My Physical Therapists Were Tough, But They Helped Me Grow

My Physical Therapists Were Tough, But They Helped Me Grow

Living Life with CP
So, if you didn’t know, a little over a month ago I received Botox and had a bit of a long, slow, bumpy recovery. I’m doing well now, and I’m engaging in both physical therapy on land and in water (“pool therapy”). In fact, I will be getting more Botox targeting different muscle groups in just a few months.

I’ve talked here before about how my attitude toward physical therapy changed as I got older. I’ve also talked about how the relationships I have with my physical therapist have transitioned now that I’m an adult receiving therapy and not a child. Last week, I ran into one of the first physical therapists that I remember having for several years in my childhood. She seemed much different now, over a decade later, than I remember her being back then. But I can tell you that my attitude toward her shifted as I recognized her approaching.

For the last several years, I’ve had another physical therapist who has never cut me any slack and barely lets me slide with anything. Her tough-love approach has pushed me further than I would have gone otherwise. I often joke with her that I hear her in my sleep. But I realize now that it is she, and people like her, who push you out of your comfort zone and make you the person you are to be.

When I was a child, and even as a teenager, I thought that both of these women were being mean to me instead of trying to help me be better. They knew the struggles I would have later on if I didn’t take my treatment program seriously, and they wanted to stop me from going down that road. They couldn’t, it turned out. But with age came wisdom.

In that moment last week, I really appreciated what both of them had tried to do, had done, and continue to do for me. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and treatment plans as a whole can be so rigorous and time-consuming. I find it hard even now to put into words just how frustrating all of these programs felt as a child. I don’t know why we don’t encourage kids to find other ways to do the things they need to do for themselves in ways that don’t feel like torture.

As an adult, I’ve coped by finding things that I like to do that also take care of the things I need to take care of to keep my body in working order — things like yoga, taking a simple walk, pool therapy, etc. — and I am able to do these things with the support of these same therapists. It’s funny how life comes full circle. I say all of this as a reminder to remember how important it is to advocate for yourself and to play an active role in your treatment goals and plans. You hold the power and you can make decisions, too. If you don’t like something, change it.

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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.

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Hello, My name is Brittney and I am a columnist with Cerebral Palsy. I focus on writing about lifestyle and believe that everyone's experience is relevant, no matter the disability. I support, and advocate for, the mainstreaming and normalization of children with disabilities and their families, as well as advocating for parents and children who need to go the more specialized route. I hope that my content provides a positive reinforcement that it is possible to live a happy and fulfilled life even with a disability.

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