Hearing the words “You have a condition called…..” can be the most daunting moment of your life. Especially at a young age or even as a parent you fear the worst. Well I can tell you it’s not all doom and gloom. Local powerchair footballer, and journalism graduate Kai Gill gives his advice on how you can turn all this into a positive.
At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type 2D. This is a life-limiting muscle wasting condition that affects my shoulders and arms including my hips. I won’t lie I feared any future plans, even refusing to use a wheelchair when I needed too. But, by having a close network of family and friends I became really positive. The saying no-one can stop you from achieving your dreams is true, despite my disability I have achieved so much from graduating with a 2:1 from Hull School of Art & Design, to being named Digital Student of The Year 2016.
After, being diagnosed there were times when I was in denial to what I had heard and was being told. It got to the point were I refused to use my wheelchair because I was afraid what other people would think.
The fear knowing one day I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life scared the living day out of me. But from speaking to wheelchair users I managed to gain confidence to use my wheelchair. Also, it was from a strong family network off my parents and siblings that helped me overcome my fear. I’m extremely thankful of that as I fear where I would be now – full-time wheelchair user.
The most useful advice that I could give was talking to people, especially those who were diagnosed with the same or similar condition as myself. There are always people who you can speak to. I gained a lot of confidence and knowledge knowing that I wasn’t by myself. My parents were able to speak to other families who had experienced the same diagnosis.
There will come a time were you will accept your diagnosis and begin to plan your future. It may seem strange to change any future plans but they may not need changing entirely – there are different ways of doing any plans you have. As a wheelchair user I was concerned about going to university as I thought about equipment that I would need. After speaking to disabled graduates and a disability advisor I discovered services that I could use.
Socialising with individuals who have been through the diagnosis stage can really help you accept your condition. There are many benefits from this not only are you gaining confidence speaking to people about your diagnosis, you are able to share experiences of how to tackle obstacles that you may face. The power of voice can really put your mind at ease that you are not alone. There may be times were you want to research into your diagnosis but the internet can be very intimidating and make you panic more.
Set goals throughout your life that you want to achieve – We all have a wish list of adventures and tasks that we want to achieve from learning how to drive to graduating from university. Well you can do all of these if you put your mind to it and simply remember no one can stop you. There may be a way of doing it differently to those without a condition, but you can still achieve it.
So just remember you can achieve anything you want if you put your mind to it.