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Cerebral Palsy Message Board

Cerebral Palsy Board Index

New Member
Feb 7, 2013
Hi everyone,

I just found this forum and am very glad because there doesn't seem to be much on the Internet these days about mild CP. I am very shy and this isn't something I like to talk about, even to close friends and family. Every since I was a child I have tried to pretend like I am normal and just like everyone else, even though I know I am not.

I was born a premature blue baby and a twin. While my sister has respiratory problems, she is otherwise normal.

I was a little over two years old when I learned how to walk (my sister learned before me) and my parents noticed there was something off about my gait, so they took me to a doctor.

I have had multiple surgeries during my life, about every couple of years, mostly on the gastroc muscles or hamstrings. As kid I had surgeries both in my left and right legs, but now almost all of my problems come from the right. I had my last surgery my freshman year of college, because by then I stopped growing. I hope I won't have to have any more, though my doctor said I might when I get older.

Despite all my surgeries, I still have problems. I cannot run without pain and I don't exercise very often. When it gets cold, the muscles in my leg tighten and make it hard to walk. I usually don't wear flats because I find it easier to walk in shoes with a heel. I also don't often wear skirts, shorts, or short dresses because my right leg is atrophied and it makes me self-conscious.

I take baclofen as needed and every few months I have botox injections. They both help with the pain, but don't remove it completely. Over time I have learned to ignore it, except for times when the pain is so bad that I can't.

At the recommendation of my doctor, I am considering getting a calf implant to make my right leg look like my left. I know this won't cure my spasticity or anything, though. It's purely for vanity, since I'm a young woman who wants to look her best. It might seem conceited, I know. But my confidence has always been low and I have struggled for the past several years with anxiety and depression. My doctor and psychologist said this might help.

A lot of my low self-esteem comes from people in elementary and middle school asking me why I was different and making fun of the way I walk. Some of my surgeries I had during the school year, and it was embarrassing having to be pushed around in a wheelchair with two casts on my legs, not being able to run and play like everyone else. To avoid the embarrassment, I started having my procedures done in the summer and would tell my friends I was just on vacation for three months, while recovering at home.

I actually did not know that I had CP until about a year ago. I was looking up my symptoms when I finally found a page on Wikipedia about spastic diplegia. When I told my mom how similar it sounded to what I have, she finally told me that I was born with a mild form of CP. However, she said most doctors refused to diagnose it as such because my brain scans were perfectly normal.

My mother said the reason she didn't tell me that I had CP is because she didn't want me to feel negatively about myself or feel that I was disabled in any way. She wanted me to feel like a normal kid, without the stigma.

I did hippotherapy, swimming and regular therapy 3-5 times a week when I was younger, but my parents also let me try ballet, gymnastics, and karate (although I gave up my athletic dreams when I realized I could never do the splits, a cartwheel, or a high kick). My parents, siblings, and close friends treat me like everyone else and hardly notice my limp anymore.

While I have used wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches after surgeries, I don't need them at all in daily life. Besides being unbalanced and having to hold onto things every now and then for support, I live a normal life. I can drive, though my leg tends to cramp up on long rides. I graduate college this year and want to be a writer.

I am beyond thankful that I was raised in a loving home with parents who could afford my medical expenses. I know very few people with CP have that opportunity. My dad is a doctor and my parents have become good friends with my orthopedic surgeon. I owe my life to him. Without him I probably would not be able to walk and would not have the opportunities I have today.

Anyway, to make a very long story short, I was just wondering how many people experience a mild form of CP like I do. Most of the stuff I find about CP is pretty severe, but I just wanted to share my story and see what everyone else thinks!

Sorry for the long post!

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