Friday, June 26, 2015

Welcome to the My Becker's Story blog!

Welcome to the My Becker's Story blog!

Join me as I share my Becker Muscular Dystrophy Story.

My name is Brad Miller I am a freelance journalist living with Becker Muscular Dystrophy, a condition which limits my ability to walk and gets progressively worse over time. I created the My Becker's Story blog in 2010 to share my story and to help raise awareness about Muscular Dystrophy. Along with sharing my story I also raise awareness about accessibility and the issues people with disabilities face. When it comes to the My Becker's Story blog even though the focus is on Becker's Muscular Dystrophy I also want to encourage those affected by other conditions even other forms of Muscular Dystrophy to join in as well. I truly believe when we join "Together" we can make a difference in our communities and raise even more awareness about Muscular Dystrophy and the issues people with disabilities face. The main focus behind the My Becker’s Story blog is to tell my story in hopes that it will somehow help those living with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, as well as their families and friends.

What people are saying about the My Becker's Story blog:

"Hi there, I also suffer from BMD. Just read the blog and the first half is like reading my personal history!!"

"I ran across your spot today, you sure have a lot on here I will have to check in a lot. I also have BMD and everything you say resonates deeply."

"I am also in my mid-30's with Becker's from the UK so thought i'd join and say hello! Struggling with all the same things as mentioned in the blog!"

"I am new to this group. Just want to say it is nice to meet people who understand."

 "I love your blog and it is nice to know there are others out there facing the same challenges as I do each and every day."

If you would like to read my personal story about growing up with Becker Muscular Dystrophy please click on the image below.

When it comes to living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy I intend to take what I have been through in my life and some how use it to help those going through a similar situation. When it comes down to it the main idea behind My Becker’s Story is to help those like me who are living with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, by creating a place for us to connect. I truly believe that we are in this "Together". And I believe that with every one’s help that together we can help raise awareness about Muscular Dystrophy around the world.

The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

Team Brad at the 2013 Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

 Along with sharing my story I also aim to make a difference in my community. Since 2010 my friends and family have joined "Team Brad" in support of my efforts to raise funds that benefit people like me who are living with Muscular Dystrophy. The Durham Region Walk supports Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s mission to enhance the lives of those affected by neuromuscular disorders. To learn more please (Click Here)

Thank you for visiting the My Becker's Story blog!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Becker's Story in New York City

Last weekend my wife and I went on a road trip to New York City. My wife has family that lives in the area so we stayed with them during the duration of our stay. To be honest this was a trip I never wanted to take as I was more than a little intimidated by the long drive ahead of us. So much so that I had my wife drive pretty much the entire trip. I drove for a short while but felt more comfortable and relaxed in the passenger seat. It sure was a long drive and actually at one point during our journey a car flew passed us and I noticed that their rear tire was shaking quite a bit. So I made my wife aware of this and suggested we slow down and let them get further ahead of us just in case. Less than 2 minutes later their rear tire blows out, thankfully we kept our distance and best of all they were able to safely pull their car to the side of the road. All that was left were pieces of their blown out tire spread all over the highway. This helped to add a little excitement to our road trip. Part of our journey included us driving on NY Route 17 which many refer to as the scenic route and we would have to agree. As this route runs along side the East Branch Delaware River which happens to be a very popular destination for fly fishing. This was proven by the many fishermen I saw knee deep in the water fly fishing. Something that was pretty cool to see. A bit later at one point in our journey we saw smoke rising behind some trees off in the distance and as we took the next curve in the highway we saw and old 1960's rear engine Volkswagen Karmann Ghia cabriolet fully engulfed in flames. Thankfully it looked like everyone was ok but it is always a shame to see classic cars go up in flames.
My view from the passenger seat on the way to New York City
Eventually we made our way closer into New York City, as we merged onto the I-87 where we were surprised at the speeds people drive at. Everyone seemed to be driving at least 20-30 MPH over the posted speed limit. At one point we were even passed by a Pepsi delivery truck which went by so fast it felt like we were sitting still. It didn't take that long and after a short while off in the distance we saw that we were approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge. We were both in awe by it's size especially the large sized beams that make up this bridge. After we crossed we had to pay our $5 toll and we were on our way. Now if you have ever visited New York you know its a city that loves charging you tolls for driving on their highways and bridges. After paying our toll a little further down the highway a black Dodge Charger passed us and he was weaving in and out of traffic at excessive speeds. He was driving like he stole it and we thought for sure we were gonna see him put his car in the wall at one point. Thankfully before that happened we had to exit the highway. All I have to say is I was very happy when we arrived at my wife's aunt and uncle's place that Saturday evening. There was no doubt we were now in the big city which involved us parking our car on the street. If there's one thing I hate it's parallel parking. Thankfully the spaces we found didn't involve this type of parking. As we only went out once during our stay it wasn't a problem at all. Though we did have to move our car a couple times for the street sweepers. It was a actually an interesting stay. To be honest I am not one who really enjoys the big city as I would much rather be somewhere with wide open spaces with green grass and trees. I guess you can say I've gone country. Now I have to admit that I did enjoy my time there as it was a great opportunity to take a break and relax. Best of all there we no worries about having to wash dishes or prepare a meal. It was also a really great time spent with my wife side of the family.

As far as any physical challenges when we arrived I did face a few. As many of you already know when it comes to living with Muscular Dystrophy it can be very difficult for us to climb stairs. That is why I tend to refer to them as my worst enemy. Now I can get up a few steps if there is a railing but since my wife's aunt and uncle live on the second floor it meant I had to climb a good amount of stairs. Unfortunately their stair case was pretty steep with about 20 steps to climb. So I had no other choice but to go up the stairs sitting on my rear end working my way up step by step. I had to do the same thing when going down as I didn't want to risk a fall if one of my legs gave out on me. At this point in my progression with MD stairs are becoming near impossible to climb. But thankfully this was the only challenge I faced while visiting New York. As with every trip in no time it was Wednesday morning which meant it was time for us to head back home. We spent a total of 5 days in New York. Now ahead of us was an 8 hours drive home and since my wife didn't get a good nights sleep she asked me to drive. The plan was for me to drive for a short while or until I became tired. As we started our journey we could see that the state troopers were out in full force. We actually saw 7 different drivers pulled over including a few that had passed us earlier in our drive, one guy even got pulled over twice. I was amazed with the amount of state troopers we saw during our journey. I guess if anything happened at least it meant we were safe. What I was most thankful for was the clear skies which made our drive so easy. Maybe this is what resulted in me being able to drive the entire 8 hours it took us to get home. Now we did make a few stops along the way which I am sure really helped. All I can say is that when we arrived home it felt great to be back plus my wife had the rest of the week off so we just took it easy. Then on Friday we took the fun bus to Niagara Falls for the day enjoying an amazing buffet at Fallsview Casino followed by an entertaining show called Spirit of the Dance. It was a long week but we both had a lot of fun.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Tips for those Still walking & living with Muscular Dystrophy

When it comes to living with Muscular Dystrophy and those of us who are still able to walk, the type of shoes we wear play a vital role in our ability to continue walking. As you may already know walking can be a bit of challenge and the shoes we wear need to give us the proper support we need. What I have learned over the years is that the lighter the shoe the better, as this will go a long way in reducing the physical effort it takes for us just to walk. Sure walking might still be a challenge but it definitely helps. 

It was just the other day while I was walking around at a local race track (during a race a few Laps 4 MD drivers were participating in) that I started to wonder why I felt so tired, so I decided to take a look at my shoes. It was at this point that I noticed that they were pretty worn out. It appears as if I drag my feet so part of the soles were worn away. I guess since they were no longer offering me the support I need they ended up making walking a lot more challenging resulting in muscle fatigue. I guess a part of the problem for those of us still walking is the rate at which we wear out our shoes. I am sure like me many people can't help but drag their feet when walking. This usually results in me having to replace my shoes every two years, when I probably should once a year. 

Sure one day we may eventually lose the ability to walk but while we still can there are a few things we can do. So my advice for those still walking is the next time you are finding it a bit more challenging to walk than usual start by checking out the condition of your shoes. In the end if you are still walking always do your best find the shoes that work best for you. Look for something light weight that gives you all the support you need.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The 2015 Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

The 2015 Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Planning Committee
On May 24th I joined the 2015 Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy. It was a great day spent together with family and friends. When it comes to living with Muscular Dystrophy there is truly nothing better than having the support of family and friends. It means so much to me that they are willing to take a few hours out of their Sunday afternoon to join me. It's one reason you will find a smile on my face as it truly is a special day. It was also great to join this years planning committee and I am thankful for all the volunteers that helped out on this day. What made the event even more special is the fact that Team Brad was able to wear the Laps 4 MD t-shirts which arrived just a few days before walk. I really hope everyone enjoys a few pics from the event found below.

Huge crowd walking along route of the Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy
Another huge crowd gathers at the Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy
Volunteers are always important to the success of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy
Wearing our Laps 4 MD T-Shirts at the 2015 Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy. If you want your very own Laps 4 MD shirt please visit
Muscle Movers club for those who raise over $500 in support of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy
I really have to thank all the local sponsor who donated prizes to this years walk. On behalf of the planning committee thank you for all the support!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

The opportunity of life time to meet up with other's with BMD

Steve Davies visiting from the UK, Sanjin & Brad Miller
When I first started sharing my story through the My Becker's Story blog I had no idea where it might take me. My main objective was to simply raise awareness but I never realized what doors it might open. After all I felt all alone like I was the only one in the world living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. Then I started the My Becker's Story Facebook page and to my surprise I started to meet others also living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. Eventually this led to the first opportunity of meeting with a fellow BMDer face to face. The first was Gord who happened to be one of the first people to make a comment on the My Becker's Story blog. To my surprise I learned that he actually lived about an hour away. Eventually we had a chance to meet up. This was during our opportunity to take a closer look at a first of it's kind factory built accessible vehicle known as the MV-1. It turned out to be a great day and it was great to meet face to face for the first time. It sure was a great experience as we both learned that we had a lot in common. This marked my first time ever meeting someone else living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. 
Brad Miller & Brad - Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy
Shortly after this thanks to the My Becker's Story Facebook page I was able to connected with another BMDer who is also named Brad. It's always fun when two people who share the same name get together. Because when someone says Brad you both say yes. Anyways when I learned he lived just over an hour away I knew it was only a matter of time before we met up. With Brad living so close one year we actually met up at the Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy. It was an amazing day having the opportunity to meet face to face. Again we learned we had a lot in common and really enjoyed meeting up on what turned out to be a great day supporting Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Eventually I was lucky enough to connect with someone locally by the name of Sanjin who only lives about 20 minutes away. When we both learned we lived this close to each other we knew we had to meet up. So we set up a meeting at a local Starbucks and just like every other meeting with fellow BMDer's we learned we had a lot in common. Sure many things related to living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy but other things as well - like our love for cars. Surprising to me many of us living with BMD have a passion for car an even racing. Many of us also share a great sense of humor. It was amazing meeting up with some one who lives locally as we now are good friends.    

Just recently about a week ago I had what I like to call the opportunity of a lifetime. It was the chance at meeting a fellow BMDer who was visiting from the United Kingdom by the name of Steve Davies. You see opportunities like this don't come along that often so we had to meet. At first we were going to meet up at Gord's for a BBQ but due to it being a long weekend and the kick off of the race season for Laps 4 MD drivers unfortunately I couldn't make it. Thankfully though we were able to meet up for lunch at a local restaurant. It turned out to be another great experience. Getting to meet Steve and his wife was amazing. The nicest people I have ever met and I know if they lived locally we would hang out a lot. As you can see in the picture found at the top of this posting Sanjin joined us and we all had a great time. Maybe one day I will have to consider visiting the UK, as I am sure it would be fun meeting with every one I know who lives there. 

So if you ever have a chance at meeting someone else living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy I say do it as you won't regret it. In the end it's nice to know we are not alone and that there are others out there who understand the issues we face.

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