‘The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are stronger at the broken places.’ – Ernest Hemingway
I saw this on an arthritis blog (all flared up) and thought that it was also applicable to me. Ergo, I present: ten things you probably don’t know about my condition.
- The form of cerebral palsy I have is called spastic diplegia, which means that it primarily affects the lower half of my body. I happen to have an extremely stiff and inflexible lower body and a hypermobile, overly flexible upper body. I have hyperextension in my shoulders and thumbs, which means they can bend in almost unnatural ways.
- I didn’t walk until I was three. I relied very strongly on my arms to stay balanced when I did eventually walk.
- I had corrective surgery on my left leg when I was eleven. My leg was rotated outward by twenty degrees and the operation drastically reduced the number of falls I suffered. Before I had the surgery, I fell every day.
- The surgery I had shortened my left leg. I could have a procedure to have my right leg surgically altered to be the same length, but the process is risky, invasive, and painful. I’ve been advised against it.
- My disability affects me more on my left side than my right side. I rely very heavily on the right side of my body in everyday motion and everyday living.
- I have never been wheelchair bound. Before I started my rehabilitation, I could walk and run and jump and climb, just not well. My rehabilitation and the other therapy I did in the years beforehand helped me strengthen my body and improve on my skills. I’d still be able to be an independent and functioning person if I didn’t do the work.
- I have never ‘felt’ my disability unless I run into a problem like stairs I can’t manage to climb. My body has always felt normal to me. It never sent me any signals or warnings that there was something wrong with me. Until I became more body-aware and started working on mind-body awareness in my therapy, I never felt the curve in my spine or the clunking in my feet.
- My disability does not affect me mentally.
- My disability is very mild, especially considering the severity of the trauma I suffered that caused it. Cerebral palsy is ranked in severity from 1 to 5. I’m a 1. I had such severe trauma in my brain as a baby that I should be a paraplegic, but I’m not. I am – all things considered – very lucky. I am considered a high functioning disabled person.
- I overcompensate.