About Cerebral Palsy
I have cerebral palsy, or CP for short. Cerebral, meaning the brain, and palsy meaning weakness or lack of muscle control leading to altered movement patterns and posture.
Cerebral Palsy is a permanent, non-progressive, developmental physical disability that is caused by damage to the developing brain of a baby, either before, during or shortly after birth. This damage may be caused by contracting an infection, sustaining an injury or by a faulty process in the growing brain's development. In many cases the cause of the damage is unknown.
For people with CP, the damage can effect one or more of the motor control areas of the brain, but other areas can be damaged at the same time. This can cause additional disabilities such as impairments in learning, vision, hearing, speech or epilepsy.
CP is described by the parts of the body that are affected by the brain damage, and the impairments in the muscle tone and control caused by this damage.
My type of CP is Spastic Quadriplegia. This means that the movement of all parts of my body, including both my arms and legs are reduced due to muscle spasticity, which in my case causes increased stiffness. This makes it difficult for me to move my limbs or speak. The right side of my body is more affected than my left, which means the left side of my brain is more damaged than the right side. I have a curved spine which is a condition called scoliosis. It is caused by one side of my body being tighter than the other side.
In 2010 I was starting to have pain in my right shoulder due to muscle spasticity, so I decided to get a baclofen pump implanted. It stops the pain by release baclofen very slowly, 24/7 into my blood steam. It also has other benefits. For instance, my legs no longer kick out when I am angry, sad, happy, excited, or nervous the way they used to.
Even though I am largely wheelchair bound, I don’t let it stop me from being involved in the community at all levels. I can’t talk normally, but people can still understand some of the words I say. For me, being non-verbal is the most difficult part of my disability. Most of the public assume I am dumb and can’t hold a conversation because I use a tablet for communication.