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Why I'm Thankful to My Cerebellar Vestibular Disorder

Dear cerebellar vestibular disorder,

Can you believe it’s been over 30 years now that we’ve been together for better or worse? It’s a weird platonic “marriage” with no option to divorce you. So I have to learn to compromise with you. You have been a great mentor and teacher to me.  You’ve changed my life forever in a multitude of ways, and taught me life lessons that have transformed me.

You’ve been a hard teacher. A boot camp drill sergeant, but with a soft heart under the gruff exterior. The lessons have often been agonizingly painful, but just like heat strengthens metal, you have strengthened me. You’ve led me to find ways to teach those life lessons to others both with and without this life-altering disorder.

Sometimes you force me to struggle bitterly, but what doesn’t break us makes us stronger, or so the adage goes. One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is to ask others to be kind, compassionate and patient with me. I’ve learned the scary lessons about putting myself first and saying “no.” You’ve done a great job at making me assertive, outspoken and poised, and you taught me to advocate not just for myself but for others as well.

You’ve taught me that winning is more than the book definitions — winning is succeeding over the odds even when you come in last. Winning is succeeding after a number of failures. Winning means starting over after failures and mistakes.

You’ve taught me to put my health and well-being first, even when others balk and get annoyed. You’ve taught me that 24/7 energizer bunnies do burn out. The strongest battery needs recharging sometimes. You taught me to appreciate rest, relaxation, naps and meditation.

You taught me the true meanings of self-love and acceptance, how to be happy in the moment and to take each day as it comes. You’ve taught me that nothing is accomplished without asserting oneself, no matter how much anxiety is involved.

You’ve taught me CV pride and CV poise. To get through tears and fears. And to keep going and not drown in failure or “pity mode.”

Marsha Lampert

You’ve taught me to ask for help. I’m still learning how not to cry when I get turned down by others, and how to keep seeking help. I’ve learned to keep hope alive. I’ve learned I can’t do it all alone — I need people, despite my social fears.

You’ve taught me to forgive myself and not give up on life. You’ve taught me that sometimes it takes a lifetime to learn something. Life is learning and learning is life.

You’ve taught me to get back up after falling down, even when my heart is filled with panic. I’ll never give up trying and learning. Thank you.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.