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E29: Mandi Curry’s an Expert at Adaptive Powerlifting with Paralysis

July 27th 2020

In this episode, Mandi Curry takes us through her experience with major adaptations across powerlifting, skiing, rugby, and the outdoors after enduring a T-7 Vertebrae Spinal Cord Injury in 2018. T... More

this is disabled girls who lift. We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours one podcast at a time, it's mary beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that. A bliss comfort zone. Yeah, yeah. Mhm. Welcome yet again folks to another episode of disabled girls who lived. It's Marcy from south florida and it's mary beth from California. So we are excited to bring in a guest. She has been a longtime friend of ours on the disabled girls who left community. Her name is mandy curry. A lot of y'all probably know her as Xo man's on instagram. Um She's coming over from plain city. Ohio very nutso. Plain City. She is a T. Seven paraplegic uh power lifter. We've seen her doing tons of adaptive skiing rugby, the works y'all. Um please welcome her. We just like tons of paraplegics in the world, do not confine her to her wheelchair.

Um So we're gonna talk a little bit about that and everything else going in her life? Welcome Mandy. Hi, thank you. So thanks for joining us. So we're gonna start with The obvious question of, what are you doing in a wheelchair? What does the T. seven, what does that even mean? So T. Seven. Um is there a 67, the number of where the injury is. So what vertebrae that I broke. Um So it's in the car accident ended up breaking my back then at T7, which is right about where your rib cage comes together. That um typhoid process right there is about the same level um all the way around, so damaged my spinal cord there. And I have been working on trying to get stuff moving since then, it was in March of 2018. Oh that's pretty fresh.

2018. Oh jeez so you and I both had a big year of 2018. Um This that's when my mom passed away. Do you feel like in terms of old life and new life because I see that verb each sometimes. Do you feel like do you celebrate your life day? Do you feel like you know you're a new person again? Um I kind of do more so of like not looking back and like seeing what I've lost um But looking more of like everything that I've gained and how far that I've really come since that day. Um I remember waking up in the hospital um The first thing I remember, I don't remember the accident anything I remember waking up and I actually had my training partners beside my bed because um one of the girls I trained with, she was a nurse in the hospital and found out that's where I was and everything is supposed to be training with them. Um But they woke me up and kind of told me like hey you're gonna be able to walk but um still being able to train with them and just kind of like looking how far I came from learning how to even just like sit up at the edge of the bed to now where I'm able to transfer on and off machines at the gym and um on and off of the ground be a little bit more mobile outside of my chair too.

So I'm sure things might be different because you are a power lifting before, so being active isn't new in general, but now it's just new to what you have to adapt and how you can do it. Exactly, yeah. So, does that change the way that you view? Because I've worked, you know, I'm a physical therapist, I don't know if, you know, but, and I've worked with like, a range of people with spinal cord injury and then sometimes you meet the person that's like, yo I just want, my arms are strong and like you said, I just want to sit, you know, I just want to play tennis and I'll be cool. But also you might find the other person who's like, oh, I need to walk again and that's that's their top goal. Are you? Where are you on that spectrum? So, I would say when I first was injured, because I heard the incomplete, your spinal cord wasn't severed, I'm like, I want to walk again, Like make me walk again, but it's kind of not what my body has decided to do. That's the most frustrating thing about this injury is that it's not like you can go and fix it and make it better, make it stronger so that you can walk again and you're back to your normal life beforehand.

Um So I did start off as I want to walk again, like help me walk again and then it's changed to while I was still an inpatient rehab. Um came to okay, I want to be as functional and as mobile as I can from the wheelchair level. Um So it kind of quickly switched to being okay, like if I can't walk, I want to still be able to do everything that I want to be able to do and figure out how to do that and be strong at it. So that's kind of where I'm at now. I mean yeah would be great to walk again, but it's really just trying to be as mobile and not letting the chairs let me down as much as possible, right? Yeah, the chairs is an is an eight, you know, I have legs, you have the chair or whatever. Um But it's it's weird for me seeing that because I used to work, I worked in a lot of different settings and I used to work at one place where like that's what they were selling and after a while, like I just couldn't sit with it anymore. Like I just, I don't know if I could do this anymore because that's what they would sell if you came if you, if you rolled in, you were like, hey you guys work with spinal cord injuries.

Cool, let's do some work. The first thing they would do is be like, oh well we're gonna walk again, we're gonna strap you up, we're gonna put you on the treadmill every day, we're gonna wanna walk again. It's like horrible selling that dream and these people will come in and I'll work with them. We were like, bro, you can't even sit like, can we work on like finding where your abs are? And they're like, no, but I want to walk, I'm gonna try to, I'm like, oh, I don't know if I can do this. Yeah. And I did get to get up and use like the treadmill and stuff. Yeah, there's nothing wrong with it at all. Yeah, of course you need to wait very and you need to do that as exercise. But I feel like people, it's the same way as someone with an invisible illness, like, oh, I want a diagnosis so somebody can cure me. Like, it's that same kind of, I don't mind set, I guess you could call it exactly like you want to be cured from the spinal cord injury, but there's no way to cure a spinal cord injury. Like have to unfortunately come to terms with it. And that's what I had to do. And I guess I was, I wouldn't say lucky because you're never lucky to know someone who's had that injury and had a spinal cord injury, but at the same time I was fortunate enough that one of the girls that I cheered with in high school, she was a year younger than me, her senior year of high school, she ended up with a spinal cord injury from a car accident, same level as me and everything.

Um So I was able to watch her for nine years live her life and still travel and still go out and do things because um she was part of the role, lets the wheelchair dance team. Yeah, it was cool to be able to follow her. So then when I had my injury, it made it a lot easier for me to be like, okay, Like I can still live my life, I can still go and do everything that I want to do, it's just gonna look a little different. So I think that really helped. And that's totally the importance of, you know, a community like disabled girls who left or any kind of disability awareness, disability empowerment is seeing other people with your either diagnosis or disability or injury and seeing what levels they can do. You know, someone to look up to in that way. But well, were you talking about chess, Chelsie Hill? I saw a picture of you with her, Is that no Caitlin? Oh, nice. Because I thought I saw that you did end up dancing with the real let's um some time ago.

Yeah, well Chelsea came to um a wellness like I don't know like fest festival type thing. Um Down in Cincinnati and I figured you know she's so close like I'm only like an hour because I live outside of columbus so I'm like an hour hour and a half from Cincinnati. Like I'll drive down there for the day and like go like take like a class from her. And so that was a lot of fun. Damn I'll start. So you did cheer power lifting you? Well you did a little bit of dance with them it seems like and then I I've seen you doing adaptive skiing and all these amazing like tools that you can use off road or on the snow. And how did you find all of that? Like was it through other friends who had similar uh T. Seven S. C. I. S. Um I actually got really lucky to have a great physical therapist and occupational therapist who knew that I was very active beforehand and were able to kind of like pointing in other directions too.

Um Like both my inpatient and outpatient therapists were amazing. Um And so there's a group in columbus it's called adaptive sports connection. And so they kind of help facilitate these different sports so that's how I got into the skiing was through them and I had never skied before and it's really it's so much fun. I love it. Um But that's how I got into skiing and then the rugby um My outpatient physical therapist um was one of like the just like one of the coaches kind of for the team. And so he really pushed me to go out for that. I can't necessarily play in the games because it's quad rugby. Um My injury levels too low um to actually play in the games but to be able to go and practice with them and everything that really kind of keeps up your cardio, that's for sure. Um And for anybody that might not know what that means.

What do you mean? You're too low? My injury level is too low. So my quad rugby, you have to have at least three limbs impaired. And so with only being a paraplegic and only having my legs impaired. Um I don't have a high enough injury. So like you have to have like a cervical injury usually is for a quadriplegic um where you have at least three limbs impaired. Mm hmm. So my injury level being thoracic is too low. So basically the way that they adapt and set up the sport for that team works for them. But it wouldn't really work for you. Yeah. Yeah, I'd be too strong of a player to be playing with everyone. Yeah, it's a level of fairness. Instead of putting all the adaptive athletes together, you guys are all in chairs, whatever. Yeah, right. Like that's it. There's such a difference, you know playing with and usually all guys, there's one other younger um girl on the team, but it's all these guys and so being able to kind of, this is gonna sound mean but beat up on them a little bit and the chairs is kind of fun.

But then you have some of the quads where um they're technically labeled as a quadriplegic because of where they're injury level is and they do have impairments in their arms, but they're still super strong. So they come out of nowhere. There's a guy that I played with, his name is Andy, he comes out of nowhere and will like throw me over in my chair. A lot of fun though, it's a lot of fun to just be able to beat up on everyone. Like it's pretty much like bumper cars and chairs. I've seen the and they're like you have barriers to on the outside, right? Yeah, so that when you bump into each other, you're not breaking your chair, you have another chair for sporting or to use the same thing for every don't there are different chairs that you use. So there's like a rugby chair, there's a basketball chair um with the skiing, you know, there's the different types of sleds and stuff like seated sleds. Um But they have the adaptive sports connection and the rugby team have their own chairs that they let you borrow.

Um So when I go to rugby, I have my chair that I used there that I use every week, but it's not my chair um it belongs to the group. That's awesome. So you don't have to because I mean that's going to be the barrier for a lot of people. Like I want to play wheelchair basketball, but I don't have the chair, You just show up and they have it for you. It's awesome. It's really but it is co ed. You said it's mostly men, but it is a co ed game. So if I were a woman with a pair, okay, that's dang. And you've done all of this in the last two years, That's freaking incredible. The fact that you had never skied before your injury and here you are. Yeah. Too many years. Just living life. Yeah, skiing is the best because I mean I've tried, I've tried almost everything that you can um But skiing gives you that like adrenaline rush, you know, like that feeling in your stomach where you put your stomach like drops out.

Um It's awesome because I've been trying to like find that like rush, you know, since being in the chair, it's kind of hard to do that. Um But skiing is, it's a lot of fun if anyone else is in the chair hasn't tried skiing, you know, try skiing, Can you swim? Okay, I can't swim. I'm only saying this, but and you were able to swim beforehand. I was able to swim beforehand. Yeah, the issue I have, so my parents have a pool. Um But the issue that I have I can't swim but if I somehow my legs float up and I'm laying on my back in the water like I'm stuck, I don't have enough like ab control or anything like that push back down. So yeah It was fun figuring that one out. I only ask that not to say like oh can you do this, can you do that? But when you said skiing, like it reminded me of Vanessa Cantu who literally for the first time for crossfit or um other games like she threw herself in the ocean to learn how to swim after her S.

C. I. N. G. It was like yep there you go. It's a lot of upper body movement. And even after you know coming back into power lifting, you're noticing that you're so much stronger in your upper body, you're probably benching things. Um Now how does that go? So I actually might get we want to know if you want to know what excited I think that being all upper body that my bench would be through the freaking roof by now. Um But there's so much more that goes into the bench that you don't realize until you don't have it, what else you need. So when I bench I have my feet on either side of the bench transfer on and sit like I'm sitting on like a bench you know? Um And because a lot of people will tie their legs up so um it's more of a, there's a call, there's a name for it, I can't remember what it is though right now, where you have your feet up and you don't use your Yeah, yeah impress.

Um I don't do that, so I have my feet on either side, so it helps a little bit more with balance. Um But it's also making sure that I found that if my butt is more to one side of the bench than the other, it causes me when I unwrapped to kind of lean that way. Um So I have to make sure that your butt is centered that your feet aren't having spasms or whatever. Um But then you also don't have your core really destabilize you when you unwrap that wait to. Um And I was using so much of my legs to push through the floor to help with my bench. Um I don't have that drive anymore either, so before my accident I was Doing 1 75 for sets of four and five. Um after my accident, my first meet after my accident was in December and I hit a 1 75 bench was like my max out there. Um But then yeah, I mean it's still good but it was like frustrating because you know, you're wrapping that out before your accident and now it's like I'm struggling to get 1 75 up like that's really frustrating.

Um but then I had to meet in november um but last year and hit 181 which meat wise, that's like a pr all over um even more before my accident, so that was really cool. Um unfortunate to have to know a lot of really good people that are helping a lot with my training to and helping me with different ideas and different ways to adapt things that even though they are injured. Um they still know a lot with like the power lifting world that they're not with you. Yeah. Yeah, so I'm thinking like mechanically, like you're saying your balance is different, your stabilization is different. So do you start tweaking with what we as you know, quote unquote powerlifters picture the bench, like the arch and the scraps and where we put our hands and where was our bar path that you have to play with? All that I'm guessing I did, yeah, so I pull myself more underneath the bar and then kind of like push myself back so I can still get my arch.

Um and I'm able to tuck like my lats as much as I can. I mean half of them don't fire, but because of where my injury level is, it kind of cuts my latin half. Um so I try and tuck as much as I can still and I did have to modify kind of my bar path, I used to hit kind of right underneath of my chest and then now I have to hit in the center of my chest so that way I'm not thrown off and kind of editing that and then I also had to change um my grip on the bar like how far in or out my hands are, I moved them in a little bit more. Um Just that that was again more balance and I had injuries to my shoulder um actually to my A. C. Joint so I needed to kind of edit that's it that way I wasn't causing myself more pain and injuring my shoulders more. Right? Yeah because in your accident it's like okay I'm a T.

Seven, something happened to my spinal cord but you still got a whole rest of your body. Did you have other broken bones or you know like lung punctured or anything else that you had to recover from? Fortunately I wasn't, I mean it was critical but it wasn't extremely critical my accident, my injuries um I had small fractures in my hip, in my foot. Um I did break a rib at that T. Seven level. Um And unfortunately I could still feel it, that was the most painful thing ever if you know anybody. Oh my gosh like it still gives me issues and it's been 2.5 years. Um But then I had tears to my infra and super spinach lettuce in my left shoulder um in the back. And then um I had some a small fracture to my A. C. Joint in my left arm as well. Um And then found out that I had um distal clavicle.

Er osteoporosis where the bones are rubbing against each other in my A. C. Joint my right shoulder which they call it like ventures shoulder. Um So with my body being so interior all day with pushing and so it's so much of like my chest and my front shoulders and everything my delts. Um I learned that I need to do when I'm in the gym twice as much back work. Then I do front work. Um And that has helped immensely with my shoulder pain really getting my back strong and keeping my posture good and everything. Um I don't have any shoulder pain really anymore every once in a while I'll tweak something the wrong way. But I mean everyone does but um really working my back has really helped with shoulders. Put the rib occasionally gives you a little fun that rib rain if it's cold it's gonna rain. We're getting older you know?

Yeah it's like man my knee hurts today it's gonna rain like me and my rib really hurts. It's probably a brain later. Hey I'm already getting that knee thing. Yeah that sucks. Well I don't know about y'all but I counted 100 and 50 different adaptations that you are constantly learning from on a daily And the fact that you've already, You know, matched at least 85% of your bench. Pr well that takes people a while to do just that your injuries just from like the sprain and the strains that alone is a recovery. Feeling disappointed. But that's I mean obviously you're going to but the really two years no less than two years because it's two years now but less than two years. Yeah. We're just saying they're wearing press girl. It was exciting. But at the same time it's like, man, I was wrapping that out before my accident that was actually in meat prep and had a meet at the end of april that I was doing that, I just like, okay yeah, I had my accident, I broke my back like paralyzed whatever.

Like that could have just been like a month later because I was having a great meat prep and then I broke my back and I'm like come in like couldn't just like wait a couple of weeks and then like fine, I can break my back whatever. But like I wanted to get that meat and so bad because my numbers are gonna be so good. Oh, I feel that. Yeah, no, I get you there because that was my raw Nationals. It was an absolute ass crash. Just totally trashed. And then now like a couple years later I'm finally back but I'm still like, damn man, can I gotten sick like after nationals already paid the money to go here? Like but realized how this is happening to us who like go through different adaptive changes are just like right now, what we're hearing from every athlete across the world is Goddammit coronavirus. I was having such a good meat prep bitch. Yeah, no, it's either 50 50 for us, disabled people in the world and just like they always say when you're having like a good prep, something's gotta go wrong, something has to go wrong and prep.

It always does wait. So what was it? Uh what was it, what did the timeline look like for you from the injury to going through physical therapy? And then I you said they had to, you know, walk on the treadmill for a little bit or prop you up. What did that time like look like up until you started training again for any sport? Um Tell me it was a week later kind of um I was still in in patient rehab and I asked my so it like probably like my accident was end of March, it was probably the middle of april and I'm asking my physical therapist and my occupational therapist if we could do an outing trip to go to my gym to help figure out modifications. So that's how I actually went, hey guys can we go to the gym? How much money are you paying your people because I got out of inpatient rehab on my brother's birthday.

So it was March 9th or May 9th, sorry. And then that that was like a Wednesday or Tuesday or Wednesday and then that friday I had a meeting with my um spinal surgeon who did my like fusion and stuff in my back and I'm like, so how long do I need to wait before? Like I can like start actually benching. He's like, you need to be three months out from your surgery and I'm like, all right, so that's june 25th. Okay, cool. So I go into the gym june 25th and I was supposed to wait until my doctor's appointment but I went in and I threw a plate on and was benching 1 35 3 months out I think I like higher lifter. You know what? I feel pretty good. Put some plates on the bar but come on, I need some weight. We're doing this. I had my, one of my training partners like there though, like spotting and stuff in case like I don't know how to spasm in the middle of like benching or something and threw the weight.

But yeah, I get that. I get that because that that is your comfort zone and if you're going to go through PT and learn learn everything all over again, why not Learn it with tools that you're already comfortable with like a bar bell, that's £135. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I figured to that like I felt so weak from being in the hospital like over like month, month and a half that and not really getting to be in the gym. Um That doing like the transfers and everything once I got back in the gym and I got training again, it made everything in my everyday life so much easier, getting stronger and being able to transfer better and feeling more comfortable in the transfers and it just, it helps so much, pretty much nailing everything now transfers and everything on your own. Yeah, I'm completely independent so that's really nice. Yeah. I know the biggest thing they did, they practice a lot with you trying to get from the floor up to your chair in case you fall out.

Um That was fun. There is so much fun. Yeah, I tried to do it um as I was leaving inpatient rehab because my parents have a pool um but there's, I had to figure out some way because I wanted to get in the pool so bad, they had just gotten it finished and then I had my accident. Um So I hadn't had time in the pool but Getting out of the pool, I knew that I needed to be able to get from the ground to my chair. Um and I actually have really, I'm 53 but I have really short arms compared to my body. Um So actually when I went to so impatient, it was terrible it was it was not happening doing floor transfers into my chair like was not going to happen. Um And then when I went to outpatient therapy I told my pt there I was like look like I want to be able to do a floor transfer. So we tried a couple of times and he's like the way that your body is shaped, there's no way you will be able to physically do, like there's no physical way that you could do it.

And I was like tell me I can't watch this way. And I figured that if I had um something that I could put my other arm on when I was trying to use my other arm push myself up into my chair. Does that make sense? So my arms are up a little bit higher. I had more height than in my transfer. And I could get myself up and into my chair. So I figured that out. And I went back to P. T. The next week and I was like watch this. Yeah watch me do this. There's a million ways to do a floor transfer. He was just like no it's not gonna work. Yeah. Yeah so it was more than like I need something else there. So I mean I can do a floor transfer if I'm stuck out in the field with my chair and no other nothing else. I don't know if I could get back into my chair um in that way and doing a floor transfer, but as long as I have like a chair or stool or bench or something else right there, I can put it like that and get my chair.

And do you have enough movement to like crawl on the floor, push your chairs somewhere and set it up that way or does it have to be set up? But I can like move my stuff around. I get but around there was one day when I'm upstairs in my parents house, I have like I call an old person's chair but like it's like What you see like the old people using and rolling around in and it's not like made for me and the feet are like two ft out and all that fun stuff, lightweight though. It's like a it's like a like 10 lb, what you call it? It's not even the chair that you're meant to push yourself in. Well, I can still push myself in it, but it's like the it's not a transport chair. Yeah. Oh god, okay. But it's like, it has like the feet out in front of it, you gotta flip up and turn to the side, we see grandma and grandpa and like not sitting for me.

Um But it's a chair so I can use it and I have to like bring my chair upstairs every time I come upstairs and take it back downstairs. So um but there's no way for me to do a floor transfer to get into this one. So there was one day I was home alone and I went to get on my bed and I totally flubbed the transfer ended up on the ground and had to pull myself to the stairs, go down the stairs, grab my chair downstairs, scoot over to the ottomans, that way I could transfer into my chair downstairs. So that was fun. Yeah. You figure it out where there's a will, there's a way, give you a couple of scabs along the way, but you'll figure it out. Yeah, exactly make it happen. And in terms of the gym, do you go there just to use the machines and bench or do you get on the ground or do you do other weird ship or you're still in therapy? What else are you doing? I'm not in therapy, so I finished therapy a year after my accident. So in March of last year um because I ended up doing more cool stuff outside of therapy than I was doing in therapy, but I get on the ground, I do inverted rows, I try and work on my core as much as possible because I can get my core to kind of fire but it dies really fast.

Um it gets tired really fast. So I try and do as much as I can to work everything that I can that will work with me. So I'm starting to get my directors in my back are starting to fire a little bit more, a little bit lower. So really just trying to like work that and get those muscles that are letting me work get stronger. Um but it's, it's a lot harder to get those muscles that have been paralyzed that are kind of slowly coming back. It's a lot harder to get those strong, like normal muscles I'm finding because they get tired so much faster. Um So that's kind of frustrating. But yeah, I get on the ground, I um get on all the machines. Um, the bench, I do dips everything that I can figure out to do and can modify. I try and do it and this isn't, this is like a small local gym. It's not a huge commercial situation, right?

Yeah. Um it's a private owned jim. There's only one of them type of thing. Straight power lifting though. Powerlifting and crossfit. So is everybody looking at you? Like what the funk or is everybody like? Oh yeah, that's just mandy about her. Just mandy. It's cool. We're getting a lot of more new people though with a crossfit because some of the smaller crossfit gyms around the area have had to close because of Covid. Um so are jim's kind of growing on the crossfit side. So some of the crossfit people are kind of like, looks like I get a little bit more stairs from that side, but on the power lifting side I knew everyone pretty much before my accident. Um And so everyone is still there, so they're like oh it's just mandy like whatever and then many knows her way around the gym more than all the guys from crossfit, trust me. Oh gosh! But it's my gym was absolutely fantastic after my accident and I'm just I was lucky to have them and for them to be opening open for me coming back and willing to help and kind of like move things around if it doesn't work for me and stuff like that, so I can still get around my gym.

Remember when we did the I. G. Live event with you, showing us some upper body work, like you were so frustrated with the things you've had to work from your home. I mean I'm sure everybody else is, we're lifting our dogs were lifting couches, but it must have been so nice to get back in there, start working with real weight and not just bands. It was so nice, it's so much easier to like because I know like a lot of modifications now, it was easy to just kind of get back in the routine and get back to what I knew how to do and um ways that I could actually make it work and get the right muscles to work that I wanted to fire versus here and trying to modify everything and stupid bands Hey, we love bands, but you know, we can't do it all the time. Yeah. That much. So for the sake of recovery, what does your split look like? Like what does your week look like? Um And I mean we all have those mentally dragging days, we were like, we don't want to work out this week, but um has it stayed fairly consistent?

Um It was more consistent when I was training for my meat. Um And then after that it was kind of like when I can get in, I'll get in and I really try and bust my back more often. Um Just because like I said, everything's so interior that I had to work my post area and it's hard to do that outside of the gym. Um But now it's just, I'll work upper body and then I'll take a day and I'll work just back and then I'll take a day and try and like do weird different things around the gym usually on the weekend when no one is there, so I don't have people staring at me like, what are you trying to do? Um So I can figure out different things. I can do that way. Um I'll do like core as much as I can. I'm like a day and all of that, so that's kind of kind of just playing around with things, still to figure out what works well and what I can do. So do you have a program per se? Or if you have a meet, you have a program and now you're just winging it?

Yeah if I have a meat, I have a program. Um because so my friend matt wedding um did my program for my meat and he has a master's in biomechanics so it was it's been fun to work with him and he knew more too like what I needed to focus on and then I need to do more back and everything because he's worked with me. Um So it was kind of cool. I got a lot of more ideas of what I can do in the gym with working with his program. Um But now it's just kind of winging it, whatever. Sounds good that day. Yeah, I mean what else can we do? Do you mess with Easton middle? I do, yeah I um have a little set that I use on my legs, I don't use it as often as I probably should. Um But then I used it a lot when I was in therapy um and we do like tall kneeling with the east em on to help like fire my glutes and my abs and my back and um quads, that type of thing.

So I have it but I just, I should use it more, it's just a pain in the butt. Wait so how does it work? Does it shock you for a second? Fire up your muscles. She's first on hearing of any person. What is the east end? I'm a circle back circle back to me like I'm fine. There's a couple of different I guess set up for it like So the one that I used it therapy it was a lot stronger. Um so there's like the east him and then there's like 10s units. Um That I know unit doesn't do anything for me. It's not strong enough like. Yeah. Science dude. No I go into shock when I use the tens. Yeah. Yeah so I have to use the east M. So that way it goes even higher. Um But the one that I use that physical therapy um they had where they could set it up where he'd be on for a certain amount of time and then it would turn off and then it would turn back on. You do so many sets that way. Um The one that I have, you turn it on, you get it set and it stays on for a certain amount of time and then it just completely turns off and that's it.

Um So it's a little bit longer and I use it more like on my quads. Um But I am lucky because lucky but unlucky too, I have spasms still and so my body works my muscles and so I still have a lot of muscle in my legs and in my butt and everything. Um Which works out well but it's also kind of frustrating because then everything is super heavy. Still you have a massage therapist that I go to. She's like mandy, you still have more muscle in your legs then some people I have that come in that walk. Mhm. So spasms are nice that way. And then I feel like I don't need to use the the east em as often as I probably should. Um. Yeah. Yeah it's not as programmable, it's kind of tough. But the idea would be mary beth is you have the east and it's a certain wavelength that could fire muscles. That technical term R. D. D. Innovated as in like you're paralyzed quote unquote muscles need a different specific wavelength type of east end.

And then when you program it like let's say you were doing, I don't know any extension. So then you hit it on your quads and you'd be like on for five seconds. Boom do the knee extension. That turns off and then like you use it to help you fire the rest of what you couldn't really fire on your own. But I mean if you don't have something this program will you don't have to set up. You don't have the pads. Like you just have like some handheld kind of thing. I'm guessing compared to the big setup at the rehab. It's tough to do on your own forget who makes it um stem is fun but it takes a lot of setup. It's very, it does and it's like this one, it's like, okay, it'll hit my muscles and it'll get my muscles to fire and they're like twitch and then all of a sudden like that level is not still firing. So I have to like sit there and like mess with it the entire time. So it's really annoying. And then you have to do what you have to set it up just right, you can put the pet. Oh, I see. So you got like four channels going. Yeah. Uh just at the right pads. The pads, that would be the right size for the right muscle.

Can't put on your bone. That's terrible. Yeah, It has to be an exact same spot on each leg. Or like you have like one spot, like I'll work like my outer quad and it'll be like jacked up to like 200 And then on my other side it's like hitting it at 75 and making it fire. So it's just, it's frustrating. But I do it every once in a while. Yeah. And so the idea is to use it every time you'd want to work those muscles in the lower body. Yeah. Yeah. Fire that fills the gap of what your brain isn't doing. Their basically helps you kind of keep like muscle density and size um there too. So I mean, you could even go to some rehab places and they might have Eastern bikes. So they hook up your entire leg and, and the machine is programmed to hit the right muscles at the right time so that you cycle the bike and you're not trying to say okay, I want to be able to write about it in real life like exactly like this. It's more like I need to keep some muscles strong.

Yeah. Yeah. I've done the FPs bike too. So that was fun. I did that in patient. It was really cool to like when you haven't seen your muscles fire in like weeks to like get on that FBS bike wild and have it hooked up and then see your muscles firing and see your legs moving like normal. Um That was it was really cool to see after so many weeks of not seeing it. That must be wild. So one of the places that work that we also had an exoskeleton That was like ridiculously programmable because there's different ones like ridiculously programmable. So we put people in it and then I'll be like, oh it says your right leg is doing 50% of the work. They'd be like what are you serious? I take a picture. That's so cool. Yeah. That's awesome. It's a lot of imagine what that must feel like. Well then they get me on the treadmill. Um And like they so I have, I'm technically an incomplete and if there's like an ASIA scale level.

Um So you have like A B. C. And D. And the lower that you are on it the better is and it's kind of measuring how much of like your function has come back. Um So I'm actually an Asia C. Which means I have some muscles firing below my um injury level but I can't walk. Um So I can get some muscles to fire. If you like put your hand on those muscles you can kind of feel I'm trying to move and kind of moving a little bit but it doesn't make anything actually move. Um But when I was on the treadmill and they were cycling my legs through um it would hit a point where my leg would actually react and pull itself forward. Um And I've used the splints and stuff. Um The gutter splints and so my legs are all locked out and it's like a weird kind of like stiff walk. But um I can get my spasms to pull my hip forward. So that way my leg moves and it looks like I'm walking, which is kind of cool.

Do you still stand or walk in? Any form is exercise? Now I stand at a standing frame that I used downstairs that my dad built for me. So I try and do that a couple of times a week for like half our resident physical therapist is going to tell you to do it every day. But anyways, yeah we're not gonna help mike spasms and everything like that too. So so the like you don't use it, you lose it thing applies to bones also mary beth so if she you know whatever, let's say she could, I'll never walk again blah blah blah. Okay that's fine. But you still gotta stand because if you don't put weight on your bones and your bones actually get weaker. So it's actually pretty important to have some sort of setup. So somebody couldn't do it the way she does it with a frame then you know, you actually get a device that stands you up. So how often would you Marcy recommend that they would do this like once one mandy, how much do you actually Do?

It would be like two or three times a week? That's pretty good. You got Something going, I get out of my bed two or three times a week, you know, here we go like once a day. So I guess uh with Covid going on everything like I mean to even once got bad at this point, right? So I know I should be, I need to be doing it more often. But besides the gym has Covid affected the way that you work or the way that you're living, the way that you get groceries? Whatever you want to come back. You talk about that. Oh gosh yeah so I actually took a couple of months off from work um with the initial like onset of Covid and everything and like everyone else that like initial freak out like oh my gosh if I get this I'm gonna die, I can't cough and all of that, and now it's to the point where it's like okay I need to go back to work, I need to do something, I need to get out of the house, I didn't leave the house for two months, so um beginning of june I went back to work um but I work at a veterinary hospital and so it's like people are just like sitting at home staring at their cats and dogs, I mean like oh that's a new bump, like we need to take fluffy and right now, or there was one lady that she she called in and she's like my dog usually poops and it's like longer and it's only been like 2" and usually it's like 3-5, like I'm worried about her and I'm just like she's not kidding, I'm not kidding, I really wish that I was and I was like exaggerating.

But no we had someone call in and say that so um work has been absolutely crazy since going back in the veterinary hospitals and everyone that I talked to that works at a different hospital, it's been the same way for them, it's like people are just home staring at their cats and dogs trying to figure out what's wrong with them, so it's been crazy. Um But other than that, I mean I have to wear a mask everywhere. Um try and wash my hands and sanitize and stuff like that, but like initially it covid definitely changed the way that I was living in going out. I was disinfecting my chair every single time because I'm like, I'm rolling through all of this, like, who knows how much of it's like on my chair, and then I'm taking my chair into my car and into the house, and it's been kind of nice to know that they don't think that it stays on surfaces. That's like more in the air, whatever it is today, that they're saying how it transfers, but I decided today, you know, just like every day, I feel like, but definitely just trying to like wear a mask more often when you're out shopping and all of that.

So that's really it. Yeah, that's a lot. So where you personally stayed home for two months, did you have a lot of anxiety about it? But I mean, I wouldn't say I did. I feel like my mom kind of did, and so that was her to wanting like me to stay home and she was worried about me and all of that. Um I went out driving, but I never got out of my car, so like I went up like picked up my medication came home when I just drove around just to drive around and get out of the house because I'm a very active person. I don't stay at the house very long most of the time throughout the week. So being home for two months straight was it was difficult to say the least. Mm hmm. Well, I mean it's a reality that we want to constantly remind whoever is listening and following us is that we are fearing are fucking lives and all you have to do to help us feel better about it is to wear your damn mass and to abide by everything that the CDC and W.

H. O. Is recommending Dammit, I don't want to talk about one freedom. Yeah. Like you're fine. You can still breathe. No, I shouldn't have to stay home because you don't want to do better. Like exactly all these people, they're like, I can't breathe with the mask on. I'm like, so I, before my surgery, I worked before my accident, sorry, I worked um at med vet, which is like a huge animal hospital and I worked in surgery. So I'd be scrubbed into surgeries and helping out surgeries. I mean you have a mask on all day there and like you can't do you think that it really affects your oxygen level? Like no, I'm fine. Oh my gosh driving the fake cards that they're making, what was that? They're making fake cards? I don't know if you've seen that they're making their printing out these fake little ship cards that are like, you can't tell me to wear the mask because I have a disability and it would violate 88 if if you told me to wear a mask and it has like the Justice Department number, like no, there's, there's like some fake printable thing going around and and this is coming from tons of people who have respiratory illnesses, respiratory issues who typically can't breathe if their say running a mile or half of that, and we are still wearing masks.

People with asthma are wearing masks to protect themselves and to protect you, put it on, you're like a non but or something like I have to wear one all table. I'm at work, like, yeah, you're not losing oxygen to your brain, you mean so funny and it's like you're fighting and you're like fighting tooth and nail so you could like sit a fucking chilies without a mask. Like, this is your life. Like, for real really? I mean, I do think it is a problem because like, I was looking into this a lot trying to reactivate my art, Put a plan together to reactivate or performance venues, but use them as classrooms. Yeah, no, I don't want to go back to work. I don't want any crowds near me. Um but for classrooms and physically distanced spaces, if that were to happen and everything that the CDC had been putting out the first two months was well, you know, if you're under three, you don't need to wear a mask.

Also if you have trouble breathing or you can't put a mask on or take it off without assistance. You don't need to wear one. So that is um, you know, communication issues that are coming from the people up above that are like, well, which one is it? Because our businesses are saying no for the protection of our employees, of our customers, you know, you gotta wear one. That's what people are saying. Well, you're violating the 88. I'm like, wait, no, 80 agents say this actually CDC did, which is a problem. Yeah, it's, it just seems like nobody knows like Mandy said earlier, it changes every day. First. They were like, oh, only if you're sick wearing mask, they're like bucket you guys suck everybody wear a mask. Like I think they're just wondering if they're just trying to adapt to like maybe they thought that we would have done better on our own and their baseline. It's like guidelines would have been good. I don't know. I'm very, I don't know what it is either. I'm very confused all around confused.

I mean, I'm sorry Marcy being florida people saying that if you were your own country, you would be the, What is it number five in the world with the worst crew. Oh, but the sunlight, Everyone knows the sunlight kills coronavirus. Like hello, I'm over here. Well, I remember reading a couple of months ago, Something about like heat, like anything like over 80° or 90° or something like that kills coronavirus. I'm like, mm, I think it's like 95 outside right now. It still have coronavirus. Well, in general, it like kills germs, but you have to let it sit for like 237, 14 days sometimes, you know, like, uh, yeah, nobody understands. So it's really interesting as a health care professional, seeing people trying to learn infection control for the first time in their lives, You know, like they put a mask on, but then touch their mask, put gloves on, but then like take some selfies, get home, don't wipe anything.

They touch with the gloves on anyway, like the car, they're steering wheel. Yeah, yeah. I used to work um, in a pig farm and it was all bio secure. So I'm thinking back to like working on the farm and like all the biosecurity things and I'm just like, oh my gosh, like when you know everything that you should be doing and then you watch people and like I was in a parking lot. Um, and this old man had a mask on and he had a glove on one hand and he had a water bottle and he grabs his water bottle and with one hand and uh, he opens up the water bottle and it takes a drink and I'm just like, well, you don't realize what you just did goodness Yeah, like coach people maybe that should be a job infection control coaching. Like my little cousin hopped on a plane. I'm like, all right, listen, this is what you're gonna do or you're gonna touch your phone, wipe your hands. You're gonna, you're gonna drink some water, wipe your hands, take no, don't touch this, don't touch that. Put your phone away.

Do this, have your card ready? Do it like uh like what? Really? Uh the whole time it's like you touch something and then you touch something else and then you touch this other thing. I'm like, okay, all of them are now infected. Like it just spreads to everything that you touch and people don't realize that like you sit there and really think about like biosecurity and like containing and keeping things clean and you're just like, oh my gosh, that's like when I first started, when I was working, when everything was first kind of started coming out and I'm like thinking all this biosecurity and I'm thinking about my chair and I'm thinking about everything that I'm touching. I'm like, there's no way that like I can disinfect all of this before I get home. So that was another reason why like, I ended up staying home for a couple of months and not really going anywhere because I knew like there's no way that I'm gonna be able to disinfect everything and keep it out of the house with being in a chair because right after my accident, two people were like oh you're gonna go back to your job like where you used to work now And I'm like I worked with pigs like that.

No that's not gonna happen. It's not good. Like the sound's gonna get mad at me because I'm trying to make her go one way. She doesn't want to go. She's gonna turn around, come screaming back at me, knocked my chair, knocked me out of my chair And then like 10 other sounds are gonna come trample me because they don't care. So I'm like that it's just not going to work and then the biosecurity with like the um chair and everything like it's just. No just about it. Yeah. I mean I love pigs but yeah that sounds. Yeah. Yeah. It would not be good. It was hard enough like walking around chasing them and trying to get them to go the way that they needed to go. But like that's not happening in a chair. Guys just think went through for a second please. Although I have seen in your last and I just you know I go to trails occasionally. I just went to one yesterday and and santa cruz and everywhere I look. I'm like that's not 80 accessible, nope you gotta make another uh can you can't you add a damn ramp can't you just you know? And I'm saying dirt ramp as easy as that but I noticed that you, I don't know if it's an off road attachment that you attach to your chair.

But what is what's go free wheel? How do you use that when we go out hiking is something that attaches to my foot plate. It's an extra wheel that lifts my casters up. So I it makes me laugh every time I say it it's a free wheel but it makes your chair a three wheel chair. So um because your casters are more likely to get caught on like the rocks and everything and throw you out of your chair and all of that, especially going downhill. Um You're going really quick and you can't really grab like the rims to kind of slow yourself down. That free wheel makes it easier. It makes it a little bit better than trying to power through on your casters. Uh Yeah, it's awesome. I absolutely love it. But then it also helps with like curbs to like instead of having to like pop a wheelie and push myself up onto the curb. Um Just I can wheel up on one with the free wheel on there and I have to worry about like popping and shoving myself up. It makes everything a little bit more easier.

And do you use that um any of those other adaptations that kind of make your wheels powered? I can't remember the brands or anything. Yeah. I have a long drive. There you go. That's what it's called. Yeah, I use it um If I'm going to the zoo um If I'm going to Ohio State football game to a blue jackets game any of that I'll take my my smart drive with me. But that doesn't work for outdoor sporting guessing. Yeah so it's like if I know that there's gonna be a lot of hills that I don't want to push myself up and if I'm gonna be out and like wheeling around a lot like if I'm at the zoo um I take that so that way I can like turn it on real quick and like give myself a push and then it'll start pushing for me. So that's really nice. Really nice. It'll come in handy to um once corona all this corona stuff is hopefully done. We go back to normal school days um with going back to school and being at O. S. U. Campus. Um wheeling between classes, campuses are huge.

Yeah and so you been in school this whole time or is that knew it to be new? I'm starting in august I'm excited. I already did the Bachelor's degree but I'm going back for something a little different so I'm excited. What does it look like their because uh I work on the Berkeley campus and I have not been allowed back in 3.5 months and they're considering the fall semester is like a hybrid schedule where they only allowed what 2400 students back to campus versus a 30,000. So reducing the population everybody else's virtual only essential workers like art. I mean Ohio just looks so different than California. So. Yeah. Um so one person we are doing all online so um I have an anatomy lab and I have a biology lab which my anatomy lab is online.

Uh Biology lab is in person. So that's my only class that I have to be in person. Everything else is all online. Yeah. Yeah they've been prioritizing prioritizing labs especially with all the research on campus. You gotta go in and check it. Yeah that's a little tough to to virtual and everything else is online it's a little bit. So what are you going for if you have a bachelor's you're getting a whole another bachelor's or something like that. So I have a bachelor's. Um Yeah that makes more sense. That works I forgot but I am going for a masters in human nutrition. Um And I want to focus on like the paralyzed community because your system moves so different after any type of spinal cord injury. Um Whatever that may be just the peristaltic contractions and just your bowel system. Everything is just so different. Um So that's what I want to go back for.

Yeah see some research in there. I never looked that up. I never thought about that. Yeah so I want to do. Um I'm gonna go and work back at O. S. U. And their inpatient facility is called Dodd. Um So I want to work at dod rehab and kind of start the whole education process right after the injury while they're doing inpatient rehab. And then if they go to Martha more house which is the outpatient I want to follow them to Martha Morehouse and kind of help with cooking and what they need to be focusing on at home like food wise and being out and um kind of more like a real life scenario because the thing that I found in in patient rehab is they're telling you all of these ideals and like perfect situations of how to transfer into this perfect spot like that type of thing. And then odd if I so much of that once you're out and then the real world and realizing that everything isn't set up perfectly for you.

Um So it's just being able to kind of communicate on both levels I think would be really important and what I want to focus on. Yeah that sounds amazing. I'm excited for you. Especially if that's all connected to the university already. If this is something that nobody really thinks about. You could puck around and start a whole movement. Nice. Yeah and I've already seen books I'm really excited for it and I've already mentioned it to um a couple of the other people at O. S. U. And they're like yeah so you're gonna start working with us like hopefully. Yeah I mean even now as a student I'm sure you could find a good mentor faculty person that will hop on with things you want to get done. You can start now. Yeah I'm excited. How exciting wow, congratulations, thanks. Thanks. So did corona make you rethink your life or that was already a plan? It was kind of what I thought that I wanted to do but like I said I always keep myself so busy that I never had a chance to like sit down and do all the necessary steps that you have to do to sign up to go and like put your application into even like go to school.

So you know corona definitely helped that because I was sitting at home looking for something to do and all the time to finally like sign up and be like okay like I just need to move forward and it's it's a good feeling because I felt stuck like since my accident was trying to figure out what the hell I want to do with my life now. Um Since there's not a whole lot of options with like an animal science degree besides like lab work and I just if I have a degree with animal science, I want to be working with the animals and I don't want to be like in a lab setting. Uh And that makes it kinda hard to be in a wheelchair and to work with animals so you can go back and give pigs massages. I always say this because Chloe's a somewhat Chloe version. I don't know if they hold still for that. A lot of them like screams touch them. Yeah, that's a terrible idea, don't she only does it to horses because they're obviously you know in sport and have muscles twice as big as ours pigs.

I don't even know how you can find those. Yeah. Everything's so bio secure anymore with pigs that I don't think there's any either anyway that I could even get into the facility just like you want to do that. But that's the other thing I've tried I wanna I follow a girl who um is a paraplegic um equestrian. So she rides horses and I used to do like trail riding and stuff before my accident and just trying to find somewhere I could go and do that because I think that'd be so much fun definitely. And I don't know anything about horses but I'd imagine that must be hard. Yeah. Using a lot of like your legs and stuff to like keep yourself on the horse. I don't know how well it would work. She makes it look pretty easy, but I know that it's probably not. So I've heard that actually being one of the most accessible like activities. Um I follow. Andrew Garza and he he talks about sex, life, dating life and everything and how a lot of dating events are just not accessible, but horseback riding is for the paraplegic for the quadriplegic.

Um because obviously you have somebody help you up, but maybe you have like um something for. Do you use your feet to kick the horse a little bit? Yeah. Stop. Yeah. So you use like a little stick that's a little softer but holds holds to yourself with other. Yeah. You need to adapt it and do some different tools. Yeah, that makes sense. I mean they use horses for therapy and it works really well with kids with special needs because you're working the amount will help them. That's the thing about kids, you have to trick them. So, you know, they're like, I'm having fun on a hard, like you're working your core right now. Okay, kids, let's get to work your core, working your legs like a person, like my butt was always sore. Like trying to keep yourself on there. Well, if you, if you get out there, covid willing putting your grandma, I want to see how that works out. Yeah, I've been trying to find it well to see, Yeah, I can convince someone to let me try and ride their horse, jeez, I think if you could get the horse to like kneel down, like I could easily just slide over and on.

You know, it's like, I would like a bench, just throw my leg over and just pop on. Well, there aren't any chairs that elevate you to that level. Like an elevator technology nowadays, Like a Hoyer lift their butt. Oh my gosh, I don't think the horse would stick around for that. The horse might get spooked. The girl that I follow, she, is this something like a Hoyer lift and the horses, I guess the first couple of times they run it like around a new horse, they're kind of like skittish about it, but then they end up being okay with it afterwards. Like once they get used to like the noise, they have the right kind of horse, but I'm sure horses have personalities, wait dogs do or something. They have the right dog, right horse dog, whatever. You know, I meant, hey, sticking up like, yeah, you can write, you can write, I have a horse dog. Yeah, like a germane, not german, what song are they cut? Doberman pinscher man. Yeah. Dude, right her, Probably I have a massive, great dane mix.

Oh, that's huge. There you go. She's real big except she doesn't know she's big. So she likes to try and get in these tiny spaces. She doesn't fit in. Doesn't work out well. So I think luna tried to sit on your lap and stuff and I'm like, honey, you're like 100 and 50 £160. You can't just working on my lap. Doesn't quite work that way. Yeah, yeah, trip over. It's fun. So we're talking about? I don't know, maybe an hour of chit chatting. Is there anything that we missed that you want to touch on before we wrap it up. Not that I can think of, no, and as far as, I mean, I don't know what the cases are like in Ohio, but are they running meets again, would you go then? I know that they're running meat around Ohio, but I don't know if anyone in Ohio is yet um and I found a friend competing or it was going to be like a big thing, like I would probably go but you know, wear a mask, try and keep my distance and have a big jug of antibacterial stuff, candle lights all too close or watch powerlifting meets be these super outdoor tournaments where were in this huge field and we just put up a stage and we lift all The, all the audience shares are six ft apart.

Yeah, there's actually a meat that goes on in pennsylvania, that's all outdoor, Wow, I like that, I would trust a lot more than a grungy gym that we try and fill 200 people in. Yeah, because most of those gyms, like you can barely get through everything and I'm always running over people's toes and no one wants to move because I'm all the way down here and there all the way up there and they can't hear me say excuse me, so that's like tap them a few times and then they finally move. Yeah, I really don't care they stand in the aisles. Yeah, well that was like the Arnold, I went to the Arnold last year and I was terrible. I don't know how many toes I ran over, I'm like I'm sorry. They're like, it's okay, like what, like what are you supposed to do? Just have a bullhorn and just like pretty much, but you're really good at like moving but it's like when they didn't see me and like they couldn't hear me and then they wouldn't move and then I just ran him over now we're getting you a stereo to to just bump move bitch, get out the way.

Perfect, get a megaphone, it's like pre programmed way. Yeah, like oh man, he's coming, you can hear from half a mile away. She is all right, it's perfect that entrance girl. Yeah Yeah, well it was so nice to talk to Mandy, We've learned so much about your life in just an hour. Yeah, it was great to beyond. Thank you. Yeah, you're welcome back anytime when we touched a little bit on adapting and recovery, but I mean it's it's only two years, it's only two years so who knows what she'll figure out next. She's gotta come back and share. Yes, definitely. Alright, disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left, we appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some mouth. Don't forget to subscribe rate already review of our channel, we're on Apple podcasts, Spotify player, FM, google podcasts and more. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who left.

E29: Mandi Curry’s an Expert at Adaptive Powerlifting with Paralysis
E29: Mandi Curry’s an Expert at Adaptive Powerlifting with Paralysis
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