Disability Chat: Inclusive Language, Words vs. Actions, & Awareness

Hi, friends. I’ve started a series about the different aspects of my disability that I grapple with (My Disability Experience), but now I’m starting a series about social perceptions and other issues on disability. These posts may be controversial sometimes, especially ones that rebut certain attitudes of my disabled peers. I hope you’ll appreciate my down-to-earth perspective on things.

Continue reading “Disability Chat: Inclusive Language, Words vs. Actions, & Awareness”

FARA Philadelphia Symposium 2018–Pics & Reflections

Hi, friends. I have a disability called Friedreich’s Ataxia. FARA–Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance–is an organization of doctors, patients, scientists, pharmaceutical companies, patients’ friends and family, etc. that works to advocate, raise money, and search for treatments and a cure for FA. This is my fifth year attending the annual conference in Philadelphia. [Cover Photo Credit: Stephanie Magness, a FARA Ambassador]

Continue reading “FARA Philadelphia Symposium 2018–Pics & Reflections”

Bearing My Debilitating Cross With Joy

Hi, friends. When catching up with an old friend at a United Methodist event for Rise Against Hunger, my disability came up in conversation, and the friend said something like, “I’m really sorry you have to go through that.” I responded, “Sometimes, I think I’m too happy for a handicapped person.” We laughed about that, but I genuinely meant it. Continue reading “Bearing My Debilitating Cross With Joy”

Why & How the Physically Limited Should Maintain Leg & Hip Muscles

Hi, friends. For those who struggle with standing, balancing, or walking due to illness and/or old age, daily minutiae becomes a huge burden once the leg and hip muscles atrophy. Using the toilet, taking a shower, simply getting from point A to point B–every little obstacle is a mountain. While the progression of time or a disease may be unavoidable, maintaining the strength of leg and hip muscles eases the toil of the physically limited.

Below are two lists of some simple exercises for maintaining leg and hip strength: one for home, one for the gym. The lists generally progress from easiest to hardest (in my opinion). I’m not including rep counts or weights; you can judge those for yourself. I myself can’t do the last few on the gym list, but I threw them in since they’re available.

I have no professional background in exercise science. I am just a wheelchair user who has worked out with a trainer for several years.

At Home:

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  1. Sit in chair with feet on the ground. Take turns kicking legs up (going from 90 degrees/knee bent to 180 degrees/leg straight). Or take turns picking legs up as if marching in the chair. Use strap-on weights to increase difficulty level.
  2. Sit in chair. Stand up and sit back down in chair. Most physically limited people will need a grab bar or something else to hold in front of them. If using a bar, concentrate in your mind on squeezing your butt as you stand so you don’t rely too much on your arms.
  3. Stand at the bottom of stairs (with strong, stable rails). Put right foot on first stair. Use right leg to pull you up to the stair, then step back down on your left foot. Essentially, pretend you are about to go up the stairs but changed your mind and stepped back down.
  4. Stand up, squat, stand back up. As with #2, most physically limited people need a grab bar to do this.

At Gym:

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  1. Adductor & Abductor machine (targets inner & outer thighs)
  2. Hamstring machine (targets backs of thighs)
  3. Knee extension machine (targets fronts of thighs)
  4. Leg Press machine (mostly targets glutes and calves)
  5. Exercise Bike
  6. Treadmill
  7. StairMaster
  8. Elliptical

I can personally testify that exercise works wonders for the physically limited. I can feel the difference in the ease or difficulty of moving when I worked out recently vs. if I have to skip several days; I can only imagine how my disability (Friedreich’s Ataxia) would’ve progressed by this point if I hadn’t maintained my strength. Use and keep what the good Lord gave you!

Thanks for reading!

Adventures of a Girl in a Wheelchair & Children at Church

Hi, friends. My church is small and rural, but a few months back, a lady began attending with her granddaughters, aged 6 and 10. I hardly remember how it escalated to this point, but those girls love me, and I love them. I’ve experienced some joyful moments as I’ve spent time with them and realized a unique way that we bless each other. Continue reading “Adventures of a Girl in a Wheelchair & Children at Church”

Petty Pity Parties (as a Disabled Christian)

Hi, friends. Do you ever wallow in your own self-absorbed pity party? Do you ever get frustrated because life isn’t fair? Been there, done that.

Shoutout to T.R. Noble for encouraging Christian bloggers to be more open and honest. Reading this post a couple days after writing it makes me want to delete it because it’s so whiny! My ranting should prove to you that I’m far from flawless, but praise God for mercy. Continue reading “Petty Pity Parties (as a Disabled Christian)”

The Importance of Strength (Especially for the Physically Limited)

Hi, friends. Did you know that people with a deficiency in one of the five senses sometimes exhibit a higher acuteness with their other senses? Our bodies are hard-wired for survival, and generally, adaptation and compensation are necessary for survival. Exercise is healthy and beneficial for anyone, but exercise is a crucial component to adaptation/compensation in surviving life with physical limitations. Continue reading “The Importance of Strength (Especially for the Physically Limited)”

How I Met My Personal Trainer

Hi, friends. Does anyone else have a love-hate relationship with Timehop on Facebook? My memories are either photos that recall good times or cringey statuses/shares. Gah. Anyways, a status popped up in my memories from five years ago…”First day with a legit personal trainer. Hellz yeah.” Yes, I used to say “hellz.” It’s hard to believe I’ve worked out regularly and with professional assistance for five years now. Time flies! Continue reading “How I Met My Personal Trainer”