This post is inspired by an article I read this morning by my friend Erika Bogan. She talked about the differences between acquiring your disability, or being born with it. She acquired hers.
Naturally, I had been drawn to this topic as I have always had varying degrees of disability. As a kid, I felt as though I was on the verge of 'NORMAL.' One more therapy session or the next operation wouldl do it, and then I’d be able to walk like everyone else. I learned how to walk short distances (from one counter across to the other counter) I’d walk around the room (Inside of course) showing off my skills and at one point; I was using one “old lady” cane. I previously had been using two, since they weaned me off my amazing rolling walker. Gosh I loved that thing! I was faster than any of my gimpy friends in school, ah memories!
I could control the way I walked if holding on to something steady and thinking really hard. I always say it was like I was preparing for the Olympics, but it was just my life. I wanted to walk; I knew what I was missing, and since I had always felt as though I was hovering on the verge of normal, I kept trying.
Imagine my horror when I started regressing. Losing everything one bit at a time, little by little, strength, balance and the back pain that I had always had, which would go away if I rested had turned into a chronic condition. It wouldn’t be long until I had chronic pain everywhere and my gait that wasn’t great turned into a very ugly stagger like a serious drunk trying to walk some place.
To put it in perspective my decline started at age fourteen after my last surgery. You can imagine how awesome high school was with the decline getting worse with each passing day. Doctors say they don’t know what happened, maybe one too many surgeries or my body just got tired of fighting but whatever it was, by the time I turned nineteen, I was living with serious chronic pain, and the owner of my very own wheelchair. Oh joy!
I was depressed and angry but then I realized that life was starting to take a turn I didn’t expect. Boys started asking me out, and I could go out with my friends without being in so much pain and the fatigue that had taken over my life.
I still feel like the little girl on the verge of normal some days, most days it’s a struggle just to stay pain free. I've embraced my wheelchair “chariots of fire." We’ve made peace over the years but something inside me still feels that I’m on the verge…