‘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.  

  1. 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.
  2. I didn’t walk until I was three. I relied very strongly on my arms to stay balanced when I did eventually walk.  
  3. 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.
  4. 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.  
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. My disability does not affect me mentally.   
  9. 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.
  10. I overcompensate. 

About Norah

writer. aspiring editor.
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