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April 2018

The earth and clouds below, a plane cruising at high altitude and above, space

Living With The Unknown 

By | Disability, Lifestyle | No Comments

Living with the unknown is both scary and interesting at the same time. There is no one to scream and shout at as there is no support. In turn this makes the world a big and scary place, but this big and scary world can suddenly become a world of possibility!

It seems to be human nature to want a label for things. I am no different. Over the years of living with my unknown, it has gained many names and personalities. The main label which I have given it is “Harriet Little Syndrome”, but the most resent has been Mango disease. The main reason these names have been so vital and important to me over the years has been due to so many skeptics. By giving the unknown a name it has meant that when the skeptics (which have included doctors), who tell me its all made up, I’m able to keep going as I know they are wrong.

The hardest part, as well as having to deal with skeptics, has been all the challenges the unknown brings with it. There is no support for people who live with the unknown and many patients get left isolated, which leads to other problems in the long run. Due to the isolation, I have been very down. However, I have been able to push through it and come out the other side. Don’t let me give you all the impression that the unknown is all dark clouds and rain though – as its not! The unknown is much more like living with the English weather. Some days there is rain and other days there is sun and rainbows. Through living with the unknown I have been able to meet some amazing people and have heard some amazing stories! A lesson I have learnt, over the 10 years of the unknown, is to make the most of the sunny and rainbow days as they don’t happen all the time!

By making the most of my sunny days, and forcing myself to get up and keep going, I have been able to write this blog. It would have been easy for me to have curled up in the corner and given up with life. But by pushing the boundaries of the unknown, I have shot for GB in archery, started writing these articles and continued with life!!

The lesson that I have learnt, and the one you can gain from the film ‘The Greatest Showman,’ is that you have to accept what you have.  Accepting you for you is what will get you through life. If people criticise you for the way you are, you just have to say well… ‘This is me!’ The unknown will not stop me and nor should it stop anyone. Love the sunny days and enjoy the rainbows!!

A blue tennis court with white lines looking through the black netting

Never take things for granted

By | Disability, Lifestyle | No Comments

My name is Harriet. Up until I was 9 years of age I was the type of child that would want to be on the move 24/7.  My main objective was scaring my parents to death with all my sporting activities and mischief. However, at the age of 9 my world changed. This is when I became disabled. My disability was no-ones fault, it was just one of those things.

For the last 10 and a half years I have lived with a neurological condition which has left me with many problems, including bladder problems, impaired sight and becoming a neurological paraplegic. The newest of all the problems has been becoming semi-paralysed in my left arm. Though doctors are still baffled by what my disability is or what caused it, over the years the illness has been stable and then gotten worse and then become stable again. There have been many tests and investigations which have knocked me down. However, once I have been knocked down, I refuse for it to keep me down, and subsequently get back up and fight even harder.

One of the things which helps me get through whatever this disability is, or as I like to call it ‘Harriet Little Syndrome,’ is sport. Sport has had a big impact on me both mentally and physically over the years. Thanks to sport I have been able to meet some amazing people and do some amazing things. As well as sport, I have used volunteering work to aid me through my disability. My feeling is that if a charity has helped me then I want to give all I can back.

The last 10 years of living with the unknown, has had its highs and its lows. However, if I’m able to help guide or inspire another young person in the same situation as me, then its all worth it.

I am currently at university, and have already started to inspire and make a change for the better in peoples lives. The degree I am doing at uni is Sport, Coaching and Physical Education. This degree has never had a disabled student before. So as well as them teaching me, I am having to not only teach my lecturers but also my peers. Even though I’m in a wheelchair and have a disability I’m still able to do all what they can. The overall battle with universities and disabilities has just begun, but its one which future disabled students coming through will help change for the better!

So, this is just a very quick introduction about myself and a teaser of what future articles will be about.

A heavily pregnant woman sitting on a bed reading a book

Love Lounge – I Have Cerebral Palsy, Can I Get Pregnant?

By | Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge | No Comments

Hi there,

My partner and I are hoping to try for a baby soon.  I have cerebral palsy and though sex is possible, it isn’t always easy due to tight muscles and a lack of suitable positions for us.  My bladder muscles can be quite weak due to my CP, and I’m really concerned that the same will happen to my womb muscles.  Am I more likely to struggle to get pregnant, or even more likely to lose a baby, because of my disability?

 


 

Hi! Thanks so much for writing into us, and huge congratulations on your decision to become parents! I’ve got some good news for you: your womb uses a completely different set of muscles to your bladder, so its very unlikely indeed that you’d have the same issue with muscle weakness. Just to be sure, maybe contact your local fertility clinic; they can even conduct tests to check how fertile you are, which could give you even further peace of mind.

Best of luck!

Em

a map of Australia with many colourful pins on it

Love Lounge – Disclosing My Prosthetic Whilst Travelling

By | Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge | No Comments

Hi love lounge,

I’m going travelling this summer with a group of girlfriends.  I’m so excited and can’t wait to get out there and see the world! All of us are single, and there’s been talk of us going out and meeting boys and having fun on nights out.  I have a below knee amputation on my right leg and wear a prosthetic, and sometimes have to use a crutch if it gets agitated.  I’ve never had a one night stand before (but really want to!) I guess I’m just looking for a bit of advice really please. How do I tell a guy I fancy about my leg if it isn’t noticeable? I don’t want to be dishonest but I also don’t want to spoil my chances of having fun!!

Thanks, Han.

 


 

Hi Han!

Your new adventures sound AMAZING. I totally get where you’re coming from: you want to be ‘you’ and have tonnes of fun at the same time.  How do you feel about wearing shorter dresses, for example? If it’s a good night and you’re feeling good about your leg, maybe it’s best to show it off and make sure any potential partner for the night sees all of you from the start? There’s then no awkward conversation starter of ‘just so you know…..’, and would you want to sleep with someone who wanted you to hide your leg anyway?!

Let me know what you think about being more ‘out there’ with your prosthetic leg.  If there’s a time to reinvent yourself, it’s when you’re travelling!

Have the BEST time, let me know how it goes!

Em

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