What's Been Happening?
Since my Winter season in Wellington in 2021 I haven’t had much to say. My last CPEDI in March was a real struggle for me and things continued to get worse from there. On the outside, I’m always one to show the positive side, but things have really been challenging.
In March 2021 I got very sick with an extremely high fever. I drove home at the end of the season and went straight into the hospital the day after I arrived home. I was allowed to go stay with my brother knowing I had people around me to help take care of me and the new medical equipment I was sent home with. I eventually moved home, but things continued to get worse. I continued to push myself and ride, but I felt myself getting weaker and struggling with things that were once easy for me. I knew we had a CPEDI coming up, so I set that as a goal for myself, while also training and getting to know a new horse, Sunny, who I felt so honored to ride.
However, as the months went on, I got too weak and was admitted to the hospital pretty suddenly as I was struggling to breathe. A lot of things happened during that hospital stay where they found changes on my MRIs and in my spinal fluid. I went through my first round of a treatment that was exhausting. The next month I was admitted for another, more difficult treatment and dealt with (another) deep vein thrombosis on top of everything else. Over the next year I dealt with lots of treatments and therapies working hard to regain my strength. I had to do a lot of advocating for myself and my needs. My family came out from California to help me through this process.
The competitions and Winter season took a back seat to my health. Imagine something that is such a huge part of your life basically disappearing suddenly for a year. It’s hard. In fact, I could no longer make it out to the barn much and was really struggling with figuring out how to balance on my horse. When I could make it, I started driving more since it didn’t test me as much. I even was able to compete in my first CDE and won Best Overall Dressage and 3rd place overall! But, I missed my time there and my time riding Taco. He’s been such a huge part of my life for so many years and now, but it was getting hard to see him because it became more apparent that my body had clearly declined.
Recently after waiting forever for insurance approval, my family helped me get set up so I could be more independent with new equipment that allows me to be more functional. Part of what has been difficult for me is that I have had to rely on other people to do so much for me over the last 1.5years. I love my independence, and to rely on others to move anywhere I want to go, drive me around, get my meals, etc. has been a big blow. Along with this, I’ve been able to move back to the farm and be with Taco. I’ve pushed myself to stay active- even if I don’t gain back the strength I once had, I don’t want to lose more. So I started rowing and learning that subtle coordination and finesse that’s necessary to push the boat through the water; going to Pilates to help me learn to use my body in better ways and then transfer that over to my riding; going for pushes around the neighborhood using my first-ever wheelchair that has more cambered wheels so it forces me to use my own body, but in an easier way; and riding Taco more consistently. Taco and I have a special relationship so he knows when to take care of me and when he can push me more. I’m riding and using my body differently now since I don’t have the same strength or balance. It’s been a challenge, but exciting to learn.
I don’t know what the future holds with my body, but I know that I’m grateful for my family, my barn family, friends, and the horses in my life. These are the things that have continued to keep me going and I'm going to keep pushing to stay active and doing everything I can as long as possible.