31 Days of SMA: Mike Huddleston

31 Days of SMA: Mike Huddleston
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Day 5 of 31 Days of SMA Topic: Transitioning to a Wheelchair This is Mike Huddleston’s story: Hello! My name is Mike. I’m 57 years old and have SMA Type 3. I was diagnosed when I was 16, but knew I was having difficulties for a few years before that. My doctors told me I likely wouldn’t walk past the age of 40. I immediately adopted a commitment to exercise. At the time, there was little evidence about the benefits of exercise, but I knew I felt better when I did. I still exercise daily. As my condition progressed, I fought to maintain the ability to walk, doing so without assistance until I was in my 40s. At that time, I started using a cane to help my balance. I felt that I was somehow “beating SMA” if I continued walking. That said, I also started eliminating opportunities to attend events and social gatherings. I missed so many events in an effort to reduce risks or even the embarrassment of falling in front of people. I rationalized these decisions in so many ways, but ultimately, I was missing out on life. This stubbornness came at a cost, as walking became so laborious that I could only take about 10 steps before stopping to rest. My falls became more severe as I was losing the ability to brace for impact. This culminated with me falling in 2015, resulting in a shattered left tibia and tibia plateau. I made the difficult decision to start using a power wheelchair in order to reduce the chance of even more traumatic injury. My first time in the wheelchair, I sought an isolated location away from everyone. I sobbed for about 30 minutes, feeling I had somehow lost the battle against SMA. I could not have been more wrong! The wheelchair provided me a sense of safety and independence that I couldn’t have imagined. No longer was I avoiding attending events, often seeking opportunities for adventures that I had avoided for decades. If you are facing this difficult decision, please consider your safety, independence, and ultimate enjoyment that will be possible using a wheelchair. Life is too short to miss out on opportunities to spend time with those you love and who bring you joy. #SMAAwarenessMonth #SMAAwareness #31daysofsma2020

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Kevin Schaefer is a writer from Cary, North Carolina with SMA Type II. He studied English at NC State University with concentrations in film studies and creative writing, and since graduating he’s been focused on freelance journalism as well as writing comic book scripts. When he’s not writing or consuming excessive amounts of comic books and movies, he enjoys spending time with family and friends and considers himself blessed that they put up with his ramblings. He is the youngest of three and lives with his parents and dog Pandora. The dog gets the most attention.
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Kevin Schaefer is a writer from Cary, North Carolina with SMA Type II. He studied English at NC State University with concentrations in film studies and creative writing, and since graduating he’s been focused on freelance journalism as well as writing comic book scripts. When he’s not writing or consuming excessive amounts of comic books and movies, he enjoys spending time with family and friends and considers himself blessed that they put up with his ramblings. He is the youngest of three and lives with his parents and dog Pandora. The dog gets the most attention.
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