If there is one thing I’ve learnt from living with Cerebral Palsy

If there is one thing I’ve learnt (spell checking really hates the use of this word) from living with Cerebral Palsy it is never give up. I guess, this would be true from the very beginning…

I was born premature (at 7 months old). Back in the early 1960s, they placed premature babies in an incubator and they hoped they survived. My dad told me there were many times I would stop breathing and he wasn’t sure I would start again, but just when he thought I would inhale, then I did. He told me that when I was released from the hospital, he realized I was a “fighter.”

Perhaps because I was a “preemie,” I developed Cerebral Palsy (CP); since, CP is a result of brain damage to specific part of the brain during fetal development either before, during, or shortly after birth. The signal from the brain to the muscles is faulty, and thus, result in inadequate control movement and posture.

Life with CP hasn’t been easy. I had to fight to learn every day tasks that most people take for granted. I learnt how to walk, but it was later than most people.

I wanted to fit in as a kid, so I tried to do what the other kids did, and for the most part, I did. I played games like the others; perhaps not as well, but the best that I could. For example, I ran like most kids, but with a limp and not as fast. It was like that for most of my childhood. The one thing I could not grasp was ice-skating. I tried for years with much frustration, but I never improved. I finally stormed in the house one winter before my fifteenth birthday, threw down my skates and exclaimed, “I give up.” If I showed some improvement, then I probably would have stayed with it, but try as I might, I was not improving. I believe this was the only time I gave up on something.

I worked harder than most to get to where I am today. One must work harder, when one has physical limitations. I was always proving myself, and I always had to prove myself to others. This latter case was especially true, when I first started working. I’ve mention this before in other post, so you must forgive me if I restate it here. My mother helped get me my first job by going to her boss; who agreed to hire me. I worked very hard to prove that I could do the job as well as anyone else. I succeeded. I have other bosses, later in life, who told me they had their doubts about me, but they never regretted hiring me.

Life with CP wasn’t easy, but I will tell you a secret, because I was born with it, I don’t know any different. For me, life with CP is normal.

Life is good. I am please with how things worked out in my life. I am far from done. There is still much I want to do. I will never quit striving for my goals and dreams. Please you do the same.
—Robert Confiant 8 June 2017

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