I start everyday with an extensive regimen of stretching and strengthening
exercises. I have to do this because I have spastic cerebral palsy. I
suffered brain damage at the the time of my birth and as a result, my
brain tells alot of my muscles to tighten up (all the time...even when
I'm asleep ). If I didn't work hard every day to stretch, my muscles
would shorten and deform my bones and contract my joints permanently.
I wouldn't be able to sit up straight in my wheelchair. I wouldn't be
able to use my arms to play my musical instruments. I wouldn't be
able to breath normally or swallow without choking.
Spasticity is a hard thing to deal with because it is everyday for the
rest of your life. It is forever. In addition to my exercises, I
use special foot braces to help keep my feet from curling up. I use hand
splints and elbow splints that help me to keep all those joints mobile.
Sometimes I get mad and don't want to do my exercises and Fae
says that's OK. She and I have games that we play and songs that we sing
that help make things easier for me. My staff have learned to do this
too. It's not so hard if I can sing while I do my exercises.
do my reciprocal movement exercises independently. What that means is
that I initiate the flexion in my right leg while keeping my left leg
straight. This is a very difficult ( near impossible ) feat for a person
who is a quadriplegic spastic like me. When I move my right
leg, my left leg naturally wants to do the exact same thing
at the exact same time. This turns out to be a real problem if you want
to walk. I walk with assistance and it took me years and years of hard
work to teach my body about reciprocal movement. Fae and I started
to work on this when I was really young and I finally was able to take
my first steps with help when I was twelve years old.
I never get discouraged about how long it takes to learn something. I
think that the most important thing is to always try.