Daily Prompt: Be the Change

Daily Prompt: Be the Change

Having a disability, which is very unknown to the general public, I would like to be the change and educate everyone about  this disease.  It is called Ataxia.  Everyone who sees me, or anyone else with the disease, would think we have either MS or have had a little bit too much to drink.  Let me explain, Ataxia is really a symptom of something else much greater happening in the body.  Ataxia is is a Latin term for irregular gait; hence, stumbling around like you’ve had too much to drink.   One can have this symptom from anything from a stroke to, in my case, a Hereditary Degenerating Cerebellum.  It began when I was born. I had a mutation in my DNA causing my body to produce a protein which attacks my cerebellum causing this degeneration. The cause is unknown and there is no medication for it, just diligence to my surroundings (like hanging onto banisters).  Granted, as we all age , our cerebellum shrinks in size anyway. Mine just happens to be shrinking or degenerating at a quicker rate.  So, I am 50 years old with the balance (or lack of) of a 85 year old. W hat is the most frustrating, are the judgments, snickers, or sideways glances I get because the public is uneducated about the disease. “I assure you I have not had too much to drink— it’s only ten thirty in the morning.  I am doing the best I can.”  These are the things I want to shout and more.  I have been told to walk with a cane, so people will know that I do, indeed, have a disability. But I adamantly refuse. Why rely on a crutch until I feel I have to???  There are  those with forms of Ataxia who are in wheelchairs and on walkers, and my heart goes out to them, but to look at them you know they have a disability   When you look at me, or anyone else, who might stumble or lose their balance, don’t be so quick to judge, snicker, or glance sideways at me.  Give the benefit of the doubt until you know all the facts and change your thinking.

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