I am disabled but I am not unhealthy. There’s a difference.
The brain trauma I suffered as child was a one-hit non-progressive case. I had mobility difficulties growing up but I wasn’t unhealthy. I ate well and slept well and hardly had so much as a cold. My family kept me as active as they could so that I would stay healthy. In addition to several physiotherapy sessions per week, I rode a bike, rode horses, swam, tobogganed, and participated in gym class at school. My condition is not like a disease that, if left untreated, could further damage my body or kill me. In fact, people have used the fact that my condition is not a disease as an argument against the idea of curing it. When I tell people I am working to cure myself of my cerebral palsy, some of them say, ‘It’s not a disease so you can’t cure it.’
I consider myself a fairly healthy person. I eat well (though I have weaknesses for Italian food and Indian food) and I exercise. I make a concerted effort to walk when I could take the bus and to take the stairs when I could take the lift. I am not comfortable with my current weight (and the effect it has on my appearance), I don’t have the clearest skin, and I tire easily, but I’m not a sick person. There’s a difference between being disabled and being sick. The health issues I have are common and treatable; they don’t make me different from other people.