*Post Your WAGS of SCI Love Story HERE!*

WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 282Moderator Moderator
100 Likes 100 Comments 25 Awesomes First Answer
edited February 20 in Love Stories
This page is where WAGS of SCI (Wives And Girlfriends of Spinal Cord Injuries) and their partners can post their LOVE STORIES! If you follow our @wagsofsci page on Instagram and Facebook, we post many couples' stories from women all over the world who support their men with spinal cord injuries. This discussion page is where you can post your own love stories yourself! This is a place where we want to inspire other women who are caregivers as well as lovers with stories of love that breaks boundaries and barriers; where WAGS of SCI can read stories of hope and love through adversity, and find others in similar situations as them. We also want to inspire men who have spinal cord injuries and show the world that love is love, regardless of physical limitations. We also want to encourage the injured partners of WAGS of SCI to post love stories and messages to their WAG from their own point of view. This is a positivity only space!!

Some ideas on what to post in your story:
- how and where you met
- what injury level your partner has
- what you have learned along this journey
- things that make your relationship special
- any advice you have for other WAGS of SCI
- photos of the two of you!

We cant wait to read all your amazing love stories!

- WAGS of SCI (Elena and Brooke)

Your WAGS of SCI
(Elena and Brooke)

Comments

  • HotWheels11HotWheels11 Posts: 10Member
    10 Comments 5 Likes
    I am very thankful that my girlfriend co-founded this inspirational "support" group, with someone she can call one of her best friends. WAGs of SCI is not only a support group but also acts as to create awareness  and empowerment for our partners who literally stand by us and life us up. WAGs of SCI has created a unique and safe space for all of us. Bravo. 

    Dan Duffy (QuadChef)  
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 282Moderator Moderator
    100 Likes 100 Comments 25 Awesomes First Answer
    Hello Ladies AND Gents!

    One of our lovely fellow WAGs of SCI wrote this piece in 2012 and we think it is 100% accurate and really feel every word of it. Dana has given us permission to share this on her behalf. Have a read and maybe get to know Dana Brown Ritter. 

    Elena (WAGs of SCI)

    We are the wives of quads.
    We may have taken the biggest risk of our lives, much to the dismay or hesitance of our family and friends.
    Or, we may have survived the scariest thing of our lives – almost losing the men we love, but getting them back this way.

    We prop legs up on pillows, turn them, stretch them, and straighten them out in our sleep.
    We may or may not also put our hot or cold feet on those hot or cold legs in order to warm up, or cool off.
    We pull our husbands around on pads in the bed.
    We snuggle up in their armpits and rest our heads on their chest. 
    We love to hear their hearts beating.
    We may or may not put our husbands arms around ourselves, if we have to.
    So we can be held.
    Because the very beginning of the day, and the very end of the day, that’s the only chance we have to be really close.
    Without any titanium or rubber or aluminum between us.
    Without getting run over by little wheels or big wheels or power wheels.

    We have toe calluses. And amazingly quick feet, like the feet of running backs when those wheels take a turn towards our toes.

    We slip forks and spoons into straps so our husbands can feed themselves.
    We feed them sometimes to be sweet, or to just hurry things along.
    We may or may not occasionally bend up restaurant silverware.
    Or, maybe we travel with our own bent-up silverware in our purses.

    Our purses.
    Oh, our purses.
    Yes, they hold our keys, our wallets, and our iPhones.
    But our purses are like a stash of secret weapons.

    Mothers – sorry to tell you this, but your diaper bags – they have nothing on our purses.
    We have straps and straws and pills and catheters.
    And bottles of water and sanitary wipes and allen wrenches.
    We have our husbands’ wallets, phones, and sunglasses.

    We don’t always have to carry those purses, though.
    We almost always have a handlebar to hang those on.

    Or a lap to sit them on.
    Oh, that lap.
    That is our favorite place.
    We have a built in seat when we are waiting in line at a restaurant or at a concert or waiting for the train.
    Did you know that that lap is dancing headquarters?
    No, not in that kind of lap-dance kind of way.
    Well, maybe sometimes.
    That’s the best place for a lot of things.

    We don’t get to walk hand in hand with our husbands on the beach.
    Or sit on their shoulders in the pool.
    Some of us don’t even get to ride beside them in the car.

    Sometimes we cry.
    We are held.
    Sometimes we hold our husbands while they cry.

    Sometimes we laugh so hard our stomachs hurt. 
    Because if we didn’t, we’d just cry again.

    We are weightlifters.
    We lift grown men into beds and wheelchairs, onto chairs and couches , into and out of pools, and into cars and SUVs.
    We lift them over curbs, push them up hills, brace them down hills, and we can even lift them on to those really tall examination tables at doctor’s offices.
    Why are those so tall?
    Geez!

    We are masters at dressing.
    Anyone can dress themselves.
    They may or may not do that well, that’s on them.
    But, we can dress a body that is not our own, that has almost no control of itself, and make it look good.
    We put jeans and khakis and shorts on man, all while he is laying down. We push and pull that body side to side and tuck pockets in and make sure leg bags are straight (and closed!) and button buttons and snap snaps, and buckle belts and tuck things in and pull them out just enough so that it’s comfortable and doesn’t cause a pressure sore.
    We do this with impeccable strength and grace day in and day out and we nail it.
    It is a science.
    It is not easy.
    Because if you screw up, your man can end up looking like a saggy bag of potatoes in a cart.
    But if you tug and push and pull, and align those jeans and that shirt just the right way, he is comfortable, and he looks good and he has that confidence that he looks good.
    And we like that confidence.
    So, no matter how tired we are, or how much our backs already hurt, we do this dressing dance every morning. Then, we make the bed and make breakfast. And probably lunch. And eventually, dinner.

    We can clean up any type of bodily produce imaginable.
    Without breathing.
    We do more laundry than anyone else you know.

    We multitask.

    We are landscapers, maids, and mechanics.
    We are drivers and nurses and wheelchair repairmen.

    In fact, we can drive, talk on the phone, eat fast food and feed french fries to our passengers, simultaneously. That “mom hand” that goes out when you’re braking hard, so that your passenger doesn’t end up on the dash board? We have that. We use it all the time. Even when we’re told we don’t need to.

    We have strange encounters with strangers.
    We’re either stared at or ignored, or looked like someone is saying with their eyes, “bless her heart.”
    We roll our eyes. We smile with forgiveness.

    Because we are taken care of too.
    We are deeply loved.
    We get massages with pointy elbows and soft, warm hands.
    We get the BEST kissers in the world.
    We are appreciated.
    We are honored.

    We are a part of a team.
    We are bonded to our husbands in such a deep, intimate way.  
    And sometimes, despite the hard work and frustrations, we are thankful that we are forced to love this way, because we are also loved this way.
    Just as fiercely. 
    Just as consistently.
    Just as sacrificially.
    We are.

    -Dana Brown Ritter (2012)
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
    100 Comments 25 Likes 5 Awesomes Photogenic
    I love a good love story, so this thread is giving me heart eyes!!!  <3
  • cruiseybabbbycruiseybabbby Posts: 18Moderator Moderator
    25 Likes 10 Comments 5 Awesomes Photogenic
    One day I'll be posting my story here!
  • vassoula128vassoula128 Posts: 3Member
    Photogenic First Comment
    edited March 13
    Hi Everyone! My name is Vasso and I wanted to share our love story  <3

    Our story was decades in the making I guess you can say. Dimitri and I grew up just a couple of blocks away from each other. Our families knew each other because he did martial arts with my brother's for many years during his youth. Being that I am six years younger than him, he didn't even know my brothers had a sister because we weren't in the same karate class together. I always knew who he was because of pictures and because his parents always said hello to my mother and I when I'd go to the grocery store with her. 

    Flash forward to April 2014, we met by chance at church the night before Orthodox Easter. He came to say hello to my brothers who he hadn't seen in years and that's when he introduced himself to me. There were sparks and a connection instantly. We went our separate ways and all I could do was hope that we'd happen to run into each other again (he tells me to this day, he was thinking the same exact thing) o:) . My one brother helped me out by making  himself a LinkedIn account so that it wouldn't be weird if I randomly requested Dimitri myself (lol). We connected through there and went back and forth for awhile before he gave me his number and we went on a close to 8 hour first date. That was in September of 2014.

    For months, he had on again, off again back pain that didn't seem any different then what someone might feel if they had a knot in their back. The night before the injury, we were out to dinner and enjoying a beautiful Saturday summer night. We went back to his place and I rubbed his back where it was hurting with some tiger balm and then I left to head home at around 1am. By 8 the next morning I had missed 7 of his phone calls, which was completely unlike him. I kept calling him back until finally, his sister answered his phone and told me they were in the hospital because his back had been hurting so badly that he fell to the floor of his living room and said that he couldn't move his legs or get up. EMT's and the NYPD had to be called in order to carry him down the long flight of stairs of his apartment building. We had to have him transferred to a hospital in Manhattan because the one in our neighborhood didn't have anyone working the MRI machine that day. When he got there, they found a mass in the imaging that turned out to be a hemorrhage/clot of some sort that had filled his entire spine and compressed his spinal cord. They performed surgery right away, which took nearly 8 hours. The date was August 14th, 2016.  The next 72 hours were the longest ever, as we waited and watching neurologists coming in and out and doing tests to see if he regained any movement or sensation below the T4 level and if he lost any strength in his arms and hands.  I clearly remember speaking to his neurosurgeon the next day after his post-surgical MRI and asking her if he'd regain his movement and function. She looked me square in the eyes and said "let's be realistic" and then turned and walked away.

    It's been a little over 2 and a 1/2 years since the injury and we still don't have an answer as to why Dimitri became T4 complete SCI to begin with. After all the tests that have been run and every possible blood work that exists in the medical field, everything has come back normal. Doctors don't have an answer and say that they've never seen something like this happen before.


    Living with a partner with a SCI teaches you a lot about being patient. As a high school teacher, I already had patience, but after the injury, I've really realized how patient I have to be with myself and with us.  We've learned a lot about each other since the injury that we may have not learned if it hadn't happened. We've learned that some days are going to be much easier than others (both physically and mentally) and that the need to socialize and be involved in the SCI community is absolutely necessary. Yes, we have our friends that we see and spend time with, but it is almost more comforting to be around our friends who are too an interabled couple.  We found the importance of getting outside as much as possible because being stuck indoors all day is very detrimental to Dimitri's mental state, especially during the cold NYC winter months.


    As a WAG, I definitely recommend that all WAGS take time to do things that THEY want and NEED to do.  If you don't take care of yourself, you will only grow to resent the situation. 
    Communicate with your partners about how you are feeling and what you need to maintain a healthy state of mind and it will make the relationship happier.

    All we can do now is try and live day-by-day dealing with on going issues that continue to be unsolved. This injury made our relationship and love grow beyond what I ever thought possible and I couldn't imagine a life without my superman by my side.

  • diaalva01diaalva01 Posts: 1Member
    First Comment
    Hi everyone! I am Diana and I am the girlfriend to an amazing man, Alberto. He has a C-6 Incomplete spinal cord injury so we are always faithful and hopeful that he will gain more and more function. 

    Alberto had his accident in August of 2014, at the time he was my best friend. We were with friends and family at a man-made water park and he suffered a freak accident. He went head first down a water slide and hit the bottom of the lake. If you ask him, he swears he tried to move but nothing happened. He told himself, "Hold you breath" and that is the last thing he remembers. I was the one who noticed him floating in the water face down, his 9 yr old nephew was the one who pulled him up, and his sister did CPR to save his life. Funny thing is, as I was moving out the way for the EMT's to bring him up the sandy hill, I somehow managed to break my leg. As he was being life flighted to a hospital, I was begging an ambulance to take me to the same one. From that day on, I did not spend more than 1 day apart from him. I was there for surgeries, consultations, therapy, wound management, many sleepless nights, and some good days.
    As he was finishing his first inpatient stay at a hospital for rehabilitation, he asked me to be his girlfriend. The day he was released from the hospital, we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment, no wheelchair accessibility and our four kids sharing the second bedroom. We somehow made it work. Our little family made the best of it. There have been so many days that I sit back and think of how different our live's would be if it wasn't for the accident, and in the same sense, I am thankful for everything we have been through. Four years later and we are in a much bigger space, we have an accessible van, and our kids are older. 
    I work a full time job, have four kids between the two of us, have two dogs, and I volunteer for a baseball little league. What I have learned through my experience is that some days are really hard, like really really hard, but that is okay because I know that those times are just a moment in my life and they will pass. I learned that I need to take care of myself and it is okay to have me time. At the beginning I was always there and I lost myself in his injury. I would never go anywhere and I was always trying to help. He finally convinced me to venture out and convinced me that he will be okay. Some days it is hard for me to see him struggle to hold something or open something, it is hard to watch him have such a hard time with things that seem so trivial but I learned that I need to back off because how is he supposed to live independent if I am always hovering over waiting to come to his rescue.  
    The advice I can give other WAGS is self help and self care. You are no good to anyone if you are not good with yourself. As much as I have helped Alberto, he has helped me understand that. 

  • vassoula128vassoula128 Posts: 3Member
    Photogenic First Comment
    edited March 15
  • jatwiningjatwining Posts: 1Member
    First Comment
    edited March 20

    Hi! My name is Jaimee and I met my husband, Gabriel, in high school. We became fast best friends. Gabe was in husband accident shortly after entering college; March 2007. He fell from a top bunk bed with no railing in his sleep and broke his neck (C5/C6). The paramedics said it was like he won the lottery in hell. That same year we reconnected and have been together ever since. We were married in 2012. In June of 2017, we started the IUI process. I was pregnant after two rounds and had our baby in May 2018. Out of all the struggles that come with being a quadriplegic and being a quad wife, our hardest year was this last one. Gabe fell ill August 2018 and after multiple misdiagnosis, he was diagnosed with MRSA. As a new mom and a caregiver, I felt hopeless, angry, and like a failure. But with the support of my husband, WAGs of SCI and proper treatment of MRSA and my PPD, we overcame. I have no doubt that we will have more obstacles to overcome, but I’m thankful that this is the man I get to walk and roll beside for the rest of our lives. 
  • vpitaluga1vpitaluga1 Posts: 2Member
    Photogenic First Comment
    Danny and I attended the same high school and even worked together at Starbucks without ever officially meeting one another. Danny graduated in 2007, I graduated in 2008, and in 2009 Danny was involved in a car accident that left him a quadriplegic. Shortly thereafter, our mutual friends began to flood social media with news of the accident, pictures of Danny, and inspirational messages. Then, in December 2010, I stumbled upon a blog Danny’s uncle started shortly after his accident. I was intrigued by Danny’s last post, in which he listed his new phone number and mentioned he was learning to drive with hand controls. Seeing as how he hadn’t posted in nearly a year, I used the holidays as an excuse to text Danny to say “Merry Christmas” and tell him how inspirational he is. Rather than saying “thank you” and leaving it at that, Danny insisted I reveal my identity. I told him my name but reminded him that he didn’t know who I was. This began a series of non-stop texts and 48 hours later we went on our first date to watch a matinee showing of Tangled. Throughout the movie, I quipped about the fantasy fairytale love and insisted that “true love doesn’t exist.” We spent over 8 hours together that day, grabbing lunch after the movie and continuing to get to know one another over drinks. Our nonstop texting continued and, 2 months later, their whirlwind romance took Danny on his first flight as a quadriplegic to visit me in New York City on Valentine’s Day. From that day on, we were two peas in a pod. We’ve since kayaked, snorkeled, ziplined, traveled nationally and internationally, attended numerous wheelchair rugby tournaments, and celebrated every major milestone together, which includes our wedding and the birth of our son, Joseph. Currently, we run Accessible Vacations where we hope to inspire the differently-abled community to get out and see the world in spite of their limitations. 



  • jeannettekrikorianjeannettekrikorian Posts: 1Member
    Photogenic First Comment
    edited May 8
    Hi lovely community!

    My name is Jeannette Krikorian, I'm one of the Los Angeles Ambassadors for WAGS of SCI!

    My husband, Apkar, and I met (believe it or not!) at a nightclub in Hollywood! It was summer and humid night in LA and I swore I was having a bad hair day because I actually was lol. My single girlfriends and I were hanging out when this strikingly tanned, handsome, Hugo Boss-cologned guy comes over to compliment my hair and begins chatting with me. Three minutes into our conversation, I was laughing and the rest was history! Apkar and I spent the next 4 years dancing and laughing our lives away. We attended a ton of music festivals, concerts, went on vacations, and just started building the beginning of a beautiful life together. 

    It was the Summer of 2016 when I had just completed my first year at UCLA for my Master's of Public Health and my summer internship. I decided a nice getaway right before starting my last year would be perfect so we planned a vacation to Maui. Our plan was to stay in Maui for 4 days. On the 2nd day, to my SURPRISE, Apkar popped the question and asked me to marry him!!!! We were both sooo high on life that day and could not wait to get back home to start our life together. The next day, we decided to celebrate our engagement by staying at our resort since we had been taking day trips. It was a gloomy and rainy day in Maui that day, unlike any of the other days, so we decided to set fort at the pool. Apkar took a dip in the pool but decided he wanted to take a dip in the beach and told me he would be right back. I remember keeping my eye on him but losing sight and before I knew it, they were pulling Apkar out of the water. He was unconscious and I had no idea he had take a shallow wave and broken his neck and that our lives were changed forever. We spent the next 5 weeks in the ICU at Maui Memorial Medical Center before we took an air ambulance back to California. 



    After arriving in California, we spent the next 2.5 months in rehab and I never left his side. Hospital days were the hardest. They're almost a blur now  but I remember telling him at the hospital that we can still have the life we dreamed of and talked about. Even though I really didn't know what to expect with this injury at the time, I was right. Fast forward 2.5 years later to today and we are happily married and are continuing to build the life we always talked about. Though this injury brought on the hardest/darkest times, God brought us to the light and we truly feel blessed to be doing this life together with such an amazing community and God at the center of it all. 



    With much love,
    Jeannette




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