Four years ago, I had a bad accident while rollerblading; I fell flat on my back and had two compression fractures in my thoracic spine.Of course the initial pain was bad but over time it got better and I learned to live with the residual discomfort.From then on the pain has increased and I have had to adjust my life to deal with my disability.Over the years the pain waxed and waned; during the bad times I would have to go to the emergency room and spend up to a week in the hospital and rely on my mother to be my caretaker, and during the good times I was able to attend classes at Johnson and Wales and participate in my favorite activities like skiing, dancing, and baking.

Sugar Cane
A little over a year ago the pain started getting really bad and other symptoms started because of the severe pain, like weakness in my legs and the loss of heat sensation in my hands.I started having to use a cane and have to carry around a pillow wherever I go for me to sit against.The severe chronic pain and other symptoms have increased to a point where I am now practically home-bound and have had to move back home to Michigan to receive treatment.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender
Although I currently cannot work anywhere, let alone a kitchen job, I have not given up my dreams of owning my own bakery.I don't know what the future holds for me and my back pain but I am not going to give up.While my next set of classes will be online, I still plan on finishing culinary school even if it will be difficult.

Over the summer break I am looking into different tools for me to help live independently and continue down the career path that I have such a passion for.While every day kitchens are not set up to be friendly to someone walking with a cane or using a wheelchair, I am determined to make it work for me!