Three Things Able-Bodied People Take for Granted

I don’t know where I want to eat. There are too many choices.

Why is my high-speed internet so slow?

There’s absolutely nothing (I want) to eat in this house.

All of us are guilty of making statements similar to the ones above. As Americans, we have A LOT to be thankful for compared to other countries faced with hunger, toxic water supplies and a lack of formalized structure or systems of government assistance or aid. Yet, we still have what has become affectionately known as, “first world problems,” – which aren’t really problems, more like annoyances with the imperfections of the luxuries we so carelessly enjoy.

You may be thinking: I thought this post is about able-bodied people or some aspect of living with a chronic illness or disability? You’re right. That’s exactly what this post is about. It’s about the many ways I wish able-bodied people would realize their “first-world problems,” are not really problems. It’s not meant to guilt or blame able-bodied people, but just to remind them to take advantage of the gifts of full mobility and being able to sit up in their beds. It’s about not taking anything – especially, your ability to move freely for the most part on your own for granted.

Here are three things able-bodied people should never take for granted:

  1. Taking a shower: Have you ever fallen in the shower? Many of you may actually say yes. Either you missed the rug, the rug was slippery or you were too busy trying to finish that text before you fully emerged in the stream of water from the showerhead. But have you ever fallen and not been able to get up? That happened to me this year. I was following my usual routine of trying to be as careful as possible and somehow I slipped. Falling has become an unavoidable part of my life, and I usually just get back up and keep moving, but this time it was different. There wasn’t anything for me to pull myself up on and on the way down I hit my head along with bruising other parts of my body. Thankfully, I use a lifeline device and was able to call for emergency assistance. Help did finally come and though I was naked and felt a little vulnerable, I was thankful for technology that can be the difference between laying somewhere for hours or waiting 30 minutes for help to come. All that to say, ENJOY YOUR SHOWERS. Be mindful that even taking a bath can be a luxury for someone in my shoes or in a similar position.
  2. Turning off the lights: Many of us hate when we get in the bed, have gotten halfway through a good book, started to doze off and remember we have to turn off the light. What may seem like a simple task to anyone without a chronic illness or disability can now feel like a nightmare. Can I make it to the light without falling? What if I fall on the way back…in the dark? Should I take my phone just in case? Is it even worth it? All of these considerations and more would run through my mind before upgrading my living space to run on Alexa (thank God!), but that doesn’t work in hotels, over friend’s houses or vacations. It may seem simple, but being able to turn off the lights is a luxury that all of us don’t easily have.
  3. Getting a cold: I know this may not seem like something able-bodied folks shouldn’t take for granted, but go with me for a moment. Getting a cold before I had my diagnosis was a lot different than it is now living with Muscular Dystrophy. When I was sick, I would tough it out, grab an over-the-counter cold medicine, maybe sleep a little longer and wait for it to pass. It didn’t necessarily interrupt my life. Now – it’s completely different. Getting a cold can mean war for my body. Finding the right medicine that doesn’t counteract my current medications, lower my immune system or make me lethargic is a real job for me. When my body aches, I am not just sore. It can be writhing pain that limits me to either sitting or laying in bed all day – and that is NOT me. I’m an independent woman, with a business and plans to take over the world. I don’t have time to bedridden with a head cold, but sometimes that can happen. Your normal seasonal cold can feel like the flu for me and others with chronic illnesses. Keep that in mind next time you feel the sniffles. Trust me, it could be a lot worse.

If I could leave one thought with all of the brave able-bodied folks who read this, I want to remind you to be grateful. Focus on the good, encourage others who may not be in your shoes, and live your life to the fullest. Before my diagnosis, there were so many things I took for granted, but now I see that everything truly is a gift and a blessing from above.

It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
— Deitrich Bonheiffer

Published by girlschronicallyrock

I was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My personality is friendly, strong work ethic, and great professional skills that makes her the hustler she is today. I graduated from Framingham State University with Bachelor’s in Fashion Design and Merchandising, a year after I graduated from Cambridge College with a Master’s degree in Business Management. While earning my degree I gained invaluable experience in the business/financial and Fashion Industry with working at different departments at Cambridge Savings Bank and many merchandising companies such as Motherhood Maternity, Tommy John, Spanx, Echo Design and Fossil Group. While in Framingham State University, I was in the Fashion Club and Black Student Union Club where I was able to meet new people and gain and learn a new experience in both groups with a different diverse of people. I knew I always had a passion for fashion from in middle school and new I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. I looked up to Fashion Designers like Kimora Lee Simmons and Betsey Johnson. I love their unique different styles and just two successful entrepreneurs who are making it in the fashion world and continuing to grow. My dream is to possibly meet both of them one day, even maybe do some business together. At the present time, I am working as a Merchandise Coordinator for Tommy John inside of Macy’s and Nordstrom within the Boston Area. I also owned my own t-shirt line business called Girls Chronically Rock which was inspired by myself because I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy back in graduate school so I wanted to make something inspirational, motivating for people who may have a chronic illness like myself or may be battling anything in their life, to let them know that they rock no matter what. With the wonderful work experiences over the years, I am really just an easy-going person where sometimes I love to be at home watching lifetime movies or many of my tv shows that I love to watch on a daily basis. I like spending time with family and friends whether its traveling, going out to eat and going to special events. Through my education and work experience, I have gained the knowledge and skills necessary to excel as a Fashion Designer and Visual Merchandiser. I am both qualified and eager to strive at my business Girls Chronically Rock and continue with dedication, and I know my hard work will pay off and I will reach my goals. I will soon hope to have my t-shirt line sold in department stores such as: local boutique stores, Macy’s, Karmaloop Foot Locker and many more. Here is a little more in depth detail about how I was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy: I have Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (MD); I was diagnosed at the age 24. I was born and raised in Cambridge, MA and went to high school in Cambridge. I received my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising and then furthered my education in getting my Master’s degree in Business. When I first discovered my symptoms of my MD, it was crazy to me because I started to get symptoms around 2009. While in graduate school I began to repeatedly fall, and my leg would just give out on me without notice. I would fall to the ground and not be able to pick myself back up, I would need assistance from someone to lift me up with all their might, because it was something I just wasn’t capable of doing on my own. I also began notice when I tried to reach for certain things in the kitchen cabinets or try to exercise I was unable to lift my right arm up all the way. I kind of just thought to myself maybe I need to go on a diet and lose weight, but in the back of my mind I knew it something more. So I went to see an orthopedic, but I was told that this was more of a neuro-muscular issue, so I then went to see a Neurologist. Once I saw the Neurologist, she then tested me and gave me muscle biopsy, MRI, an EMG and every other test you can think of. So after multiple tests, I was finally diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. Limb-Girdle is a form of MD that affects the limb of the shoulders all the way down to the legs, which progressively over time eventually gets worse. The first thing I thought was how long am I going to live will I be in a wheelchair soon, and what is my life going to be like from now on. I knew I had to be strong and continue to do what I have to do so I started doing some research on it and read what eating healthy and exercising would help. I joined weight watchers with my cousin and I lost over 36 pounds and I felt great. I’ve able to keep half the weight still off, and I am still determined to lose more. They have multiple types of Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, and 5 years later my doctor’s are still trying to figure which type I have exactly. The only thing they know at this point is from the types I may have can affect my heart which is why I often have to go get a echo-cardiogram test that tests my heart to make sure everything is ok. Living with Limb-Girdle Muscular dystrophy is still new to me every day. I wake up every day not knowing how my legs are going to feel or what pain I may have when leaving my house. I try to be very careful when walking because I don’t want to fall, because I won’t be able to pick myself back up. Although I am on my feet a lot for work, after a certain amount of hours, my legs start to weaken. I am currently a visual merchandiser at different locations a very popular clothing store. I enjoy my job because it keeps me and my legs active and I enjoy traveling to the different store locations and doing what I love and my part in the fashion industry. I have the wonderful support from my family and friends but at the ending of the day, they have NO IDEA what I go through on daily basis or what I’m feeling. I try to explain to them how my legs feel, but it’s just so hard to explain. I still go out and enjoy my life as normal, but sometimes I always have certain things in the back of my mind. When going out I find myself researching about where I am going first, like does this place have stairs?, does it have an elevator?, do they accommodate handicap people? So all of these things I worry about when I go out and my friends and family have no idea. Living with MD has made me realize how strong I am and knowing I have no choice but to deal with this. I sometimes get stares because people wonder what a young girl like me is doing either walking with a limp, with a cane, or parking in a handicap parking spot. But I don’t mind because they just don’t know me or know what I have. Although my MD has progressed over the years and getting worse, I have learned to except it and make certain changes in to my life such as now walking with a cane in order to keep my balance and helping me not to fall. At this point I am just taking everything day by day and staying strong. But there is one thing I want people to know by reading this quote. "There’s no “cure” or a pill will “fix it”, but at one point I thought it may help. And I thought the same with therapy and food. But it’s my endless support from family and friend that helps. It is hardest thing that I have ever done, and I found myself much stronger for doing it. Never, ever underestimate the power of your desire. If you want to live badly enough, you can live. The greater question, at least for me was: How do I decide I want to live? That is the question I’m still working on?" AS SEEN IN...

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