A friend asked me how I dealt with muscular dystrophy and losing the ability to walk. I have written about this before a little but came up with a little more hindsight on this topic I thought I’d share.
I realized that gradual change, in general, is easier to deal with than sudden change. In this respect I have been fortunate that my muscular dystrophy has progressed very slowly. I usually tell people that I have to reflect back years to see major differences in my abilities. With minor changes, I often adjust before I realize anything has changed.
Because of this, I think my brain also has time to get used to and accept the new changes, so they don’t upset me. That’s not to say that in my teens I didn’t have a lot of worry and frustration. I did. But I think my worrying at the time went far beyond the reality that was presenting itself. I was still doing everything I had been doing, but I was slowing down. I was more upset about the future.
Now that part of my future has arrived, I find that the worrying I did twenty years ago was definitely too much. Things have turned out much better than I’d worried. Using a wheelchair wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it was. It actually became a relief for me to use a chair and I love every minute of it.
During the time of my life when I was transitioning from walking to using a wheelchair, I also had some self-imposed challenges that had nothing to do with my disorder. I was in the process of getting my web development company off the ground. The task of finding new clients, completing the work, and paying all the bills was a great distraction from what was going on with me physically.
I hear this often, actually. People find that distractions like work, hobbies, or adventures help relieve the worry, tension, or pain associated with their diseases. I think this also works for people struggling with non-physical challenges like grief, divorce, or empty nest syndrome.
So I am thankful that my progression has been slow. I am also glad that I feel I am armed with the tools to deal with any future surprises that come up due to my health or other circumstances. It’s definitely something I’m glad I’ve learned and not sure I would have learned it by any other means than dealing with muscular dystrophy.