Welcome To My Life: The Oh-So Typical Cerebral Palsy Edition
Living with Cerebral Palsy, I am recognized as such: The Girl with Cerebral Palsy and more often than not, not for who I am as a person. Allow me to save you an awkward introduction with a plethora of explanations that you don’t need: My name is Madison, I am a twenty-one year old, caffeine-addicted, concert-attending bookworm who happens to have Cerebral Palsy.
Now, if that isn’t exactly what you are looking for, allow me time to explain what you probably, truly, want to know: I was born three months premature simply because I wanted to grace the world with my lovely presence a little earlier than planned. Because of this, I was naturally a pretty small kid; two pounds and one ounce, to be exact. Because I was so tiny, getting oxygen to my brain was a task similar to climbing Mount Everest as a few-day-old baby: I couldn’t. With that being said, what followed is what I call The Stroke, capitalized not only for emphasis but because according to family and friends that was the moment that turned things on its head. I had a stroke due to that pesky lack of oxygen to my brain.
What usually happens with strokes in children is medical professionals do not know the effect it had until months later, when the child is developing cognitively and is a bit more mobile. It wasn’t until a check-up that doctors asked my parents, “Does she favor one hand over the other?”
“Yes, definitely her left,” I’m assuming they answered, unknowingly.
They were then informed that children my age don’t have a dominant hand, thus explaining the after-effects of the stroke. What followed was realizing my right eye needed surgery and my right leg wasn’t quite right either. I’m sensing a theme…
As I grew up, my “limitations” were increasingly apparent, making everything from getting dressed in the morning before school to cutting up food for lunch a little harder than it needed to be. Now, twenty-one years later, I’d like to think that I have pretty much overcome what was daunting growing up. I have two college degrees and a full-time job, I can drive a car, and did I mention that I am a fully-independent adult? I’m doing just fine.
With that being said, there are one million things that I have yet to discover. This blog is being used, in part, to facilitate a conversation about a necessary topic: Living with a disability. I hope that by reading this blog and reading my thoughts you feel welcome to share your stories, struggles, and triumphs. Most of all, I hope this blog helps its readers realize that you are not a disabled person, you are a person with a disability, living life like everyone else.
Until The Next Adventure,