Adventure Skills Workshop - Shepherd Center

In May, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Shepherd Center’s Adventure Skills Workshop in Alabama.  This was something I had been looking forward to.  I have to admit I was a little nervous and out of my comfort zone.  It still meant that I was going to try everything there at least once.

My biggest fear is heights.  It scares me to go higher than the third floor on the elevator.  So, you can only imagine how I felt when I signed up for rock climbing and zip lining.  My husband attended with me and would not let me back out of anything.  I had to watch a few people go ahead of me to see what I was in for.  There were paras, quads and patients with brain injuries doing it.  I told myself “Okay, you got this!!”

I was harnessed in and then began the strenuous journey up the 40 foot wall using only my arms.  It was so tiring.  When I reached the top the trainers said “Okay, on ten, we are pushing you down the zip line.”  I said, “Do not count to ten.  I will hyperventilate by then!!  Just push me!”  So, she did!  I screamed the entire time.  My husband has the video for proof.  It really was fun and I’m glad I conquered it.

Next, was water skiing.  I have some good buddies that do adaptive water skiing so I had been getting pointers from them.  This was by far my favorite activity.  I held on the entire time.  The boat crew and Shane were cheering me on.  Other activities I participated in were scuba and jet skiing.  There were other activities such as rugby, ATV, kayak and canoeing that we were bystanders for.

Each day, all the patients gathered in the dining hall to eat and socialize.  This was such a great opportunity for Shane and I to meet other couples going through the same things we were.  We talked about everything from raising kids from a wheelchair to biking and going back to work.  We had bonfires, s’mores, ice cream socials and a dance.

The highlight of the trip for me was seeing friends and therapist from Shepherd Center again.  One of my therapists was there from when I was first admitted to Shepherd.  We both teared up when we saw each other again.  She did not recognize me at first and could not believe the new woman she was now looking at.  Before, I had braces on nearly every part of my body and I looked pretty rough.

This truly was an experience my husband and I will never forget.  I’m so grateful to be a part of the Shepherd family. The opportunities I have experienced from this wheelchair are amazing.  Despite my circumstance, I feel blessed!

Maria

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