Every journey of our life seems to have challenges. It doesn’t seem to matter whether we have chosen the journey, or the journey was given. Those roads provide many emotions along the way. These roads can provide us with happiness, frustration, emotions that overwhelm, and everything in between. The journey of cerebral palsy was given to me at birth. As He often does, God didn’t check in to see how I felt about taking it on. But, cerebral palsy hasn’t been the only challenge God has provided. However, in my life, the disability has been the most frustrating and rewarding. We’ve spent time lately talking about specific things which help me improve cerebral palsy symptoms. Though the journey continues to find other things to help, it seems a good time to bring things together. The search for therapeutic answers has taken me in many directions throughout life. When physical therapy ended during childhood, we didn’t continue looking for other means of improvement. It wasn’t until later in life that things like chiropractic adjustments and personal training became part of my program. The only bummer was waiting until later in life to explore these outlets. They both have sent my journey into a positive direction.
From birth, physical therapy was part of my life. It lasted through my grade school years in one way or another. There aren’t many memories of early physical therapy. I do remember spending much of my time rolling on one of those big therapy balls. They also gave me insoles for my shoes, helping me walk. The final part of physical therapy was done inside the classroom. They began working with me on my keyboarding skills. It was the first time being around a computer. Even with all of this going on throughout elementary school, sports were a big part of my young life. Playing sports with friends around the neighborhood helped me stay active. Through elementary and junior high we would play all sports in backyards, on the street, or in driveways. At times, it was challenging to keep up. But, friends seemed happy to include me in games. The activity kept me moving after the physical therapy of my youth had commenced.
With age, there became less activities to participate in with friends. Intermural sports were attempted in college, but cerebral palsy was catching up with my inactivity, leaving me overmatched. Finally, after finishing college, and moving home, something had to be done before CP totally took over my body. At that point, I began working with my first personal trainer. He didn’t seem to have tons of knowledge about cerebral palsy, but did get me moving again. My body slowly began gaining flexibility and strength. Those first couple years were painfully slow. The process was frustrating at times, wondering if strength could ever truly be achieved. Looking back on the beginning stages, sticking with the journey was crucial. Who knows where my journey with cerebral palsy would be today had the frustration lead to giving up. Since that first trainer, much has been learned. The progression has landed me with my third trainer, who understands more about working with cerebral palsy than could have been imagined. Ian, when he gave up training, provided such a gift when pairing me with Bernard. However, without my initial training with Frank, a chiropractor may have never entered my life.
Sometimes we don’t realize how much pain we are in, until we begin the healing process. When my experience with chiropractic adjustments began, the difference between my leg length was an inch. Usually that kind of difference can cause simply walking to be painful. However, my body had become so accustomed to the discrepancy that I reported the pain at five out of a possibility of ten. That was about nine years ago, as Dana and I laughed this week about how much pain was truly going through my body. The pain had become so normal its amount and effect wasn’t truly being realized. After years of work together, we have eased the pain. Our journey of adjusting has brought us from sessions once a week, back to adjustment biweekly, then recently becoming adjusted twice per week. We also added a supplement to my diet called Muscle Ezze. Each form of cerebral palsy seems different, but our frequency of adjustments, paired with the supplement to ease anxiety and muscle spasms seems to be working. It has taken away so much of the pain in my body, also providing more endurance.
There hasn’t seemed to be one form of therapy to help my cerebral palsy symptoms. Like most of our journey’s, we pull from different areas to help. When not doing anything to help CP, things can get frustrating. The disability tends to add struggle to my life when left to run its own path without effort to help. It can often turn into a downward spiral turning into feelings of hopelessness. But, beginning the training process more than ten years ago helped with reversing that trend. Training began with just once per week, then moved into two sessions a week, pretty soon there was work done on my own, in addition to training sessions. The same pattern took place with chiropractic adjustments. We found something to help with cerebral palsy symptoms and began the adjustments once per week. As the improvement continued, we ended up increasing frequency, and now the adjustments take place twice per week. All the forms of help ease frustration and anxiety from cerebral palsy symptoms. They place me in positive positions to help make life better with a disability that has no cure.
Cerebral palsy seems to provide a constant search. The pain throughout my body doesn’t show signs of completely going away. While we can’t make, cerebral palsy disappear, we can do things to improve the symptoms. There seem to be ways of lessening the pain in the body. However, each person with cerebral palsy has been presented with different challenges. In my experience, there hasn’t been one thing to ease my pain better than others. Through experience of this journey, the most useful tactic has been a mixture of different avenues to help improve the disability symptoms. It has taken years of exploration, but I’ve found things that really help. My hope has been to share some of the things we have come up with, as coming up with these tools has been a collaborative process. Hopefully they can provide ideas for any journey you might be walking. Having many things working together has helped my journey along the way. There could be more ideas down the road to help in ways not thought about today. The important aspects seem to be continuing to work at those things that are helpful, stay open to new ideas, and not give up.