My life was not easy from the beginning. I had a hard childhood. Born in a poor family, my parents had a lot of problems with alcohol. To escape the unbearable situation at home, I left the house and I got married very young. Before I turned 18 I had a son. But my marriage was not a happy one,and in 2009 I decided to look for a better life in a new country.
After two weeks of my arrival in Italy I was involved in a terrible car accident on a highway in Verona, which has changed completely, my life. Within seconds after the screeching of tires, I lost the use of my legs and much more. I incurred a spinal cord injury at mid-chest level. The diagnosis seemed so much more cruel because it came from strangers and because I had no one by my side. The girl who was with me in the car left Italy and returned to Romania.. I was alone and I felt like a vegetable… being washed, changed, fed by other people, whose language I didn’t speak. All I wanted was to close my eyes and fall asleep, to fall into that eternal sleep.
“At a closer inspection, all of my roommates needed the help of a ventilator to breathe, and they shared an aura of defeat and resignation. It was as if their souls had abandoned these bruised, haggard carcasses, leaving them to decompose on the hospital beds. I imagined that their souls had left for that wonderful place called Heaven, where the scenery was evergreen and the sky was always blue and adorned with colorful rainbows […]
The horrid and painful sight of the cold, lifeless bodies in that I.C.U room snapped me out of my colorful fantasy. I was there, imprisoned in that morbid silence, afraid of the high-pitched shriek of the round clock that hung on a wall. And in that moment of clarity, I realized that I too was just a mere carcass of who I was before. I looked just like my poor roommates, the only difference being that I could not see myself and recognize the same hopelessness and defeat in my reflection. I gazed at the medical machinery that surrounded me, and at the white sheet that covered my foreign body. These were all things I could see with my own eyes, but I couldn’t truly see myself. I thought myself to be the healthiest person in the room, and that my place was not there, among those poor dying souls. But was that the truth, or was it just my hopeful thinking?”
Seven long years passed. It was the darkest period of my life. A time in which I had all but stopped living. But then, as many of your readers would know, when you least expect it, life can return to make you smile.
I’m back to being myself. I had come to accept the biggest challenge in my life – my disability. I opened back up to the world. I started participating in numerous fashion shows during Milan Fashion Week and that felt empowering. I learned that a smile is much more feminine than a stiletto.
Then, In search of a new challenge, I discovered hand-cycling. A hand-cycle is a mobility device that allows any person, disabled or able-bodied, to travel on bike paths and roads powered by his or her arms. Once I tried it, I fell in love with what it offered me – the freedom to move!
I joined a sports group and registered with the Italian Cycling Federation and I started to racing.
“Throughout my life, I slipped from a nightmare to another, and I had no hope that my situation would ever improve. But my will to live prevailed in the face of my fervor to end it all. God didn’t turn away from me and he prepared me for what was to come as I still thought that I had no future to look forward to. He kept me strong through it all, and I kept writing my story, one page at a time.”
Because I wanted to recover all the years I have lost, In December 2017, I jumped on a plane and had a three month stay in California. It was a dream come true. I wanted so much to have it. There I made tremendous friends. I stayed with the wonderful Enge family. They helped me with accommodations and supported me throughout. They present me a great foundation in San Diego.
My time with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) paid off in terms of adhering to a strict daily training regimen and making numerous new contacts. They introduced me to many new people. They made my stay a fantastic time.
In February 2018, together to Team Chase, a great bike group from San Diego, I completed the grueling 100 miles of the Tour de Palm Springs. I consider this event to be my strongest athletic achievement to date. When I heard about the Million Dollar Challenge (MDC), I knew I had to participate in. I had to see where my current limits lie. I was excited to travel from San Francisco to San Diego on my handcycle and see all the amazing sites along the way. And, because of CAF I have got it in October 2019. It was the best experience ever.
“But this was the start of my new life, and, if I wanted to get anywhere at all and improve my wellbeing, I had to break out of my old habits and take a plunge into the unknown, for once in a while. I decided that I should give this a try and that I should also attempt to integrate myself into this new group of people – people who could teach me to fight and love my life, who would understand my feelings and my hardships… people around which I could just be me.”
As I said, I opened back to the world and in 2017 I started to discover life like a disabled woman. Now, after 4 years of self-therapy I can say I have rediscovered myself, my spirit, my life.. The last ” medicine ” was my memoir, a book I have written in the last year and which will be released in a few months. Writing this memoir was the best therapy I could have. It helped me value my life and look back at all the hard experiences I had and help me understand how strong of a woman I am today.
Roxana D. is a parathlete, a model, and a fierce advocate. “Jungle of the Soul” is her memoir which provides a raw, unedited look into her life. It starts with her dirt poor beginnings in Romania to the traumatic events she’s faced and follows her journey of self-discovery after a tragic accident left her paralyzed from the waist down.
“Jungle of the Soul” is not a story for the faint of heart. Roxana’s honesty about her childhood and abusive relationships will hit you like a punch, forcing you to re-assess your priorities and your worldview. It opens your eyes to the many challenges that women and people with disabilities face. Roxana’s story challenges stereotypes and tells the truth behind the life of someone who suddenly becomes dependent on a wheelchair.
“Jungle of the Soul” takes us along on Roxana’s journey of healing and self-acceptance. Her story is for anyone who wants to change their outlook on life and be inspired to chase their dreams. It is also for those who want insight into challenges of living with a disability.
This book is a valuable tool for those struggling with depressive thoughts and feel a lack of self-worth. It provides the keys to how one can overcome depression and live a happier and more full life.
This book is not a work of fiction. It presents the real, uncensored story of Roxana D. Reader discretion is advised, as it depicts adult content such as violence, abuse, use of illegal substances, and suicidal thoughts. The author did her best to present the events in a respectful and sensitive manner, and she does not condone the harmful or illegal behaviors mentioned in this book.