Thursday, 4 August 2011
Living with Disabilities
This is a subject that I really wanted to highlight. I honestly didn’t know where to begin. I think this is the hardest blog I have had to write. I wanted to talk about my experience, which is nothing compared to the things many people have to live with.
When I was about twelve years old I had an accident. I fell about fifteen feet from a rope swing and landed vertically on my head. I suffered cuts, bruises, broken arm and two fused vertebra in my back. I had to have a lot of treatment to strengthen my back, as I was always in pain. Little by little I got stronger and really got into keep fit. I turned to martial arts and have done that ever since.
I use to be super fit, but remained constantly in pain. Just playing with my dogs, I would pull up in agony for no reason what so ever. I was diagnosed with Tendonitis, which basically means I have weak tendons. This just made me train harder and try to develop my body, so I could continue to do the martial arts that I love. This went on for years. I was in constant pain.
Then one day I ripped my “Cruciate Knee Ligament” for those that don’t know, this is a career ending injury for most athletes, as it can take about six months to a year to heal. I was really disappointed with the injury, and for about two months I couldn’t walk. And then for two months I could drag my leg and limp around, but then my knee tore again and all in all it took ten months for me to get over my knee injury.
The problem was that when the knee started to heal, my legs began to go numb. It was nothing more than pins and needles at first, but then I would go to stand and my legs wouldn’t move. On two occasions I knocked myself out, as I would be walking and then just suddenly drop, as my legs went numb. This is not to be confused with tripping, literally just dropping and smashing my head. It then progressed to shooting pains down my legs, my thighs feeling like someone was burning them and falling over when shopping, walking my dogs, making dinner.
I had MRI’s on my knee and back to find out that my injury from when I was 12 was my problem. I have severe nerve damage in my spine. Oddly, being super fit was the cure, as it meant I had a really strong body and in the 10 months I sat around unable to do anything, I lost that body and the injury raised its ugly head. It also meant I didn’t have Tendonitis and about five other things I was diagnosed with turned out to all stem from the nerve problem.
It has taken me a year and a half to get my life back. I am training again, getting stronger, the numbness is gone, and the pain is there now and again. I will require spinal surgery at some point, which has all sort of horrible complications, but for the moment if I work hard and train hard I can get my life back until my back decides to give up on me.
This chapter of my life has given a whole new appreciation and respect for people living with disabilities. I don’t think many people can fully understand some of the limitations set upon people with disabilities or the determination to not allow these disabilities to ruin your life. I gave up and got depressive when they said it was my spine and then I got angry and determined to beat this, and it made me see things in a different way. Like, I couldn’t hold my baby nephew; my legs could go numb at any point. I couldn’t take the kids out on my own, as I could collapse.
Some people asked why I made the little girl hero, of my book, blind and it’s because I wanted to highlight life with disabilities. I wanted to show how important the little things people take for granted are to someone with disabilities and that having disabilities isn’t the end of the world. That you can still achieve your dreams, your goals, and your desires and live the life you want to live.
Thank you for reading.