National Cerebral Palsy Day (2018)

October 6 is this year’s National Cerebral Palsy Day. I was born premature weighing just 1 pound 5 ounces and was only 12 inches long. Part of the effect of my early birth is that I have mild Cerebral Palsy.

According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and stroke, (Cerebral Palsy) “Refers to a group of Neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affects the body movement and muscle coordination…” Basically, Cerebral Palsy (CP) is where the brain and body, mainly the muscles, do not connect which can cause a variety of symptoms and effects which can vary from person to person.

While I was looking at the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy, from the same website,  I recognized that I had some of them which was recognized in my childhood.

“Variations in muscle tone, either too stiff or floppy.” For me this meant that my muscles were to floppy and to help make the tone much stronger I received physical therapy from a young age  until the sixth grade.

“Shaking or random involuntary movements” When I stopped and looked at this symptom I actually thought I did not have this until I remembered that sometimes my finger or leg will shake with no known cause.

“Delays in reaching motor skills milestones” For me this was a lot of the thing’s babies do that parents go crazy over sitting up, crawling and walking. My mother told me that it took me two years to learn how to walk instead of one year.

“Problems with drooling and difficulties swallowing or speaking” I had to have speech therapy when I was young. I drooled a lot as a child. Now that I am an adult I do not have that much problems with drooling except for when I am sick or from the effects of wearing my night guard at night.

“Problems with writing and dressing” For me, I struggled with buttons when I was really young, however I had a tool to help me with that. I also struggled with writing. However, with lots of help from physical and occupational therapy I was able to gain my independence with dressing myself and I was able to write. Now that I am older technology has taken over and I type more than I write.

Even though technology has taken over that is not an excuse to not keep my body as strong as it can be. For me, I try to walk as much as I can, I write from time to time, and I bring out the stress ball and play dough.  The most annoying thing about Cerebral Palsy is not feeling as strong as I want to be on my left side, which is mainly in my hand, and very rarely do I have pain in my hand or in my hips or legs. However sometimes I just stop and take a break if it’s from physical writing or to help my hips and legs I do some stretching and taking a warm bath with lavender soaps or bath salts helps me relax. Even though I have these problems that has not stop me from being the best person I can be. I just have to work harder at it. On a sadder note, I saw more effects of Cerebral Palsy that make me feel lucky that I am not as bad off as others with Cerebral Palsy. I hope that one day there will be a cure for this condition and people will have better treatment.

To learn more about Cerebral Palsy:  https://www.ucp.org/ or http://yourcpf.org/