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“There’s an old saying that we see things not as they are, but as we are.” – CerebralPalsy.org
Today is World CP Day and my 17 yr old daughter Sheridan wanted to participate with the world and show her support for CP (cerebral palsy), something which she is so very familar with since she has it.
I wanted to share a little to honor her and support other parents and those who live with this everyday. I could write a book, but I’ll try to keep it brief enough (um… maybe I will write a book).
A CP Family
In my house, CP is both ‘quiet’ and ‘loud’.
Quiet because it isn’t so obvious; loud because of the pain, everyday.
It is normal and not normal.
Normal because we live with it everyday; not normal because we can’t function at the same rate of speed as other families.
It is empowering and debilitating.
It can give us strength to perservere and stops us in our tracks at the same moment.
It makes hero’s.
Those who have CP in their lives in any way and at any level, are hero’s to me. They are hero’s for what they face everyday – so much more than you or I can begin to imagine.
The physical challenges in their lives; the emotional swings that happen as life around them picks them up and knocks them down; the pain in their bodies that is around almost every moment of everyday; the strengh both physically and emotionally that is drawn from deep inside, to not just make it, but to thrive through a day.
No matter how it is described, or what is faced everyday, I can tell you that those with CP are HERO’s.
My daughter was born with CP 17 years ago, she was 6 weeks early at 4 ‘ 11 oz and stayed in the hospital for 21 days after birth – no mother wants to leave their first born behind. When she did come home, I thought “well it’s over, on to a normal life”. But that was far from reality.
She sat up on her own for the first time at a year old, took her first steps at 20 months old although not really a solo walker for months after her 2nd birthday. But she was a smart cookie for sure picking out numbers and all the letters of the alphabet long before the growth standards would say a child should. She also loved to have books read to her, more so than other children. I think this was because she wasn’t moving and exploring like other children and her mind needed something to do…
After many doctor visits and tests, at 18 months old she was diagnosed with mild spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.
- Mild cerebral palsy means a child can move without assistance; his or her daily activities are not limited.
- Spasticity implies increased muscle tone. Muscles continually contract, making limbs stiff, rigid, and resistant to flexing or relaxing.
- Diplegia usually indicates the legs are affected more than the arms; primarily affects the lower body.
From that point forward, life had a different outlook. An outlook that so many others had also faced, and I had it easy compared to many of them – so many who can’t walk, talk, eat, sit, and with multiple other limitations.
Our lives included doctors, physical therapy, a multitude of treatments proven and in-study from ‘walking machines’ that made her look partly like Iron Man to resistence bands (therasuit), and botox with 15 shots in the muscles of the legs, she hated, and when the muscles when ‘relaxed’ (that’s what botox does) being very weak as her other muscles didn’t work as well including casting on boths legs (entering high school with them on) so much to share but you get the idea.
Not just that, but being left out of normal kid play everyday not just by children, but the parents as well; left behind because she didn’t move as fast; forgotten about by teachers who helped all the ‘able’ kids first (still can’t get over that); standing outside in the snow in the doorway not being able to get up one little step on her own and no-one paying one bit of attention; the physical and emotional challenges and ruts of her daily living with CP.
Spring forward to today
She is a bright high school senior, applying to colleges and getting ready to take her International Bachlorette (IB) exams in the spring and graduating with not one but two high school certificates. And through all this, crying silently (or softly) because of pain in her feet, her muscles and her body everyday.
Many don’t see CP in my daughter – their eyes only focused on them or darting around so fast they are missing it (I wonder what they can see). Most don’t understand because she doesn’t have a walker or wheelchair. The few special people do try and teach tolerance by giving grace and showing compassion – for them I am thankful everyday that they are in my daughters life.
She has come so far in her life and is on a great path but not without challenges. She has published a anti-bullying children’s book because of being bullied. She wants to make a difference!
She helps inspire and motivate kids in Southwest Detroit getting them to read more, challenging them to write a book – and that they did. She is getting ready to kick it off again.
There is so much more I can say and yet only one more thing I want to ….
Sheridan, you are my hero! I love you!
For all those others with CP whom I have met in person or online over the years, you are my hero! For everyone sees what you appear to be but few see who you really are.
World CP Day October 7, 2015
“A child that through actions alone reminds us that anything is possible, and love has no limits!”
Want the buy book?
Buy Sheridans book we’ll donate $2.00 for every book sold to United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) through the month of October. Plus she will autograph each copy.
For personalization of book, fill in box and click Buy Now: