Growing Through Life

The holiday season is approaching and it’s time to take a moment to smell the Christmas pine trees, listen to the fireplace crackle, and reflect on 2018 and all its blessings.  I find myself reflecting on all the obstacles I have overcome and the many people that have been a blessing to me along the way. 

As a result of advances in medicine, new medical technology, and my Edge 3 with iLevel motorized wheelchair chair, I can perform what use to be impossible tasks in my day-to-day life. There is not a day that goes by in which I don’t stop and say “Thank you.”

I understand that I didn’t choose this journey. The journey of mobility challenges chose me. Therefore, I realize each day is gift and I treat it as such. So, when I stop and take a moment to smell the fresh Christmas trees or touch up the ornaments, it comes with a moment of reflection. I understand that I have a responsibility to myself and others in the disabled community to advocate for equality and access for all.

This upcoming holiday season finds me in a completely different circumstance than last year. Not long ago, I was confined to my bed after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. I was not sure what my future would hold. I didn’t know if I would return to work or how active I would be. For years, I filled many roles such as a mother, wife, corporate manager, Girl Scout leader, and event planner. My mobility challenges left me extremely unsure of my roles. How do I interact with my children with little to no use of my arms and legs? Will clients still feel confident to utilize my services for their weddings and parties? I had to do a self-check and trust the journey of life and move forward with a positive attitude. I got medicated, rehabilitated and recalibrated to start life anew.

Having my iLevel wheelchair has been a huge part of my new life. When I returned to work and settled in, I found myself engaging with coworkers and taking charge in meetings. I started playing with the kids again, shopping and attending outings with my friends. I met some new people in the disabled community who had insight into my situation and allowed them to show me the ropes in life with mobility challenges.

Once I got past some reticence, I found myself busier in my advocacy efforts than I was prior to becoming disabled. My iLevel motorized wheelchair has increased my awareness when moving through my new life. The configuration of my chair ensures my comfort because everything is adjustable, and custom fitted. The specialized cushion, phone charger, and cup holder makes life easier when I’m on the move. As a result of my new outlook and my awesome iLevel, this holiday season is sure to be one of the best yet! I plan to walk in my purpose and not just “go through life but grow through life.” This is the beginning of great things to come. I tell everyone I know to always remember to stop and smell the flowers and trees. After all everything in life is precious.

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.