Disability is a choice
Tom Carroll is a 47-year-old amputee, survivor of traumatic brain injury, army veteran, all-around athlete, climber/mountaineer, clinic leader and instructor at Eldora ski mountain. He is also a passionate volunteer who has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours helping other amputees and injured veterans resume healthy, exhilarating lives. Tommy is employed at Certified Prostetics and Orthotics.
Disability, is it a choice?
What is your version of a disability?
What are the common things you hear?
What are your options?
What are your choices?
My intentions with the title, ‘Disability is a choice’, are to help me take a look inside of myself. To see what I accept as disabled and what I feel are choices. I am searching out new ways to be with likeminded people. I am here to push the limits on what are: 1. My Choices, 2. The Concepts and 3. What is Told/Taught to us, about what a “DISABLED” person can or cannot do. In the 22 years since losing my left leg in a motorcycle accident; my life has been profoundly changed. Being in a coma for several months, the debilitating TBI & PTSD, fused vertebras C3, 4, & 5, reconstruction of my left forearm & femur, bone and skin grafts, I have not had a mentor or individual to look up to.
Anyone of us as a human being needs/deserves to be heard, to be seen as a whole person, to be a part of the community. Twenty five years ago I served in the Armed Forces, the past 15 years I have worked within the disabled community to make their lives a little more manageable. I work as a prosthetist in different capacities’, with people from different backgrounds, with differences that need not be defined. Because I am labeled disabled, I feel less than or not good enough. Are my opportunities the same as everyone else’s? What are my views as a man, does societies judgment of my disabilities restrict my life unwillingly. Am I smart enough, capable enough, did I do enough?
When I look into MY mirrors what do I see, am I whole? How do I change this, how can I feel a part of, and not different from the rest. Am I locked into a world of isolation and self-medication? Am I wearing a badge deeming me as disabled, people seeing me first as disabled, secondly as a man? Do I accept this badge, how do I make up my own mind? How can I change the perception of others; that which makes me different? How can I feel a part of and not different from you? WHOLE!!!
Sitting on the edge of my bed each morning, realizing the challenges ahead; I have to decide if I will be part of the solution or part of the problem. I know that my day will be consumed thinking of each step, and that any step can change the outcome …. The challenges are real.
It is time to push ahead and be grateful for the people I have in my life, the ones I share my life with. I have found hope from different groups that support me and have helped me to change myself, and to see life a little differently. We need to push ourselves harder to make change and by doing so we can find a better LIFE!!!
Thank you to the people and groups who make my life a little better each day. BTK Knee from Leftside Industries Inc., Certified Prosthetics and Orthotics, Fabtech Systems, Ignite, No Barriers, Paradox Sports, Phoenix Multisport, Soldier’s to Summits, Sportainability, VetEx, & Wounded Warriors.