Hi there to all of Katie’s readers! My name is Adrienne and I’ve gotten to know Katie because we both share the same collagen disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I’m 37 years old and I have two sons who are 9 and 7 who are both extremely active and boisterous and require a lot of physical and emotional attention, which isn’t easy for anyone all of the time, but especially not for someone suffering from chronic pain. Parents with EDS live every day dealing with random injuries and pain in various parts of the body, including: neck, back, hips, ankles, fingers, elbows, shoulders, intestines, eyes, bladder, feet and toes.
Evidently I’ve had this disorder all my life but have only recently been diagnosed with it. I’ve had odd pains since my teenage years, though nothing was TOO bad until my late 20s, after I had my children. Parenting young children is a considerable job in itself, and working outside of the home while trying to parent them is a feat that only super-humans can successfully achieve! I stayed home with them when they were young but then went back to work two years ago only to discover that my body could no longer physically withstand an 8 hour work day.
Last year I had to say goodbye to the old me and say hello to the new me with limitations. I had to explain to my children that I can’t do all of the physically active things that we used to do, and that was really tough. I went through a really emotional time while I mourned my lost abilities to run, hike, carry my kids, and play on playgrounds.
Though I lost some abilities, I gained so much in the way of mental strength and focus. I had to quit the job that I started but I became insanely determined to create a life for myself that worked. Through persistence, therapy (both physical and mental), a deluge of medications and supplements, a shift in the way I ate, intense focus on meditation, and learning to ask for help when I need it, I have managed to look at my life with a positive spin. I sometimes still long to hike to the top of a steep hill to feel the rush of the breeze and to see the city below. The other night I cried because I probably shouldn’t have any more children if I can’t adequately carry them. But, overall, when I look at my life now, with a disability, I am so much happier and grounded than ever before.
Whether you were forced to slow down or you chose to, what did you discover when you looked at your life with a disability?
Adrienne McGuire is a writer, website consultant and wellness enthusiast who abandoned the corporate ladder to create the life she really wanted. Her journey down the road less traveled took her to www.dailypath.com , where she is now an integral part of the writing team.