Cerebral Palsy- My Journey

After being at “Bressie” last week the live version of his podcast. I have been thinking about my own journey. I have had cerebral palsy all my life which affects my left side and causes me the stumble from time to time.

I was set thinking by with Niall Breslin said and to that end I want to tell people about the journey as I only really mention it in passing and even people who know me well still tell me they didn’t know I have it and to them it’s a shock when I tell them or when they see the leg brace I wear, it’s not a fashion accessory by Gucci or Fred Perry let me tell you !! You won’t see them at Paris fashion week.

I wear a leg brace daily and that is the strange shape you may see through my jeans or tracksuit bottoms, I have set you thinking now haven’t I !! I think about all the moments I felt like wanting to cut my leg off and get a new one but you can’t do that in real life and particularly as an adult.

But this is the way I am made and I can’t do anything drastic only live with the situation and make the best of it. I have always said I felt like I never fitted in but into my mid-thirties I can now say I am happy and content with where I am.

The big battles have been had in my own head over the years and the little voice in the back of my mind has finally been silenced and I am most grateful for that because earlier this year I didn’t think I would see my way to Christmas 2023.

How time changes when an opportunity presents itself and as I head toward 2024 I can see a future, the very future that on many occasions I felt I didn’t deserve or want but looking back now I know I am strong enough to face future problems and see a way around them rather than falling down a rabbit hole.

My body is beginning to show me that age is finally kicking in and heavy lifting is starting to show me that I am beginning the journey over the hill. I will find a way around of course but it does say to me it might be time to find something that won’t kill me physically.

I do compensate on my right side to try and take the pressure off my left side. I walk with a slight limp, saying all this may come to some as a shock, to more it will answer that question that people always want to ask but won’t until I do it for them.

I was in the care of Enable Ireland until I was 18 and then was discharged to make my way in life. Not once could I say my disability caused me to think badly of my life or anything my own head and brain did that for me. I can be very resourceful when I need to be.

I have just realised that as I move through the next few decades I will need to listen to my body because as I say my body is starting to show the signs of age but let me say I won’t allow that deter me but I am acutely aware that things will start to change for me physically as I hit 40 which is of course is my next big milstone, Christ writing that is funny.

I gave up playing sport owing to knowing it was time to step back. I was lucky to be able to play with more able bodied players until I got to 18, playing youths soccer with Ferry Rangers and up to minor level with Tarbert.

I am so pleased I realised my limits at that point and it wasn’t me just giving up the ghost, I knew my body was crying out to stop. I will push my body but I know when to stop, it’s not being lazy it is just me knowing my limitations !!

As I mentioned at the start of this, I was at “Bressie” last Tuesday and It certainly made me think of the journey I have been on and continue to be on of course. Not all journeys are smooth and plain sailing but that is the fun of it. It’s how you bounce back from the choppy moments is how you will be able to say I found my way through that and will do again if I need to.

I use many traits that I learned from family, friends and comedians if I am honest. I try my best to make people smile on a daily basis and sometimes I will use myself as the punchline and seeing people smile is enough for me.

It really is the simple life I crave, I am on that road to getting that particular part of my life in place. I have sat writing and scribbling away for almost 11 years and I still surprise many when I say that. I am only recording in the past 7 years.

What I am getting at is do not allow things that may hold you back to define who you are as a person, find a way around them, ask the question, don’t sit back to wait for others to do so because I know from experience the question may never come….

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