I am not embarrassed by my wheelchair or walker. I am not embarrassed when I need help with meals or transportation. I am not embarrassed when my legs or hands are trembling or even when I fall down. I am not embarrassed by my disability. It is just life. My life. And, I would much rather have it than not have it.
Some people are embarrassed by their disability and I wish they weren’t. The fact is that every person on the planet has some level of disability. It is just that some are more obvious to the outside world than others. The truth is that everyone needs some help or assistance from time to time. I just happen to need more than most people.
If you are like me and you listen to the news, almost daily we get some new medical statistic. “Four percent of the population will get this disease.” “Six percent will get that.” “Two percent will get another.” The list goes on and on. The fact is that if we are lucky enough to live long enough, the chances are that we will all have some health issue to deal with in the future.
A few months ago a survey was completed which showed that more than 50% of Americans would rather die than live with a disability that prevents them from leading an “independent life.” I can only assume that these people don’t know me, or the more than 50 million people in this country who do live with a disability. (http://in.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idINN7B32025920080711)
I am no expert on surveys, but WOW! What an awful number! In fact, it is worse than awful. It is terrible, shameful and a cry for more education and understanding. It also tells me that I, and many of the other 50 million people who live with a disability, are not doing a very good job of being a visible example to the rest of the world of what it means to live a full life with a disability.
My goal is this: to increase the visibility of disability. I want to change those survey results. I want to be an example to all that, even with a disability like Multiple Sclerosis, I am fully engaged, out there, alive and living a full life among the ‘more able bodied’. I want to show the world that life is worth living with an able heart and mind, even if the body has its challenges.
I am not embarrassed by my life. I am proud of it. How about you?
Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.