Living with Cerebral Palsy involves making difficult choices sometimes. When I was younger, my parents made healthcare decisions for me. Ever since turning 18, I’ve been in charge of making decisions regarding my healthcare. In January of 2020, I began taking an anti-depressant. This wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. It was the right decision for my mental health. It saddened me when I began taking Prozac.
I’ve also decided to have Botox injections to help provide temporary spasticity relief. While Botox isn’t permanent, it does make it easier for me to use my walker. I don’t want to lose my ability to walk. Sometimes after the procedure, I feel nauseous and weak. The side effects of the procedure, while they are not always pleasant, are worth the results.
The hardest decision I’ve made because of my CP was getting my first power wheelchair. I first tried a power wheelchair at 11 years old. I had always believed that using a wheelchair would make me less independent. I feared that I would become dependent on my wheelchair. It was this fear that kept me from getting a power wheelchair until the age of 13. I saw it as a sign of weakness. At the time, I didn’t realize how helpful a power wheelchair would be.
Cerebral Palsy affects every decision I make daily. Fatigue is always present in my life. If I am more tired than usual, I don’t run errands. Walking around the grocery store when you have Cerebral Palsy is exhausting. An hour in the grocery store can feel like running a marathon.
When I moved out in 2020, I had to find accessible housing. This was harder than I thought it would be. I wasn’t going to live somewhere with stairs or without an elevator. I didn’t want to live in an apartment that I couldn’t get into. Ideally, I wanted to live on the first floor. It didn’t make sense for me to live somewhere inaccessible.
Because of my mobility aids, accessibility is a concern in my life. If I want to visit a new store or restaurant, I have to make sure it is accessible beforehand. This is why I rarely go to the local movie theater. While it is somewhat accessible, it’s not fully accessible. I’d much rather travel to Cinemark where I can see any movie I want.
Cerebral Palsy hasn’t made my life easy. It means that I’ve made choices in my life that most non-disabled 22-year-olds don’t think about. Most people don’t do lots of research when they go somewhere new. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy my life with Cerebral Palsy, but living with it is hard sometimes.