Columns

How My Service Dog Helps Break Social Barriers

For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram and see my absurd collection of pictures of my dogs, I have two retrievers named Wish and Vince. Vince, or Vince Charming as he’s affectionately called, is an English cream golden retriever and the family dog.

Henry Lets His Feelings Be Known

The title of this column is “Five Servings of Strength,” referring to the five members of our family. There’s me (Michael, the father), Lindsay (the mother), Ava (11), Henry (10), and Ella (8). We realized soon after Ella’s SMA diagnosis that it takes the whole family’s…

From Homebody to Road Warrior

I write a lot about defying the odds and being adventurous despite my disability. I’m not keen on being called an inspiration by people who don’t even know me, but nevertheless, I want to subvert the stereotype that every person in a wheelchair just sits…

When Vulnerability Is Harder Than Usual

I’ve always been a fan of vulnerability, I think because the concept is intrinsic to who I am as a person. I can’t leave the house without accepting vulnerability. To be seen like this, with my wheelchair and bony wrists and abdomen bloated from stomach breathing,…

What the Uphill Battle of Gaining Weight Feels Like

One of the most dreadful, ongoing battles I’ve experienced with my doctors in recent years is my inability to gain weight. At every appointment, during every procedure, and with every hospital stay come two words that, despite knowing they’re coming, still bring an awful sense of dread: “You’re…

Ella Helps Her Sister to Bake a Cake

Henry left the house in the evening to go to a friend’s house for a sleepover. As soon as her brother had departed, Ella began complaining that she never gets to do anything fun. Finding independent activities for Ella has proven to be a…

Dealing with My Pulmonary Function Tests

As a kid, there were two things I really couldn’t stand: math and pulmonary function tests (PFTs). I was too young and naive to have an angry fanboy mentality toward the “Star Wars” prequels. Math, however, didn’t coincide with my interests or adolescent…

Letting My Body Be a Body

Along with all my other health problems, I’ve been dealing with cystic acne since high school. At the time, I hoped it was nothing more than regular acne that would run its course and become a non-issue…