If you could take a pill and have your cerebral palsy cured, would you?
What if your chronic illness was cured for one full day. What would you do?
Do you ever think about what your life would be like if you weren’t disabled?
These are questions I think everyone with a chronic illness has been asked at some point. Sometimes these questions are asked in good fun, or sometimes as a topic of a meaningful discussion. I never think they come from a place of ill-intent, but these questions can be more hurtful than intended.
I’ve put a lot of thought into them over the course of my life because I’ve been asked more than once, and I’ve found that my answers have changed quite a bit. As a child, I would have jumped at the opportunity to cure what made me different. Now, as a 21-year-old, I realize what I actually wanted was to live the life I live today. Walking without a walker, being independent, driving a car, having a job, wearing jeans because I could before! I just wanted to live a normal life and I thought the only way to do that was to cure myself of my illness.
Today, as that 21-year-old, I’ve been diagnosed with chronic pain and I’m currently using my walker again. I just started driving again, I love what I do for a living, and I’m pretty much independent. (I boycotted jeans for several years because I didn’t like the way my body looked.)
I revisit this topic and all of those old feelings today because now I am plugged into my therapy program more than ever before. I do my stretches at home, as I’m supposed to instead of just saying I do. I ask questions and I ask for help. I have grown and matured, as we all do, and I know how important it is to take care of myself. There are things I want to experience and I need my body to be able.
And I think that, had I truly had an opportunity to rid myself of my disability, I wouldn’t feel as good and as healthy as I do today, no matter how hard it has been or may become. I am not even sure if I would know who I am without my disability. It is a part of myself that I rejected for so long, and now it’s become so vital to me, not as the defining, restrictive label I used to regard it, but as something that motivates me and makes me strive to be better.
I am so much more than my diagnosis. When I introduce myself to people I don’t say “Hi! My name is Brittney and I have cerebral palsy.” I say, “Hi! My name is Brittney and I’m a writer,” or a daughter, a sister, etc.
So, no, I would not cure my disability. Would you?
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.