Saturday, October 8, 2011

Running with Cerebral Palsy

My daughter is a runner. I love the way those words roll off the tongue - I get excited every time I say it. My daughter is a runner. I just want to pinch myself. My daughter is a runner.

I remember when Caitlin took her first stumbling little steps after her 2nd birthday. She looked like a drunken sailor and fell about every third step. We had to buy special (read expensive) shoes because her feet were so stiff and inflexible. She cracked a bone in her eye socket about 6 weeks after she started walking and if you have never taken a 2 yr old to the emergency room with a broken eye socket you don't truly know the meaning of third degree interrogation.

We were so busy taking each day as it came and trying to provide everything she needed to be the best she could be that we really didn't think too much about the future. Watching that stumbling, black-eyed little girl, I would never have believed that she would run with such a strong, balanced gait.

Every time she finishes a race I find myself wanting to tell everyone around that she has cerebral palsy. I want them to understand what she has overcome to even be on that field much less crossing the finish line. The pain she has endured, the hours of therapy, the braces, the torn hamstrings, the broken elbow and thumb, and her own fear that she wouldn't be able to do it.

And none of those people know any of that. All they see is another girl crossing the finish line -not the fastest but not the slowest. They have no idea how hard she has worked to be considered one of many. That it is a personal achievement for her to blend in so seamlessly as to remain unnoticed.

My daughter is an athlete. She is a runner who runs for the sheer love of running, she runs to feel normal, she runs to prove she can.


Jill Herrington said...

I loved seeing those pictures of Caitlin running CC. She makes it look so effortless. I can't even imagine the joy you and Jeff must feel when you see her do things you never dreamed she would. And then of course you also get to experience the normal teenage angst and attitude...haha.....I say "Bring it on!" Your kids are awesome! Miss you, but enjoy your FB posts....Jill

Butterfly said...

I have so many wonderful feelings about what you have written, yet my heart seems too full to put them into words.
We have both been blessed with courageous daughters.
I love you,

Tammy said...

I love your posts! I too have a daughter who's a runner! She also has CP. Heard all those same stories as she's grown. It's awesome to prove all those doctors' labels wrong isn't it. Be well and keep writing!!
Tammy in Memphis, TN

rebecca said...

I love your post! I too am a runner wirh cp. I ran in ha and college and nobody knew I had cp, they just thought i had really bad running form. I have been searching for orhers like me out there but they are very few and far between.

Anonymous said...

I have CP, and I've recently began jogging or running just to excercise, and tonight my cousin told me that I should stop running outside because of how hard it could be on my legs, jonts etc...... that really discouraged me...... i feel like it's okay for me to run with cp even if it's spastic diplegia...... how's your daughter holding up, and how severe is her cp?

MePlusMyThree said...

My daughters CP is very mild but she has spastic quadriplegia so her arms and legs are affected. She sees and orthopedist regularly to evaluate her legs (her hamstrings and achilles are the tightest)

He has encouraged her to run and while he constantly reminds her to gently stretch EVERY time she runs he says that it is very good for her legs and we have seen the proof of that.

She sleeps better, has less pain, and fewer headaches. We hear the same thing from friends and family members. She just listens and then runs anyway.