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University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System Survey

I recently completed a study with the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System. The UM-SCIMS is one of only fourteen SCI model systems in the United States. Successfully funded since 1985, they work to regularly keep in touch with those interested in being a part of SCIMS, to monitor clinical issues and collect key information to conduct research. Their goal is to enhance care.

They call me every few years to complete a study. I always gladly cooperate. It pays little, but it’s not the money that drives me to do it. It’s helping U of M in any which way I can, because that is the hospital that saved my life! You can read a blog post I wrote about them back in July: https://zinahermez.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/university-of-michigan-c-s-mott-childrens-hospital/

After the thirty minute interview, I inquired about writing for their newsletter, “SCI Access: Insights and Information for People with Spinal Cord Injuries.” The RN who interviewed me was thankful I asked because they are launching a new column called UM SCIMS Alumni News, so she emailed me the consent and other forms. The article is designed around a Q and A. The newsletter comes out in April. You can visit their web site here to learn more about them: http://www.med.umich.edu/pmr/modelsci/

These are the questions and my responses:

Q Tell us about yourself! Have any significant events taken place since your injury? Do you have any hobbies? What have you accomplished?

A On October 18th of 1994, I suffered a spinal cord injury. It was just weeks into the new school year, my junior year. While crossing the street on my way to school, I was hit by a car. My life changed forever. My spine broke at the L1-L2 level. I taught myself how to walk again. Today I’m walking everywhere with two forearm crutches, and practicing with one cane. It’s a miracle I’m alive. I hope to one day walk with no walking device. I’ve been in education for more than ten years. I enjoy helping others academically. I teach English to business people in the U.S on assignments at automotive corporations. I also teach classrooms at a Language center. I’m able to take care of myself.

Q Share your thoughts and advice? What has kept you motivated since your injury? What have you done to overcome any challenges you have met along the way?

A My advice would be to stay active and exercise. Whether in physical therapy, or with a trainer. Moving really does improve our health! Another article I wrote about that is here:  https://zinahermez.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/moving-improves-our-health/

It’s also good to stay connected to groups. One year ago I joined an on line writers’ group where I met authors. Through classes, webinars, and emails, I’ve been encouraged to write. I started my own blog to help cope with my spinal injury. It has been therapeutic, and given me great relief. My hope is that it helps others. You can visit my blog here: https://zinahermez.wordpress.com I believe we should never give up on hope for recovery, because it’s never too late to get well!

This is not the full article but once it is published I will repost.

How about you? What have you done to overcome obstacles? What have you accomplished? Whether SCI or another challenge, feel free to share your thoughts with me!

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