and private things, how they were going to interact with my husband and kids and if they were trustworthy.
I have been with AdvisaCare for three years now. I work with caregivers, nurses, occupational therapist, edema therapists and office staff. And I will tell you that my life has been made better and easier because of them. My husband was able to be my husband instead of a caregiver. I have someone to turn to with medical concerns, advocates for me, ask questions at my doctor appointments that I didn’t think of, help me accomplish or participate in things that I’m not able to do myself and support me through the difficult times and celebrate with me during the good times. Having a support team with people that have good hearts and care about you is a blessing. I am very blessed to have the team that AdvisaCare has provided me. I should have brought them into my life sooner but, am grateful to have them now. Medical problems, disabilities and/or health issues are scary and overwhelming. You do not have to go through it alone. I am happy to say that I am not alone anymore.
Something else that I’ll never forget is the owner, Kris Skogen, came out to my house to meet me and get to know a little about me and my family. I felt like I was a real person and not just another client. I don’t know if I will be able to thank the AdvisaCare staff for everything that they have done for me and my family.