Disabled, but not unable: the rebirth of a nurse! July 2012 was a time of joy, second only to my May 2012 wedding (married my best friend) and the birth of my children 20 something years ago. I had just completed my MSN and was ready to take on the world with the limitations that Paget’s disease and a sacral fracture would allow. I wasn’t in perfect health, but I could teach and mentor nurses, and, let’s face it, one of the great perks about been a nursing instructor is that you always have a lift team at your disposal. Then it happened. The pain from my lower back started radiating to down through my gluts down my legs.I could not move, sit, stand, walk or lie down without the stabbing pain from my hips down to my legs. Nothing made it better! A few weeks later my pain management doctor explained to me that due to my Paget’s disease my affected bones were being remodeled in a way that was impinging nerves from my lumbar spine to the sacral area, and that it didn’t help that my lumbar spine and hips were festered with arthritis. His prognosis: “this is a good as you will get”, and that I would likely experience pain similar to those with bone cancer. Needless to say, I was in a bad place.I could no longer provide for my family. I could no longer provide bedside care. I could no longer make a difference in the life of new nurses. I couldn’t even help out at home while the love of my life was out there doing it all for us. Soon, depression set in. I asked myself daily: What was I worth, if I couldn’t work and support my family? Many sleepless and pain ridden nights went by, as I fought pain rather than medicating, so that I could at least spend quality time with my loved ones. But one of those sleepless nights turning the TV changed my life. As it if were meant to be, a documentary about people with disabilities was being shown when the TV turned on. Missing arms, missing legs, blindness from birth, and yet each one of this remarkable people had succeeded into becoming self-reliant and independent. They were mothers and fathers, some professional and artisans. They made the impossible look normal and they were happy! I asked myself, “How could that be?"I realized then that they didn’t see themselves as limited. They simply rose to the challenge with the tools that they had. They had needs, desires, and dreams that they wanted met. So why couldn’t I muster that same strength? After all, I was able to speak, to write, to educate, to advocate and to empathize. Soon my cane went from being the symbol of my weakness to being the symbol of my perseverance. My pain went from being my shackle to being my anchor and my wind. I was free! Free to live my new life, to set new goals, to reset old goals, and to let go of those goals that were no longer part of my reality. I gave myself permission to dream again, to give again and to once again feel worthwhile. I still reminisce of how things could have been, but no longer as the defeated human being that I was. I may not be able to run somewhere, but I can still get there. I may not be able to lift 20lbs, but I can still lift spirits. I know no bounds! I am a disabled nurse, I am proud!