Wheelie True Stories

Unapologetically Wheel Love

Lately we have been getting a lot of negative feedback; people telling us that we are too positive and they can’t relate, that the things we post about don’t accurately portray life with a spinal cord injury, that Wheel Love isn’t unique. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and their feelings and we aren’t out to make everyone like us, but, having said that, we want to explain a few things.

 

Wheel Love is a place where people can come to learn about the good, the bad and the ridiculously funny aspects of living with and loving someone in a wheelchair.

However, we are two women who are in relationships with two completely independent paraplegics and we fully understand that our situation is different than a woman who is in a relationship with a fully dependent spouse. We are not our wheel love’s caregivers, we are their partners and we don’t help them with things like bowel routines and transfers. Everything we write about is based solely on our experiences within our relationships. We try our hardest not to speak on behalf of the entire SCI community and make assumptions about what life with different injuries or disabilities is like. We wanted to create a community where people in similar situations could find support, encouragement and friendship through our words, our videos and our experiences. We understand that some people won’t be able to relate to us, but we will always try our best to connect you with someone you can relate to, whether that’s another person, another group, or another website.

Over the last couple of years we have put a lot of heart and hard work into creating something that we believed could help people. It is so easy to get caught up in the negatives that SCI life can throw at you. On top of regular relationship struggles, we deal with UTIs, pressure wounds, dysreflexia, a healthcare system that basically knows nothing about dealing with SCI, the extra needs, extra medical costs and it’s so easy to get lost in the worry, the things you can’t do and the life you had before.

We’ve all had those moments where you just want to cry and say “f*ck it, this sucks”.

We’ve shared with you our struggles with things like disappointment, family acceptance and infertility. The important thing is that we know how to move past that and this is why Wheel Love chooses to be positive. It isn’t an inaccurate portrayal of life with an SCI, it is just how we have chosen to live our lives. We believe that humor and positivity are the best way to make through the hard times and we try to make that evident in our posts. If we can give just one person a little glimmer of hope, or make them smile for a couple seconds, or even change their outlook just a little bit, then we have succeeded.

We created Wheel Love two and a half years ago not with the goal of making it big or having a ton of social media followers, but with the goal of helping people. We saw a need for support that focused on the spouses, the family, the friends and the people who loved those with SCIs. We wanted to join the likes of Apparalyzed, Spinalpedia, Rick Hansen Foundation, AbleThrive and the numerous other websites and social media accounts that are dedicated to educating and supporting those living this SCI life. We wanted to be a resource and we feel like we have accomplished that.

We are unique in our perspective, but we are a part of a much larger community, all driven by the same goal.

So, to those of you who have always supported us, thank you. To those of you who send us emails and messages, we love hearing your stories and your kind words mean the world to us. To the other organizations, support groups and communities like us, we love what you do and look forward to working with you or alongside you in the future. To those of you who feel the need to belittle us and tell us we aren’t genuine or good enough, thank you for making us that much stronger and more determined.

 

Pushing on…

Sam & Chelsea

34 Comments

  • Jaci

    So I am very much a newbie… I just started dating one of the most amazing men I have ever met. This is all so new to me and he has been wonderful. He is very open with me about his life and what he can and can’t do. He tells me all the time he feels very comfortable telling me things where he normally isn’t this open with people. I feel comfortable as well, as I never imagined I would be this quickly. He is truly amazing and I am so looking forward to every day with him. I am so glad I found you ladies… I really look forward to learning from both of you and others who know way more than I do.

    • Sam & Chelsea

      Welcome to Wheel Love Jaci!!

      So happy to have you with us! Feel free to email us with any questions you might have, or find us on Facebook and Instagram! Congrats on the new relationship!

  • Kendra Knox

    I LOVE the positivity! Just married my wheel love Sep 23rd! Ya’lls page not only helped me practically to know some of the struggles but also showed me how much joy is possible in a wheel love relationship! My husband and I are enjoying EVERY positive lovely and wonderful aspect of our life together. And keep those articles and videos coming, please!!!

  • Belinda

    Don’t listen to the negativity out there and keep on doing your thing and writing about it!! You have been so helpful to me and my SCI husband. While his injury and level of independence is different from that of your wheel loves’, and our day to day challenges are somewhat different, there is so much that we have in common. I can relate to so many of your experiences. Your blog has normalized a lot of my feelings. You have provided insight and practical tips that have helped me so much. Please keep pushing on and sharing with us.
    All the best, Belinda

  • Aaron T Anderson

    Don’t apologize – fuck ’em!
    I’m a wheelchair user and I find your perspective to be helpful. Sadly there are so many people who think they know how everything in the world works yet they have zero ability to empathize with another person whose situation may be different from their own. Thank you for posting these – I look forward to the next!

  • Ria

    When my Wheel Love came into my life and turned it upside down (I had never known anyone with an SCI before my partner) it was the most amazing positive and challenging time of my life. I’m a quick learner and it was a good job! We share so much love and intimacy, I am not his ‘carer but I do care for him. He has had a lot of health problems in the last couple pf years but we worked through them and made decisions together. You have to laugh a lot (I have laughed more since I met my partner less than 5 years ago than I did in all the years before he came into my life – I’m no spring chicken so that’s a lotta years!) Yes it’s frustratingly hard and soul destroying some days but only some days. Most days are magnificent. I’ve learned to be patient, less selfish and how to love completely. I am no longer living a half life. My life with my T6/7 Para partner is fulfilling and complete.

  • Taryn

    I agree with much of what others have said. My partner is an independent quad and though he is independent there are a lot struggles and moments of wishing there was more people to relate to. We have to stay positive, there is no other way! I look forward to your posts and am thankful you starting sharing your lives!

  • Rachel Westbrook

    As a person who was born with CP and Progressive Spinal Atrophy and being confined to a chair for almost 21 yrs due to horrific M/V/A, I can see both perspectives.. It’s easy to be negative dealing with this and that.

    I too try my best (some days I have to try harder) to use positivity and humor (including sass and sarcasm 💁) on a daily basis to fight off the negative thoughts, anxiety, depression and etc.. BUT when I do not stay upbeat I noticed more negativity, anxiety, depression and etc!! That’s 1 reason why I love reading your posts and journey – it not only helps keep me positive but it sheds light that other people are facing similar challenges & even staying upbeat.

    I don’t know Sam (personally) but I have met and spent time with Chelsea and James and their smiles and positivity are infectious!! I’m SO glad I came across wheellove because I need the extra encouragement, positivity and etc that you ladies (and even the guys) provide!! So thank you!!!!

  • Herbert (Bert) McKinley

    I have an SCI and am GLAD to read the positive posts you all share. My wife loves to read them as well. It isn’t easy keeping a positive attitude and it really helps reading the humorous and thought provoking posts you share. Some people seem to wallow in negativity and want to smear it on everyone around them. If they can’t laugh at the small things, they will always cry about anything.

  • Jason Chiles

    Have to chime in with my wish that this post hadn’t been necessary for you. Everyone has their challenges, their failures, their joys, their triumphs, their falls. I know able bodied people who don’t enjoy the life my wife and I do and I know people with worse disabilities who I look at and go “wow, why can’t I get to that”. That’s life…why crap in either direction?

    I’ve always taken Sam and Chelsea’s posts as their adventures and experiences and mostly stories to laugh at and nod with a “yep, been there” attitude. It’s unfortunate that people can’t just take the joy of it and must complain that it doesn’t match “their experience”. Folks we all have different experiences, it up to you how you view it. I won’t criticize how you and your family handle your injury or illness, so please don’t criticize others. There is no right or wrong way and in my opinion, the ladies are just trying to shine some light and laughter on a lifestyle many people know nothing about.

    So if you’ve got a gripe, a groan, a moan…think about it before you comment, post or email. Do they really need to hear the negative?

    Keep on wheeling ladies, you are doing great and all the best to the families…oh and my wife hates the term caregiver too.

  • Jamie

    Your blog has been such a normalizing place where I’ve been able to relate since I started dating a man with sci. Disability is so seldom talked about, much less understood. I was so thankful to find your blog and social media where I could see women like me. Thank you for Wheel Love, and I’m really excited for Chelsea’s short documentary!

    • Sam & Chelsea

      Thanks Jamie!! So glad to have you with us! We are really excited for the documentary as well!! Much love!

  • Lynda

    Sam & Chelsea, it saddens me that we all can’t see the GREATER good of these blogs, to bring some insight, share some stories, have some laughs and even share a few tears! There is so much negativity in the world we all need to support and lift each other up! Keep on doing what you do best and that’s spread the love with Wheel Love ❤️

  • Adele

    I love this post! Since when is being positive a negative?? You guys nailed it in this post! One minor detail though. You said that your posts are not an accurate portrayal of life with a spouse who deals with a SCI, but it IS. Your posts are positive AND accurate. Life can be viewed with positivity or negativity. It’s all perspective. If someone feels that a positive outlook and funny stories are an inaccurate portrayal of life with a spinal cord injury, they obviously have never spent any time with the awesome people from Accessible Okanagan! The group of people I have met through my wheel love are the most amazing, fun, positive, can-do people I have ever met in my entire life. Thank you Chelsea and Sam for what you do. I live reading all about your experiences and spending time with all of the AO people! 💙

  • maureen

    Keep it up!! Attitude is always a choice 🙂
    I’m a para woman of 38 years – I’ve had a spectacularly awesome life – divorcing able-bodied husband of 30 years, now, but that has nothing to do with disability. I also have 2 awesome sons – 2 giant basketballs in utero that messed up my balance, but I’m proud to say In spite of the number of times I wheelied off of curbs, I never dropped them – no brain damage 😉

  • Elizabeth Latona

    You are amazing wonderful strong role models and I am so very grateful for you choosing to stand or sit or wheel or whatever in the light. God bless you and thank you for the beauty you bring to our world with your positive strength and love and determination to live the life we have been given. You have given me hope and helped to laugh and see that some of the things I never dreamed would be a part of my life or marriage dont mean the end of my life and loving happy marriage.

    • Sam & Chelsea

      Thanks so much Elizabeth! We are glad that you are with us!! Thank you for your support and we are so glad that you have learned to ‘roll’ with what you were given!! Much love!

  • Barbara

    My husband is a stroke survivor so somewhat different situation but not so very different. It’s hard to be up and positive but I have to. For both of us. Life goes on and I being down and negative serves no purpose. If I keep a positive spin on things, my husband stays more positive and content. Who wants to live life being miserable all the time. We are in our mid 60’s, time is short and I don’t want to waste our days being sad and contrary. We will celebrate or 44th anniversary in December. We make choices everyday about so many things. I guess we choose to enjoy everyday the best we can. Some days are easier than others, but it’s a state of mind. Your emails show us that there are others out there who face challenges, maybe different than ours but challenges non the less. Keep up your positivity because some days that’s all we have to keep us going! Thank you!

    • Sam & Chelsea

      Thanks Barbara! We couldn’t agree more, being down and negative serves no purpose! We are glad that you are able to stay positive and make the most out of your time together! Thanks for following us!! Much love!

  • Matt

    Good for you and your families. There are support groups out there for those that need it and if you don’t see what you want for support, create it.

  • Yasaman Best

    I’m a sci woman and my husband is an able body and I can related to many many many of your posts and videos. Keep up the great work

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