Saturday, January 21, 2006

"Leaving the 'safe' world of disability"

Andy Ward, on his recovery from lymphoma. Why was it so hard to leave the wheelchair behind? Times Online:
For the first two years after diagnosis and radiotherapy treatment, my survival instincts kicked in. I spent the first 12 months in a wheelchair, the next with walking-sticks. This may sound like the most difficult part, but in fact, the last three years learning how to re-enter the world have, at times, been the hardest.

After recovering, understandably, I began to grieve for the life I might have had without illness and injury. But I also grieved for some parts of my wheelchair experience: being looked after; special times with friends and family...I lived in a restricted world, but it was slowly becoming familiar and safe. When my world opened out again (I) faced scary choices...


Blogger Joel said...

I lived inside this disease of mine since, I believe, the second grade. I cry when I hear about success stories such as this because in the worst part of the disease I had to negotiate school and work. I missed my opportunity for my dream career and spent my work life working for people who were brutal, philistine, and not especially bright beyond the manipulation of numbers. Flushed by yelling, threats, and bewilderment that adults didn't behave more like adults, I ended up as a folded over dry cleaning bag.

The people who might have provided me with opportunities to offset my mistakes never wanted me. A few went out of their way to hurt me. I have lived by never taking revenge, always watching these others rise and prosper.

I ask myself "How can he say that you can fix a life as disastrous as mine in three years?" I'm 47 years old, nearly 48. Stuck with no job and likely never to have a job. To stay in the world, I volunteer a few hours every week. No, I am not missing a leg or an arm. Just my sense of accomplishment and my sense of stability. I'm only bipolar.

Those choices he talks about at the end kill me.

9:40 PM  
Blogger shrinkette said...

Joel - Thank you for your comments. I think your insights are valuable. You have much to teach us about living with illness.

8:27 PM  

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