If my family had listened to the doctors . . .

I wouldn’t be able to tell you my story:

Never take ‘no’ for an answer

by Terrie Lincoln

If my family had listened to the doctors 12 years ago, I wouldn’t be able to tell you my story.

My name is Terrie Lincoln and I am a 31 year old quadriplegic. I live in Rochester, New York and work as a Systems Advocate at the Regional Center for Independent Living. I have a degree in social services and a bachelor’s degree in public administration. I am currently working on my master’s in social work.

At the age of 19, I had an automobile accident. They had to use the Jaws of Life to free me from the wreck and rush me to the hospital. After I got there, my family and friends learned I severed my spine and broke my neck. At that moment I had no idea what was wrong with me, since I was in shock and slipping in and out of a coma.

I was air-lifted to a nearby hospital in West Virginia a few hours later. The doctors then told my parents they were going to do emergency surgery on my neck — a neck fusion. They had to put a plate in my neck. The doctors also told my parents while I was being prepped that there was no way I could survive a broken neck. They said nobody lives with a broken neck. My Mom said: “We’ll see about that.”

The surgery turned out well and I started recuperating. While I was lying in the hospital bed that did not rotate because they did not want to injure me more, the doctors would come in and ask my mom if she was ready to pull the plug on me. “Why would I want to do that?” she would ask? The doctors answered, “What kind of life will she have— she won’t. She won’t be able to dance, walk, work, have a social life, or be independent.”

Read Terrie’s full story.