Cardboard Boxes, Part 2

Read Part 1 of Alison's blog here.

I did it! I moved out! And hey, I actually survived! This last month has been an absolute whirlwind of emotion but the storm finally seems to be calming as I'm settling into my new place. Here's a look in my journal after my first day and first week in my apartment.

The first 24 hours in my apartment

The bad

  • I had a very rough first night in my apartment and only fell asleep around 3 a.m. and woke up at 8 a.m. I didn't feel super stressed and my mind wasn't running but still, something felt off.
  • There's an electrical problem in my bedroom and the electrician is coming tomorrow but it's been on my mind all day. I hate when things aren't working properly.
  • I'm still unable to take a shower here. I have ordered a bath chair that should work with this crazy weird tub that I will hopefully be able to use safely while waiting a few years for it to be adapted into a shower. In the meantime I'm going to get a loan of another bath bench to use in the empty apartment that has a normal tub until my chair comes. So I'm pretty much waiting for a temporary solution until I get my next temporary solution while waiting for a permanent solution. Everything up in the air like this stresses me out like crazy. I hope it will all be settled soon.

The good

  • My apartment looks damn good! I really do feel at home here because we really made it my own special place.
  • The other residents have been really welcoming and kind. I think I'll fit in nicely here.
  • Food has been great, I'm going to like this!

The best

  • I'm someone who needs order and routine and this has thrown me for a crazy loop. That being said, I'm proud of myself for doing this and quite amazed how well I did and am actually doing but it is really hard and tiring. I know in a few weeks things will settle down so I'm working hard to keep that in my mind and not let anxiety overcome me.

The now

  • I think I'm still in adrenaline mode. I'm expecting fatigue to hit me hard in a day or so after I return to training and a more regular routine.
  • Ghia, my service dog, is as happy as a clam. She's got me, her bed, her toys, and most importantly, her food.
Ghia, Alison's service dog

The first week in my apartment

It's been one week since I've moved into my own apartment and I'm extremely happy with my decision. My apartment really feels like home, my neighbors are nice, the workers are kind, and I have yet to have a meal I didn't like. I feel almost completely settled and my sleep is back to normal. I'm glad I made this big life decision and that everything worked out for me.

Adapting to Change

Well, looking back at what I wrote one week after the move I've come to the conclusion that I might have written that wearing rose-colored glasses or maybe I even had a concussion. I was not settled and my sleep was nowhere back to normal. I was having meltdowns. I felt so out of sorts that I would call my mom at night sobbing into the phone, feeling like the world was ending. So much for feeling like an adult, right? I felt like a toddler and I was beating myself up about it.

Alison in her apartment

It was about three weeks after the move that I started to feel more like myself again and I remembered one of my favorite quotes of all time: "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela. Although I wouldn't say it was fear that I had been feeling, I started to forgive myself to feeling the emotions that I was. This was a massive life change, and it was perfectly normal to be going through some emotional turmoil.

Now one month on, I'm feeling okay. Just okay. But that's alright with me. Things are still rough because I'm still adjusting to my new routine, new responsibilities, and new lifestyle. That being said, I do not regret my decision to move out at all. I feel that I am in the right place and that it is just a matter of time before this becomes my new normal.

A rainbow outside of Alison's apartment

Due to the degenerative nature of my disability, I have become a master of adaptation. It's one of the good things that come along with a bad diagnosis: I've learned how to live with changes quickly and effectively. That's how I know everything will be okay. So while I continue to make this place my home, when things get a little rough, I remind myself of my life philosophy: To love life; no matter what life throws at you, no matter how difficult it gets, never stop seeing the beauty in the world, never stop having fun, never stop laughing, and never stop believing that the world is amazing. As long as I continue to believe this, life will be good.

About the Author

Born and raised in Montral, Canada, Alison Levine is a proud Paralympian and member of the Canadian National Boccia Team. Boccia is a Paralympic sport of precision, concentration, and muscle control. She plays in the BC4 category which is for athletes with severe disabilities affecting the whole body, other than cerebral palsy. In her case, Alison has a degenerative neuromuscular disorder that cuases weakness in all her muscles. She appeared to be perfectly healthy when born but started exhibiting symptoms around the age of 12. Throughout the progression of her siability, Alison has played many adapted sports from wheelchair basketball, sledge hockey, and wheelchair rugby but now concentrates solely on boccia as it is physically the only sport suited for her level of disability.

Noted for her powerhouse strength and aggressive playing style, Alison quickly excelled at her new sport. Within three weeks of throwing her first ball, she was recruited to the provincial team, and within three months, she and her partner became the Canadian doubles champions. Within six months, she was selected to the national team. Now four years on, Alison is a staple on the national team. She has competed at every single international tournament since her selection to the team, and has rapidly climbed the ranks. She is now ranked second in Canada, and eighth in the world. While dealing with a debilitating condition that robs her of her independence, she makes the best of it. If it were not for her disability, Alison says, she would probably never have had the opportunity or honor to represent her country or get to spend her days playing a sport she loves.

Alison's ride is a Quickie QM-710 SEDEO

Most of the stories here on Live Quickie were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.

Date: 9/26/2017 12:00:00 AM

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