What IS CP?
Cerebral Palsy is a condition that strikes while still in the womb or in the first two to three years of life. It causes damage to the parts of the brain that control body movement, posture and balance.
For me it struck at the age of 8 months. Over the course of three days I experienced a sudden onset of deterioration in motor skills. I was no longer able to hold my head up, crawl, or hold the stand. My condition did not worsen and I was eventually diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
I have had Doctors shrug off this diagnosis over the years. My parents have never believed that it was accurate. I myself have spent countless hours over the years looking for answers. At one time I was convinced that I had had an adverse reaction to the Polio Vaccine and was determined to prove it.
It has taken me over 40 years of living with this condition to finally accept the reality that I will never know “why” I am disabled. I also don’t know for certain that I have Cerebral Palsy. Perhaps I had a pediatric stroke at 8 months. Maybe I hit my head and suffered a hematoma (which actually could result in CP). As a Physiatrist recently explained to me, Cerebral Palsy results from anything that “insults” the brain.
Aging with Cerebral Palsy
I was always warned that I would suffer significant back pain as I aged. At the age of 30 my then doctor said my back was already that of a 60 year old. I stubbornly believed it wouldn’t affect me that drastically as I aged. At that time I had just begun working out and was in better shape at 30 than I had ever been in my life.
That changed basically overnight. I took a fall one year ago, landing hard on my bottom. The impact caused all of the joints/muscles around my pelvis to go wonky and the subsequent pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility has been a difficult pill for me to swallow. I always walked with a feeling of stability and control in my pelvic area and now that is gone. I’m wobbly, stabs of pain cause me to misstep, and each step further pains me.
I know I’m not the only 40-something adult facing the aging process with the unique complications that Cerebral Palsy brings to the table. So here I am . . . ready to share this journey of finally accepting myself as is. I am no longer denying my disability. I am a beautiful, capable, and adventurous young woman ready to face the future.