Today I Realized I Am Mighty

I haven’t been able to stabilize my health symptoms in the eight months since my flair began. I’ve been cautious with how much I share because I don’t want to seem dramatic or alarm anyone. In truth, I legitimately haven’t known how to categorize myself lately. All signs have pointed to one word— and if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… it’s probably a duck. This week I received my accessible parking placard, and I realized I am disabled, meaning I’m unable to complete “normal” tasks without modifications or assistance.

It began over a month ago when I realized I couldn’t complete a trip to the grocery store without using my inhaler. I stopped bringing my children with me, kept the inhaler handy and just saved grocery shopping for weekends when I could crash when I got home. Realizing this wasn’t OK, I brought it to my PCP’s attention. We looked over my current conditions (I have POTS, mitral valve prolapse, arrhythmias, activity induced asthma and easily subluxating hips). We agreed I should get a placard and choose a modification for shopping. The goal was a safe shopping trip, whatever works. He strongly suggested I use the provided electric carts, but since not all places have this option, I am experimenting with a hip brace and cane combination. Before I found these aids, I tried grinning and bearing it through outings, just to load my belongings and sit in the parking lot for 15 minutes while I caught my breath.

I thought this was normal.

Like the sketch I’m sharing today (below) I feel as though I’m held together with stitches — but stronger than ever. I feel blue because of how my blood pools in my feet and I lose my breath while walking. My eyes are covered, symbolizing the black outs, blurry vision and foggy mind I deal with daily. I’m wearing house slippers and sweats because these are the clothes I spend most of my days in… but I am Super Woman, nevertheless. I am mighty because I choose to use my situation to connect with others and practice gentle resilience.

woman with superhero suit on

Disabled doesn’t feel the way I thought disabled would feel. Why? Because I had this picture in my head of my whole life coming to a halt — that, to me, was disabled. But instead, I have resources. Modifying my lifestyle, while it’s still unknown territory, has opened many doors to opportunities I was missing out on.

So what if I’m 28 with a cane? So what if I get weird looks parking in an accessible spot? So what if I’m still seeing specialists and still receiving diagnoses? It’s a journey; I’m tired of waiting for the end of the story before I share the truth. Today I am disabled, but I won’t let that stop me from living and pursuing solutions… and I figure that’s pretty mighty.

Image Credits: Tab Moura

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

sign at doctor's office and tweet

Why This Doctor's Office Sign Shared on Twitter Has People Outraged

“Don’t look up your symptoms online, just go to the doctor!” you’ll often be warned if you have questions and concerns about your health. While doctors are necessary for managing your health, doctors don’t always have all the answers, as many people with rare, chronic or invisible illnesses have experienced. Doing your own research is [...]

Researchers May Have Found How Epstein-Barr Virus Is Linked to Certain Autoimmune Diseases

Researchers may have found how the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which causes mononucleosis, is linked to several autoimmune diseases, including lupus. Other autoimmune diseases with a possible link to the virus include type 1 diabetes, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. EBV is typically contracted in early childhood and may [...]
photo of Avicii wearing a black shirt.

Swedish EDM DJ Avicii Dies at 28

Swedish EDM DJ Avicii has died at the age of 28, according to a statement released by his publicist on Friday. Born Tim Bergling, Avicii was known for hits such as  “Le7els,” “Wake Me Up!,” ”The Days” and “You Make Me.” In 2016, at the age of 26, Avicii announced he was retiring from live performances after a [...]
left photo shows a woman with a red rash on her neck. right photo shows a man with freckles on his face.

26 Photos That Show How Autoimmune Disease Can Affect Your Skin

Autoimmune diseases come in a variety of forms, each affecting different organs and bodily systems and producing a unique array of symptoms. While some of these symptoms may often be “invisible,” skin manifestations can often be one of the most visible and telltale signs of autoimmune disease. The skin issues caused by autoimmune disease are [...]