I can tell it is summer from the length of time in between posts. Here in Upstate New York, the days are long and warm and for the most part, even sunny! It’s my favorite time of year and what I wait for through our long, gray winters. The downside to summer is I feel less compelled to sit in front of a computer on a beautiful day. Hence, the gaps between posts.
It is with pleasure, though, that I write today about the most emotional interview from my video blog series. For those of you keeping track, we’re on interview #3. I begin with providing a little background on cerebral palsy (CP) and acquiring it from birth. While my parents and I will never know exactly how my cerebellum was damaged, I had some problems with breathing and having a seizure shortly after I was born. From that, it can be deduced that some kind of trauma occurred during the labor and delivery process that resulted in anoxia, lack of oxygen to the brain. Anoxia is the leading cause of cerebral palsy.
In the interview, I then talk about the personal impact having a disability can have on one’s life. I believe in the course of life, we are all given certain personal issues to work on within ourselves. For many, it may be dealing with difficult family dynamics; for others, it may be coping with a personal tragedy or loss; and for still others, it could be coming to terms with the unexpected twists and turns of life. For me, learning to learning to live life and pursue my dreams, while maneuvering through countless physical challenges and the pain of societal attitudes, has been my primary personal issue.
What has made all the difference in coping with my disability is my wonderful family. If you have read some of my previous posts, you have probably gathered that I have a very close and loving relationship with both of my parents. I am the person I am today because of them and their love for me. They taught me from the beginning two of the most crucial things we all need to know: that I was loved and that I had so much to believe in about myself. These two powerful lessons have gotten me through every single challenge and sorrow I have been through. It has made all the difference in my life. In addition to my parents, I was blessed with three brothers who have also reinforced this love and support. As the years have progressed, our family has grown to include their spouses, my nieces and nephews, and now my in-laws – all who seem to provide such a nurturing supplement to my parents’ foundation of love.
In my professional work, I have become acutely aware that many with disabilities have families in which it is hard to find this solace. Without this base of encouragement, life can be very difficult. I always try to motivate the people I work with who don’t have this support to look at how they can develop it in their life and who can help them do so.
Recognizing how important it is to have this love in one’s life seems to instill more and more gratitude in me each passing year. The gratitude sparks much emotion within me as you will witness in this third interview. Having CP has blessed me in profound ways!