In 2013, I was still struggling with pain and reduced strength in my legs from when a car hit me while I was crossing the road six years previously. I was also planning my June wedding to the man I love and who was searching for answers to my medical questions alongside me. I was determined to walk down the aisle in heels, even though my legs would often give out unexpectedly and leave me stranded on a curb when I would go out with friends. I know now that my fear of mobility aides and of the word “disability” was actively harming me and making my condition worse. After our wedding, my new husband Jon and I honeymooned in Iceland. We have always loved traveling together, and this trip was one of the best we’ve ever experienced. There were time, though, where my limited mobility kept us from exploring as freely as we wanted to. Hiking was not possible for me, and even exploring out from the jeep we had rented was difficult. We took some beautiful pictures in our wedding clothes out in the Icelandic lava fields, but there was still so much we didn’t get to do.
Four years later (just this past month), my husband and I, along with his family, went back to Iceland. I’ve now had my Rough Rider for a couple years and it continues to give me access to parts of my life that I thought I would never get back when I finally decided to get a chair. We went back to some of those same beautiful sights, like Þingvellir and Geysir, and I was able to be a part of the journey in more ways than I had been able to on our honeymoon. I rounded a corner of the steep path along Þingvellir on this most recent trip, guiding my chair around obstacles, and suddenly saw an entire waterfall that I hadn’t known existed. On our honeymoon, I’d had to stop at the top of that path because I knew my legs wouldn’t carry me. I feel so grateful for what my Rough Rider has given me and how much more I can accomplish now.