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Loveland resident creates blog to discuss her disability and share tips on how she coped – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Ilene Withers woke up on Easter morning 2016 and noticed something was wrong. As she lay on her side, she tried to pull her leg up, but noticed it wasn’t moving – at which point she realized something was wrong. Soon she would learn that she had suffered a stroke that affected the right side of her body.

“I expected a basket of pretty eggs and that’s not what I got,” said Loveland resident Withers.

After undergoing inpatient rehabilitation at the Medical Center of the Rockies, followed by outpatient rehabilitation for the rest of the year, Withers was able to relearn how to do things she had done for so many years. She said she is able to walk, but chooses not to in large crowds and instead uses a motorized wheelchair.

She has not found everything, losing the use of her right arm.

“Now I guess I’m left-handed,” she said.

This experience came to mind when she was tasked with a capstone project for her master’s degree, leading her to create SuddenlyDisabled.com, a blog in which Withers shares her experience and aims to inspire, inform and support those who have suddenly become disabled.

Withers, who retired several years ago after 19 years working for the registrar’s office at Colorado State University, decided to pursue her master’s degree in professional English writing from Northern Arizona University, which she is doing in line. She said that for her flagship project, she decided to create the site to share her story and spread the positivity she exudes.

“There’s no point crying over it,” she said. “I can’t reverse it. So I continued. »

Through her blog, Withers shares what it’s like to come back and recover after a sudden and debilitating incident. she offers blog posts about her own experiences, tips and tricks, resources, and more to help those who might find themselves in the same situation as her.

She said she sees a special magic in the resources and guidance she provides, hoping it can help those feeling deeply saddened or struggling with their sudden disability.

“I like helping people,” she says. “I don’t like to think that people are depressed and don’t know how to do things. My old boss always said I had a huge influential curiosity. I face things like a puzzle.

Although the blog was started as a class project, she said she plans to keep it going to continue helping people and to help her organize her thoughts for a non-fiction book that she tries to write. The focus of the book – which she plans to title “Where Can I Pee?” — will pick up on many of the writings she put on her blog and touch on topics related to Americans With Disabilities Act regulations, some of which she says need to be changed.

This includes having automatic buttons or automatic doors on every public door and, in particular, all toilets for people like Withers who cannot open a manual door as easily; it’s also what inspired the title of the non-fiction book she hopes to publish.

Going forward, Withers said she plans to dedicate her time to helping others who, like her, have suddenly become disabled and fighting for changes to ADA regulations to provide a better service for people with disabilities.

But no matter what path it takes, Withers said she just wants to help people with sudden disabilities realize they can do anything they want.

“I don’t want people to give up,” she said. “I want them to realize that you can solve the problem and that it’s okay to ask for help.”