Still Standing on my Original Two Feet

August 29 – My Coma Day August 29, 2013, is the 40th anniversary of my Coma Day — the day I spent in a coma while my doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me.  Turned out it was Type 1 Diabetes, and they were able to bring me back to consciousness the next day.  Every year on that day, I celebrate another year of surviving and thriving in spite of all the dire predictions I was given by the medical community during my slow, painful progress back to a point where I could be released from hospital (I think it was a few months, but it was so long ago, and I was so young, I think I have skipped over that in my memory to a great degree).  In a nutshell, it went something like this: You will never:             live past 40             have kids             be able to participate in sports             be healthy             be normal             be able to manage a challenging job You will:.             have your feet and legs amputated             lose kidney function and need transplants and dialysis             have heart disease and multiple heart attacks             go blind             spend a lot of time in hospital             die young …and so on…. As this milestone [...] continue the story

The lasting effects of a temporary disability

By Margo Milne

Imagine you were born perfectly fit and able-bodied. As a teenager, you suddenly became severely physically disabled, but then you became able-bodied again. How would that affect your attitudes to disability and disabled people once you were an adult?

When writer and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli was 13, he came down with Guillain–Barré syndrome, a usually temporary condition that causes sudden paralysis, often triggered by infection. He was in hospital for 10 weeks, and it took him a year to learn to walk again.

Lucy Pask, who runs the website Great Aunt, also had Guillain–Barré syndrome, in her case at 14. After 2 weeks in a wheelchair, she recovered sufficiently to walk with a frame, and was back at school within 12 weeks.

Hardeep didn’t see himself as disabled and wasn’t aware of any discrimination. Lucy felt that, if anything, discrimination operated in her favour. She got lots of attention, long extensions on coursework deadlines, and was offered money by charities. People who had previously bullied her now protected her: “It seemed like in their minds; it was fine to bully me whilst I was ‘able bodied’ but whilst I was ‘disabled’ I was totally out of bounds, a person to [...] continue the story

Getting Back To ‘Normal’

By Sherry Abbott August 29, 2011

Recently, I’ve been revisiting the findings of our 2010 national survey of women with cancer, and thinking about how so much of what women told us mirrors my own experience. It got me to thinking about the things women with cancer want. Of course, there are things we all want — a self-clean bathroom, the perfect pair of jeans, great boots — but a cancer diagnosis changes everything and suddenly and somehow, for awhile anyway, many of the things we once wanted aren’t very important anymore.

In our survey, women told us that more than anything, they didn’t want the people around them to treat them differently just because they had cancer. I remember very well the overwhelming need for life to be as normal as possible (which was virtually impossible at best) during my cancer journey. For me, this meant getting up every morning and attempting to brush on touch of mood-lifting blush, pencil on some eyebrows, spritz on some of my favourite fragrance and, of course, put on my wig, just so I could start my day feeling a little more like myself. It wasn’t that I looked pretty, but somehow investing the time and [...] continue the story