Danielle DeAngelis and Becoming Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2019

We at mobileWOMEN were thrilled to connect with this year’s Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania, Danielle DeAngelis! We asked Danielle to share her story and then answer a few questions to learn more about her platform, goals and motivation. In Danielle’s words:

My name is Danielle DeAngelis and I’m 27 years old from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. I graduated from Jim Thorpe Area High School in 2010. After high school, I attended Lehigh Carbon Community College studying early childhood education when my studies were cut short due to a horrific car accident that happened on March 7th, 2011. At only 19 years old, I sustained a spinal cord injury and I spent nearly three months in the hospital recovering. I had to learn how to adapt to a whole new life.

When I came home from the hospital. I spent years soul searching and trying to find my purpose in life, but I hit rock bottom. I was so depressed. I remember feeling so alone and not having anyone that I could talk to that could relate. I contemplated suicide more times than I can count. I was just so angry with what happened to me. This wasn’t what I imagined my future to look like. I always questioned “why” and It pained my heart, having to accept the fact that this is my life now.

"FLINTStoes" Rollin' On

By Patty Kunze, BSN, RNC and Roberta Palmer, RN 

The nurses writing for The Rollin’ RNs decide on topics based on our own findings. This topic is no different. You all know the story of my husband passing and how difficult it became to create meals and eat alone. Because of this, I decided to fill my fridge with frozen fast-fix meals. After several days of consuming that frozen food, I noticed my legs and feet were extremely edematous. Swollen to the point I was unable to put shoes on, “Flintstoes” you might call them. Upon investigating the sodium contents of some of those choices, I found one potato skin appetizer had 440 mg sodium in one skin. You can do the math in a portion and the other foods were no different. So, this Rollin’ RN is back to reading labels on food and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. We will discuss dependent edema and what we can do to prevent them while sitting in our chairs.

Dependent edema is a condition in which there is an accumulation of fluid underneath the skin that causes abnormal swelling. This usually happens in areas of the body that are lower than the heart. Alright, that’s the official definition and it happens to all of us who live life in the sitting position for hours during the day, but why and how do you prevent it?

Dependent edema is caused by the effects of gravity and occurs when fluid pools in the lower parts of the body, including the feet, legs, or hands. Rereading that last sentence, GRAVITY is the cause. GRAVITY. Simple as that. GRAVITY. So now we know the cause but why? The blood is pumped back from feet toward the heart by the veins and the motion of the muscles. When this system malfunctions, the lower body parts begin to fill up with excess fluid, causing the swelling and puffiness of edema. OK, breaking that down, blood is pumped BACK from the feet toward the heart by the motion of the MUSCLES. There you go, our lower muscles forgot how to function as they once did. Because they don’t work as they once did prior to our spinal cord injury, the fluid that is caused by gravity to accumulate in our lower extremities doesn’t pump fluid back towards the heart.

Does the Thought of a Colonoscopy Scare the Poop Out of You?

By Patty Kunze, RN, BSN and Roberta Palmer, RN

Have we caught your attention by the title? Now, how many of you reading this article are due for a Colonoscopy but have put off doing so because of the dreaded colon cleanse the night before the procedure? If this is you, keep reading!

Once again the Rollin’ RNs have come across another topic from our own experiences to share with you. This story began when I went to see my doctor for my annual well exam. One of the screenings for my age group included having a colorectal cancer screen. As you might think, my doctor’s first response was to schedule a Colonoscopy. Yet knowing the challenges having a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) presents with this screen led her and I to an interesting and eye-opening discussion that ended up with her choosing a different screening test for me. The Rollin’RNs felt this discovery was worth sharing.

Let’s define, “What is colorectal cancer?”

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be named colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start.

Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum.

Screening tests can find these polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. And if cancer is present, catching it early leads to better treatment outcomes.