Supporting Steptember

Supporting Steptember (Original Image from Unsplash.com)

I have a disability — more specifically, I have cerebral palsy, which leads me to having multiple disabilities. This is not something I mention to very many people, especially online. Most people don’t ever question me about it, which is fine by me since I don’t really like going into full details about my CP. However, I decided to write about my disability because a friend is doing something to raise awareness and money for those who have CP. As Tidus said in Final Fantasy X, this is my story.

When most people think of cerebral palsy, they think of people in wheelchairs due to paralysis. That’s not the case with me. My own CP is a mild form of athetoid CP that I contracted from premature birth. This means I have functions of all of my limbs — I am capable of walking and running, and I have full usage of my hands and arms. I have motor functions, but my muscles doesn’t always cooperate with me. Plus, my CP affects my sense of balance. This brought on years of physical and occupational therapies. I vividly recall having to learn simple tasks such as tying a shoe because my fingers couldn’t handle tasks that require fine motor skills. I’ll never forget those times of walking on a balance beam and being taught to place my heel first when I walk. These therapy sessions have helped, but presently I have difficulties with some fine motor tasks and my legs tend to not cooperate with me on some days. It’s not uncommon for me to trip over something on a daily basis.

My CP affects two other functions: hearing and speech. I have hearing problems with high and low frequencies, and I cannot hear well when something is too soft. Put me in a loud room, I will not be able to hear what you’re telling me. This is why I stay away from noisy places like a night club. This is why I prefer to watch a show with closed-captions because then I can fully understand what’s being said. My hearing in turn affected my speech, and I also had to do speech therapy. Having CP means that my mouth and tongue doesn’t work properly at times. When I start getting excited, nervous, or frustrated, my words comes out incorrectly, and sometimes I can’t even say the word. This is the most frustrating for me about my CP because I have difficulties articulating myself orally and I can’t help but feel so incompetent. This is why I prefer to write or type when I communicate with people.

I have CP, and I’ve long come to accept having it. I’ve also come to appreciate what I can do, for I know there are those who have more severe forms of CP. But there are those like me, who suffer from milder cases. Mild or severe, we have CP, and I wanted to take the time to share my experience. I also wanted to take this time to support a cause that’s CP-related. My friend, Georgie, is doing Steptember this month. Each day, she and her teammates have pledged to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. They are raising money, and these will be donated to CP research, therapy, and other services for those who needs them. Please make a donation to Georgie’s team here.

On a final note, thank you for reading this post. This isn’t an easy topic for me, but I decided to come out of the CP-closet, so to say, and write about my experiences. I hope to have given you some insight about people living with milder forms of CP.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your CP story with us Tara! I read about cerebral palsy but had no idea that there were different levels of how mild or not mild it could be.

    My father also had a mild disability and he really struggles to live with it day to day.

    I’ll definitely make a donation for Georgie and her team!

    • I’m glad this post showed you the different spectrums of CP :) I’m sorry to hear about your dad, though. I hope the struggles he go through on a daily basis isn’t too strenuous! And thank you again for the donation to Georgie and her team! <3

  2. Thanks for sharing Tara! I’m glad you’ve come to accept CP, I don’t imagine it’s easy to talk about.

    I too prefer watching movies with closed caption, I want to hear what the actors are saying when they’re mumbling or speaking too fast or softly!

    • Yes to actors speaking softly and/or quickly and to their mumblings! They generally do that when during the important scenes, and I miss out on them! That’s why I rarely go to the theatres. I’d rather watch films and stuff at home where I can turn on the close captions!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story, Tara. I know it must have been difficult to write about and share it on your blog. But I really appreciate you sharing what it’s like as someone with mild CP, because sometimes people don’t know what conditions like these are really like until they hear it from someone who has it.

    I’ve done much better on some days than others, but I’m exercising and walking more than was a few months back, so it’s a great way for me to get more active too.

    • Yes, hearing experiences from people who go through them makes it seem a lot more real. I like stories that are like that, too :)

      And woot for all the walking you’ve been doing! Great on you for being more active ^_^

  4. Thank you for sharing your story, Tara. I think it’s very brave of you to do this, and it could help so many people to understand what it’s like to have mild CP. You tend to only hear stories of people who suffer from more severe forms of illnesses/disorders/health problems, and I think it’s important that people share different experiences to increase understanding. Found this post really interesting.

    Good luck to Georgie and her team!

    • Thank you, Amy! I’m glad you found this post interesting. I agree that it’s better to share all levels of experiences. No one’s experience is alike, so I’m glad I came out and shared my CP and their affects.

  5. Chantelle on

    Like others have said, thanks for posting this online. ^^ For most (including me), it’s hard to post really personal and serious things in a public place. It takes bravery. I also think that people with milder forms of a disability often find themselves in an awkward in-between sort of place and your giving voice to that experience and those concerns is both validating and nice.

    • You’re right about being in an awkward place! I know I feel grateful/lucky for not having a severe disability, but at the same time, I am not exactly disability-free, either X_X Kind of a strange place, indeed . . .

  6. I’m happy that you’re sharing your story of CP. It is very educational to learn how people have been affected and the different types of CP there are. I think the fact that you’re sharing your story is powerful and brings people together. Despite having a mild form of CP, you’ve done a lot of good and accomplished a lot! Much respect goes to Georgie for taking part in raising awareness :).

    • Yes, when I considered all that I’ve done in my life so far, I’ve come quite a long way! I didn’t mention, but I almost wasn’t allowed to attend my elementary school because the principal didn’t think I was capable enough to handle a normal school environment. :D Thanks for your support, Nancy!

  7. Hugs to you for being brave and coming out!

    I refer to my initial blogging about my autism as a “coming out”. I’m still struggling to be more vulnerable in posts—like when it comes to tripping, for example. I trip all the time and walk into things, no matter the distance. I have bruises on me, and…I laugh about it, but at the end of the day, it’s sometimes just really annoying and I just wish I had better balance. 😩

    Kind of nice to have a sort of “tripping buddy”, even if it’s in the sense of but-this-is-annoying-AF.

    Even though we’re talking about two different disabilities, I feel like I can relate to you so, so much. It’s nice to have another voice in the [disabled] community. 😌

    💖

    • Yeah, the tripping business is a pain — even more so when you actually crash on the floor! I’ve had several encounters like that, and it sucks!

  8. This is such a nice post. Thanks for sharing your story and experiences! :D Fighting!! :)

  9. Thanks for sharing your story, Tara! That must have been hard to do, but I feel like I learned a lot more about both you and CP :) I thought this was really interesting to read, and I think stories like this help others learn more about disabilities and how they affect people. That’s great that Georgie is raising money for CP research and services! I’m going to check out her donation page!

    • Thank you again for donating, Cat! In the end I’m pleased I wrote this post to share my experience out in the blogging world :)

  10. Thanks for sharing your story, Tara. These personal stories are definitely something that’s not out there very often. I agree that it’s useful to be reminded of there is a spectrum of voices and not just the stereotypical image of CP. Thank you for your bravery since this is not easy to put out there.

    I’m glad that writing has been a useful outlet for you. You are a very talented writer, from years of reading your blog to your concise and comprehensive daily summaries of my days in Seoul. (I still reread them sometimes to remember what we did since my memory is pretty faulty.)

    Much love.

    • Aw, thanks, Thao! I don’t consider myself talented with writing, so reading this really gave me a boost of confidence. It’s great you still read those summaries I sent you! :D It pleases me that you find them still useful <3

  11. Your story is wonderful and thank you for sharing it with everyone, despite how hard it must be to talk about it.

    It’s great that Georgie is raising money for the cause! I wish her the best of luck as I know walking 10k steps everyday isn’t always easy.

    • It isn’t easy walking 10k steps, for sure! But if you do a lot of walking, they all add up :)

      Thank you for reading this post!

  12. It’s been awhile since I last visited your blog, and I appreciate and respect you for opening up about your current condition. I know it’s difficult for some of us to even talk about it in public, let alone writing about it on a blog, but I’ve always believed that sharing stories such as this would help shed a light to those who may not know about CP (or the types of CP those diagnosed may have).

    Like for example, I’ve been open to my Type 2 Diabetes for many years now, but I don’t always talk about it often. I used to write about different kinds of food I’ve first tasted and experienced, and I used to have some people accusing me of being spoiled, or that I got nothing else to write/talk about except for food, when they realized that I’m exploring around and about for delicious foods that are also safe and healthy for diabetics like myself.

    It’s good to see that you’re doing well, Tara. Hope to hear from you again! :)

    • Thanks for reading, Adri. And you keep on blogging about what you want. I can’t believe people said you were spoilt or had nothing better to write about just because you wrote about food! I can’t comprehend why people would even nitpick over that! Bah to them!

  13. Thank you for sharing your story Tara <3 I was really touched hearing your story, I've learnt about it from my degree extensively and knowing that people suffered from CP ached my heart (especially the more serious degrees of CP) I'm glad that there are people in the healthcare field who are trained to help work with people who have CP and enable them to get better! And those scientists/neurologists who have committed years of research into solutions.

    I know it must have been hard writing this, let alone publishing it but I hope you know that we all really appreciate it and all support you (reading everyone's supporting comments have made me smile so much!) I'm so happy with what Georgie has been doing, I will be sure to make a donation. <3

    Much love Tara! <3 *big hugs*

    • Thanks, Pauline, for the donation! <3 The amount of support on this entry has been overwhelmingly wonderful. I do hope there can be some awesome medical breakthrough in CP in the future to make things better for those who have them. :D

  14. Tara, thank you for sharing something so personal with us. I feel like I know you a bit better as a person, and I think that really shows your character that you were so willing to open up about this topic! This was really informative for me, as I’m not super familiar with CP. It’s always awesome to read about what people are living with and how they are overcoming those challenges.

    Go Georgie and team!

    • Thank you for reading and finding the post informational! I am happy that this post is used to promote awareness of CP!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing! I didn’t know too much about CP before reading this. I am so encouraged that you don’t let your disability stop you from doing the things you want ^_^ and also Georgie’s fundraiser sounds amazing!

    I’m glad you opened up about something so personal, there’s always something to be admired when I read stories like this. :)

    • Aw, thanks, Liv :) I’m glad you like stories like this. XD;; I don’t find myself that admirable, though, haha! XD;;;

  16. Thank you for sharing your story! It can be difficult to share things that are so personal. I think it’s great that you have and really admire that even though you have this condition that it hasn’t stopped you from being awesome and doing the things you like. ❤️

    • Aw, thanks, Kya ^^;; I try not to let my condition stop me, though I am aware of my limitations, but I just do my best to work around it :)

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