Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category
Prenatal testing encourages abortions? I don’t know, Rick Santorum, I think you’re a bit off the mark on this one. I think, first and foremost, it gives parents-to-be the opportunity to know what they are up against when their baby comes if he or she does have a disability. It gives them the opportunity to plan financially and prepare themselves emotionally for all that is going to be required of them to give the baby the best life they can provide.
And second, I think that by saying prenatal testing encourages abortions, Santorum is showing us his true feelings toward people with disabilities. I believe him when he says he is 100% anti-abortion. But to suggest that when a parent finds out their child will be disabled that they should for some reason want to terminate the pregnancy, well, that tells me something about Santorum’s mindset, to tell you the truth.
Liberals who consider themselves “pro-choice” are not “anti-life”. They are not going around looking for a reason to have an abortion. That seems to be what Santorum is trying to suggest here. But it doesn’t add up.
My parents say I never complained about anything I went through due to my disability, spina bifida, while I was growing up. But I remember thinking that my life was over on many occasions. Usually this was directly related to girls not giving me the attention I thought I deserved. As I grew up I came to realize that this was a disability I gave myself. Thankfully the disability in talking to girls which I gave myself distracted me from any problems I could have noticed relating to my actual disability, which I could not change. Yeah, that’s right, you CAN actually give yourself some disabilities. But as George Harrison sang “Since our problems have been our own creation, they also can be overcome when we use the power provided free to everyone.”
When you look at your life in terms of things that you can change and those that you can’t, life becomes very simple. You work on what you can change, and you embrace that which you cannot. A disability is no longer your sob story, it is simply that which you bring to the table in the feast of life of which are partaking together.
I learned this lesson yesterday by sitting down for several hours talking with a friend of mine who is the only known living person who has the combination Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension ( IPAH), Thrombocytopenia, Hereditory Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) and Von Willenbrands Factor VIII Insufficiency. She is also one of only three known cases of a person who has IPAH and Von Willenbrands Factor VIII Insufficiency. I will not try to explain what all of these are. Suffice to say that one of the main setbacks she faces is frequent nose bleeds and fatigue, though there is much more involved than that. But she has written about her disorder to try to help others understand what her life is like, and to raise awareness of these rare conditions. She has accepted them, and offered her experiences to the rest of us at the table. And she has inspired me by approaching each day with nothing but faith in whatever comes next. Thankfully this faith has brought her to this point, eight years after doctors told her she had three months to live.
The way I see it, though I hardly ever meet anyone who also has spina bifida, at least I know there is a foundation, online support groups, and information I can gather at my local hospital if needed. It is a specialized disorder for sure, but enough doctors know about it that I can get the information and support I need. Imagine being the only known person who has your disorder. And then, think about your life as it is. Your activities, your job, your family……It’s really great, isn’t it?
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Like I said in the title of this posting, go and watch James Cameron’s new movie, Avatar if you haven’t already. It is not ALL hype. Not all. It is a great movie, with some mind bending scenes, colors, action, etc. Not the most groundbreaking screenplay or overall plot, and there is certainly a lot of non-very-well-veiled anti-war propaganda. But all things considered the movie is great. And it’s not racist, despite what some people are saying. I don’t know how some people jump to that conclusion whenever a movie involves civilizations of a different color (The Na’vi, who are blue). If anything the movie is taking a stand against one of its own characters who considers the Na’vi to be inferior because of their non-European-like culture.
I will try not to spoil anything, but you can see from the preview that a man in a wheelchair, Jake, walks again by becoming one of the Na’vi, right? Well, okay, seeing him become an avatar and walk on two legs for the first time since becoming disabled, and talking about it with my wife on the way home from the movie, it FORCED ME to admit that while I don’t pine away to be able to walk, if I did one day find myself able to, I ADMIT that I would react the same way this man did. By running. And like him, I’d probably keep running for a while.
When I first saw the preview, I thought the movie might have something to do with the Hindu avatars of God (Krishna, Vishnu, etc) because they are always portrayed with blue skin. But it has nothing to do with that, except that in Hinduism, avatars are said to come to help humanity when we need to be reminded why we are here, OR we are being overcome by evil forces, which is just what the character Jake ends up doing for the Na’vi. But they are all blue themselves, so the reference gets lost.
Anyway, go see the movie and let me know what you thought. Or if you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought.
The Life-Altering Reason That “Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe” is now “Leaving Footprintz Across the Universe”
Those of you who have followed this blog throughout the last year or so may have noticed a marked drop in output over the last few months.
You may also have noticed that I changed the name of this website from “Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe” to “Leaving Footprintz Across the Universe.” There is a reason for both changes and they are connected. The reason is I have been busy. A lot of bloggers say that when they cut production, but I have been busy doing things that I have never, ever done before! Let me start at the beginning.
I started this blog as a man with spina bifida and I wanted to tell the world a little about my life and what it is like with a disability. Well, back on December 15 I recieved a call from a doctor who was present at the hospital on the day I was born. And he told me something that made me hysterically angry and hysterically blissful at the same time. He is no longer affiliated with the hospital where I was born, so he was able to tell me this:
He told me that I was in fact born a healthy baby, but for reasons he could not explain my parents were told by the doctor that delivered me that I had spina bifida. My parents took me home with the news that I had special needs and would never walk. The power of those spoken words apparently held so much sway that from the very beginning, that even though I was perfectly healthy, I never did use my legs, and I never did learn to walk. Crap, I was even allergic to things that people with spina bifida are supposed to be allergic to. Talc in Latex, chocolate, and bananas.
As time went on, and as doctor after doctor looked at my incorrect charts, I had a lot of unnecessary surgeries. This added new and just-as-erroneous diagnoses and prognoses into the mix, and the untruth became stronger and stronger until there came a time in my adulthood that I thought that I was even more disabled than that. I began thinking that I was “slow” and the very thought, and the act of saying it out loud gave me reason to expect less of myself.
I gave that part of it up a long time ago, but on December 15 of last year, when that doctor told me that I was not in fact born with spina bifida, that I was not in fact paralyzed from the waist down, that I was not physically paralyzed at all, things began to change. I began to feel things in my lower extremeties, to a point where I began to get out of my wheelchair. I recently got a new wheelchair, but I have been using it less and less. I still use it at work, and I use it to go out and get the mail, but because I have used it less I am not very good at it. In fact one day I rolled it over off a step and crashed my chair scratching the wheel badly.
I use it while living my civic life because I haven’t wanted anyone knowing that anything had changed. But I have been getting out a lot, anonymously, out of town, just doing things I have never gotten to do before. It’s okay. But the only person I have told is my wife. Not even my parents, brother or sister know yet. For that I am sorry. But I worried about how I’d be treated having been “healed”. So I just went on living and observing life as a disabled man, but as a non-disabled man. But I think I am ready to move on and let the world know the power of thought and how it has affected my life.
That’s why it’s now “Footprintz” instead of “Treadmarkz” and Happy April Fools Day, by the way.
But seriously. Just think about what I said. Think about all the things we tell ourselves and believe. Just imagine.
For me, being in a wheelchair, sometimes it really is great to have a non-disabled person rebuke me for my actions if they are out of line, rather than just assuming that I am mentally challenged and let me off the hook. Let me give you an example from yesterday:
The office building at my apartment complex is under construction and has temporarily relocated downstairs. For weeks there have been signs up saying “Sorry about the inconvenience”. The mailboxes have remained accessible on the main floor throughout the construction.Yesterday however, I went there and the sign said “Office will be closed today sorry about the inconvenience.” I wondered if this sign meant the main floor or the relocated downstairs office. But when I checked the door to the main floor, even though there was construction going on in the back, it was not locked, so I thought OK it’s open, and went in and got my mail. As I was leaving, one of the workers approached me, and in a real gruff, aggressive voice said “Is there not a sign on the door that said “Do Not Enter”? As I attempted to answer, he interrupted me, with “Huh? Didn’t you see it? I’ll bet you did, didn’t you?”
He then pointed to the floor which had just been cemented or something, and was still drying. I apologized repeatedly but I told the man, quite reasonably I thought, that the sign did not, in fact, say “Do Not Enter”, and again tried to explain that I thought it referred to the office as it was current downstairs location.
Now, I don’t really think I deserved this type of rebuke from this man, as his sign clearly should have stated “Do Not Enter” or at LEAST “Wet Floor”. And I don’t understand why the door wasn’t blocked off in some way if not locked. I don’t think I got the chastising I got BECAUSE of my disability. In fact, it was great that he would go off on me, never taking my disability into consideration.
I forgive him because I understand they’d probably worked on that floor for a while only to have me come along and muck it up. Though I did not destroy it by any means, I should have questioned the signs further, I suppose.
Below I will leave a link to a story about a great effort of the Rotary International and the Gates Foundation to finally make polio a thing of the past. Yes polio has been, for the most part, a non-issue in U.S. for decades, but there are still people here living with its disabling after-effects, and there are still just four countries where it is still newly afflicting people, thankfully now in minimal numbers.
Before you write this off as another lost cause, Here is a chance to read a story with stats on specifically how much progress is being made. This is impressive when you compare it to, for example, the standstill we seem to be at with AIDS in Africa.
If the link expires, please contact a nearby Rotary or the (Bill) Gates Foundation for further information.
If you are like me and you have a disability, you likely feel empathetic toward anyone who has a disability which is more difficult to bear than your own. Whether you have a disability, know someone who does, or are just randomly coming across this story, I urge you to read the story and pitch in to the effort and tell a friend.
The only way we can get rid of terrible things like polio is by showing love, and choosing to help those who are afflicted, whom we don’t know, have never met, and probably never will.
I received this video by email the other day (Thanks Mom) and it is a perfect example of why the spirit is much more important than the body that we are born into.
The video is of a man born with no arms or legs but a good reminder to anyone who’s ever said “I can’t” before. He is also an example to the world on how to be untouchable in your determination to persevere.
Give it a look HERE
If you watched the coverage of the Transfer of Power today between Bush/Cheney and Obama/Biden, then you probably saw Dick Cheney in a wheelchair. Apparently while he and his wife were moving out of their home, he picked up a heavy load and his back gave out.
I wish him a speedy recovery.
But given the fact that he and Bush leave Washington with our nation in worse shape than it has been since my great-grandfather was my age, crippled by impotent, self-serving leadership, (not helped by poor judgment) Cheney’s appearance in a wheelchair was, to me, a strong reminder that the Law of Karma watches over us all.
HOWEVER: Right after I wrote the posting above, I stumbled upon THIS cartoon, and it made me think. Not long after that, I was watching more coverage of the Inauguration and I heard the news of Senator Ted Kennedy’s medical emergency, after which he left the Inaugural luncheon for President Obama on a stretcher. This made me further think. It was a reminder that I don’t really know anything. We need those every once in a while.
Having said that, it’s a new dawn, people. One Love.
Well, unfortunately the appalling case of Brian Sterner did not teach us anything about how to treat each other, especially those who need their fellow man most to look after them.
Click HERE to read the story of Ed Rivera, a man with cerebral palsy, who has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, who was left on a bus in freezing temperatures over night. What’s worse, the driver admitted to knowing that she was leaving him there! Now who’s got the mental capacity of a two-year-old?
But hey, she left him there so she would not be late for church. Hmm. You know, this reminds me of something I recently read in a book about meditation. In a chapter which focused on religious meditation, the author discussed the relation between faith/prayer and good works/deeds. I forget the wording exactly but the point was that if one is deeply engrossed in meditating on God, and during this meditation he is disturbed by the sound of a fellow man in need of help, he stops the meditation and helps the man.
Just a little tip for the bus driver.