Most people are familiar with the phrase “from where I stand.” The person speaking generally follows it up by sharing their personal perspective on whatever situation is at hand. It is not uncommon for two people to view the same situation in different lights. A variety of things can influence the way people perceive their circumstances or those of other people. Personal experiences, religious beliefs, and the opinions of others are a few examples.
Another possible factor is a disability. Disabilities are often life-altering and impact even the smallest details of everyday life. When you live with one, it can’t help but affect your worldview.
I was born with a rare genetic condition called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1. It is a disease that impacts muscle growth and affects every aspect of my life. I use a power wheelchair, a ventilator, a feeding tube, and numerous machines to maintain my lung function. I have regular in-home nursing care and need help from family, friends, or caregivers to accomplish any task.
This lifestyle has been humbling, and has given me a great respect for even the simplest of things. Every day, I am grateful for the air I breathe, my clear voice, and the life some said I wouldn’t have. I have learned that there are many seemingly small things that are often taken for granted, like the ability to lift a fork or do the laundry, or showering in complete privacy.
I’ve also learned to see the good in situations that others might not. Life’s hardships have opened the door to new friendships and have given me opportunities to grow closer to loved ones and strengthen my faith.
Having a disability is certainly not the only thing that has shaped my perspective, but it is undoubtedly a major contributor. Without it, my view of the world could be far different; perhaps it would be better, or maybe it would be worse. Maybe it wouldn’t be much different at all. I’ll probably never know. But the way I see it, my disability is a blessing in disguise.
And that brings me back to where I started. I would love to tell you about what life looks like from where I stand. There’s just one problem with that: I can’t stand. I am, however, quite good at sitting. So, I hope you’ll pull up a chair and join me while I share my perspective from where I sit.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.