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  • Kendall

Four Years with a Walker

There are many kinds of anniversaries and today is a complicated one for me. Today marks 4 years that I have been 100% dependent on my walker. For four years now, I have not been able to walk without holding onto someone or something. Part of me can’t believe it has only been four years because this foreign device that I despise so much has become as much a part of me as my arms and legs are a part of me. And while it is a shocking to realize that I’ve been disabled to the point of needing full-time assistance that long, the feeling of gratitude that I can still walk at all shocks me as well.

Being dependent on assistance has absolutely rocked my world. My walker has allowed me to continue living the life I want by granting me independence safely, and it has prevented many falls. It has helped do normal mom things like chores around the house, going to sporting events to cheer on my babies, and be involved as classroom helper, library helper, and more. It empowers me to feel brave and strong. It helps me raise awareness for FA and calls attention to accessibility weaknesses at different venues and stores.

It has also caused sadness and frustration. It has been the constant physical representation of my resentment that I have had to cling to for four years. For four years now, it has been a part of me, reminding me and everyone around me of everything I despise about my body and my disease. It breaks my heart and strengthens my resolve every single day.

I used to think of the walker as admitting defeat and becoming “disabled,” but I now see it as a necessity to life. Bottom line is that my walker helps me get out of bed and get from point A to point B. For that, I am grateful. I am aware that as my symptoms progress and I am no longer able to walk even with assistance, I will long for these days. And I know that that day is coming sooner rather than later, but that is life with a progressively degenerative neuromuscular disease. Adapt, adapt, and adapt again.

My walker is usually pushed just out of the frame in pictures, so I don’t have any recent ones. Here’s a photo of Brooks bumming a ride on my scooter at Disney this summer.

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I am a freelance columnist for Friedreich's Ataxia News. I was recently published on my column, My Darling Disability, and I wanted to share it here, too. You can either read it by following this link

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