Hi! My name is Chloe Tear, I am 20 years old and I'm a university student studying Psychology and Child Development. I have mild cerebral palsy which affects the left side of my body as a result of being born 8 weeks early and weighing 3lb 3oz, as well as epilepsy, chronic pain and impaired vision. During this blog, I will talk about what it’s like being a student who may face a few more hurdles than most. I hope you're able to follow my educational journey because anything can happen!
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Hi, hey, hello + apologies!!!!
It's been ages since I have chance to put pen to paper so to speak (but in this day and age, it's more finger to screen). Am I the only one that misses that. Misses the true authenticity of a hand written letter- anyway, that's off topic!
The reason for the lack of posting will be down to the fact that I am very very busy- to say the least. AS level exams are quickly approaching with students and teachers rushing around to meet the dreaded coursework deadlines and finishing of the last things on the specification. So realisticly we would be able to sit the exam. So yes, exam season is the reason for my absence. Something which will be over in a few weeks *let the celebrations commence!*. However, enough about exams already!!!! *throws coursework and revision out of the window*, this is a blog, a nice safe enviroment (or something like that). Over the last 3 weeks I have managed to get through 3 casts- also known as serial casting.
For those of you who are unaware of what serial casting is, here goes. Basically the position that my left foot is in makes it hard to walk on, due to the muscles being far too tight. Therefore through various serial casts it is able to be forced into the right position which stretches all of the muscles and tendons. Unfortunately this hasn't been the most pleasant experience of my life. Making the sleepless nights even more sleepless and pain more controling. At times I just wanted it off. At times I wasn't too bothered if it would mean that I didn't get the results. To be honest it wasn't the best timing, just before exams- but no time is the right time.
As you probably gathered I did stick with it, I got through the 3 weeks. Those 3 weeks scarily flew by as well! Wednesday was the day when the cast was changed, Wednesday became the best and the best and the worst day. Finally getting the cast off, to be faced with another one in a matter of minutes. I'd also like to thank all of my family and friends who supported me throughout and kept me focused on the end goal when it seemed miles and miles away. Also getting through a week and a half of school with everyone convinced that I had broken my leg. With my balance and coordination that doesn't seem too unlikely!
Throughout casting I did develop a new way of walking, also known as stomping. Something I would say exceeds walking. I am very happy to say that I did reach the results that I had hoped for, with my foot meeting the number of 90 degrees- for the first time ever! 90 degrees has always been the aim which sat on the horizon for 17 years, the number all physio's hope to reach.
People often say- with the right pair of shoes you can take over the world. Some may class a pair of sparkly 8 inch stilettos as the 'right' pair, but for me that's different (of course). The right pair for me seems to be a black pair of school brogues, built up left sole, with a zebra print AFO to hold things into place. I can live with that. First I've just got to add to this way of walking (after casting) which will take some time. I'm still feeling like Bambi on ice or an excitable toddler wanting to get to the ultimate goal of sweets.
Unfortunately health and social coursework won't do itself, so I better be off!
In order for me to complete university away from home, and get to lectures in one piece- a PA (Personal Assistant) has been vital in me being able to be as independent as possible. I have actually enjoyed the process of hiring PA’s despite it being a little stressful to find one in time. Yet, when looking for a PA, it had to be someone who could drive as well as being capable to suit all of my needs. By having a car it would mean that I could get to hospital appointments easily. However, when advertising it was often extremely hard to find someone who was fairly young (not that this is essential!), was capable of the job, could drive and was okay being with people aged 19- 21 all of the time. After 30+ applications it became clear this was all quite a big ask! Who knows my full medical history? Who would have experience in Cerebral Palsy, seizures and visual impairment? Who can drive and wouldn’t mind being with young adults all day? Who would actually quite enjoy lectures? There is a…
Dear Chloe, You're currently 7 years old and are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. This journey will show you the world in a completely new light, it will show you things you never thought you would see, and allow you to meet people you might otherwise have never met. Unfortunately, this journey is tough, it will test you past the limits you thought you had and cause so much frustration and upset- but you are capable of overcoming this, you can find tremendous joy in every aspect of your life. You have just been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy. You have never heard of this, and have no idea what it is! But don't worry- mum's done lots of research and has your back! These hospital appointments may seem strange, and unnecessary as you don't think anything is wrong, but it will all become clear with time. Ever wondered why you walk on your toes and fall over more than your friends? Ever wondered why you can't hop, struggle with maths and feel tired? Or hav…
Like any new mobility aid, the cane was going to take some time to get used to. I may not have liked the idea of it all to begin with, but I felt the same when I started using a wheelchair and a walking stick- there seems to be a theme here! Yet, this felt slightly different, entering a new medical world of visual impairment.
After being registered as partially sighted in February, it was advised that using a white cane would be beneficial due to how my visual impairment affects my sight. I am not going to lie, this was a shock. If you have read previous posts on this then you'll know that I did decide to learn how to use a long cane in an attempt to stop myself tripping up over things, but I was quite apprehensive about using a long cane.
To begin with I did find it helpful during the training sessions and saw how it could be really useful for myself, but using it was another thing all together. The first time I used my white cane was when I was looking in a few shops with my fam…