I am disabled and I have some health concerns on top of it. In the past, I have fought through my disabilities, but the hits just keep on coming and the hurdles just seem to grow higher. I am an established artist, though I am legally blind and losing what little vision I have, I’m hard of hearing, but still write and record music, then there are the martial arts… which I have lost the ability to practice due to a myriad of issues with my spine.
I have been called inspirational, someone who against all odds lets nothing keep me down, and yet today as I write this, that is exactly what has happened and I had no choice in the matter. It’s not that I’ve lost the fight in me, it is that physically, my body cannot handle martial arts, and in fact, I am losing my very ability to walk. Let me go over the issues I currently face;
- Legally blind with a degenerative condition slowly taking away my vision.
- About 70% hearing loss (but it’s stable).
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Spinal issues – DISH (Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis) disease (so bad that my neck and spine are like glass), two severe curvatures of the spine, numerous bulging discs, several degenerative discs, benign tumors up and down my spine, and two exposed nerve roots.
You can see my dilemma, no?
I can work through the pain, but this has gone from pain to an inability to stand for short durations, and walking has been reduced to short distances and I have to use a rollator to do so. Literally, I have no choice in fighting it, no option to just push through it and find a creative workaround, it simply is. If this were a fight, I would want to continue, but the referee had called a stoppage and declared that I lost!
Losing thirty-plus years in martial arts has been damning enough, but even worse is the loss of my dignity. I have been relegated to one floor in our house, where I have to use a commode, have to ask for help to do some simple things, and though I have an amazing family who is happy to help me, it is none the easier to my wounded ego. The simplest of things, like putting on shoes or bending over to pick something up are now out of the question, I have to use a long shoe horn and a grabber to do those.
Needing extra tools just to go about my day has been a godsend, but also they show me just how much of everyday life I used to take for granted. So, I decided to share some of these things with everyone here, as my life adjusts and I learn to live life all over again, not for fun, not for pity, but to let others going through this type of loss know that they aren’t alone.