Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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 and I was diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 10, 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 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.
  

Laps for Muscular Dystrophy

Along with sharing my story I launched Laps for Muscular Dystrophy as a unique way to help raise awareness & funds. Growing up, I always hoped of one day becoming a race driver myself but due to the physical limitations of Muscular Dystrophy was unable to pursue this dream. My main objective with Laps 4 MD is to help make a difference and have a positive impact on the lives of others affected by Muscular Dystrophy. Laps 4 MD is a network of professional racers across Canada & the USA donating $1 from every lap they lead benefiting Muscular Dystrophy Canada and the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the USA. To learn more visit LAPS4MD.com

Thank you for visiting My Becker's Story!


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Accessible Parking: Dealing with people's Ignorance & Stupidity

Over the weekend my wife and I had to pick up a package which consisted of two large heavy boxes. When we arrived, I was thankful we were able to park in the one and only accessible parking space which was located directly beside the main entrance. When we arrived, I noticed a man and his wife coming out pushing a cart with their order and noticed him motioned to his wife to wait. At this point he went off to get his vehicle so they could load their small order. I guess his bright idea - instead of pushing the cart to his vehicle like everyone else - was to back his vehicle up into the accessible parking space to load their order. Now I am already parked in the accessible parking space at this point readying my car for the packages my wife went inside to get that we were going to have to load into our vehicle, when I hear someone saying; “You’re in my spot”, at first, I ignored this as I simply didn’t believe anyone would be saying this to me. Then he repeated himself and at this point I looked at him puzzled wondering how I am I in his space. So immediately I asked him; “do you have an accessible parking permit” He said; “No” I even went onto explain to him that I have a disability and that it was definitely not his space. 

But he kept insisting that I was in his space, at this point I simply ignored him and noticed he was purposely getting close to my vehicle as he was attempting to back his vehicle up beside mine - into and area marked clearly with large letters saying NO PARKING. At this point I opened the tailgate of my SUV forcing him to adjust the position of his vehicle as he ignorantly tried to park beside me in the no parking zone. As he was doing this I needed to go around to my side doors to put my rear seats down. As I was doing this he accused me of purposely doing it to make it harder for him to back his vehicle into the no parking zone. I responded by saying; “Your right as you’re the one backing into an area that say No parking” I proceeded to say; “I don’t need to give you any room as I need the extra space to open my doors.” explaining to him I have a disability. At this point I was getting quite angry and I guess he could see it on my face, resulting in him saying; “Okay, Okay” then he loaded his vehicle and went on his way.

It’s just amazing to me how many idiots and morons have no respect for people with disabilities - ignorantly treating accessible parking spaces as loading zones or a great place to drop passengers off. In this situation this guy was a total moron to think he had any right to my accessible parking space. Especially when he could have just pushed his cart through the parking lot to his car and load it from there like everyone else was doing. Its just amazes me how selfish some people can be, and those who have every right to use accessible parking shouldn’t have to deal with kind of stupidity.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Lack of Consideration still a Major Obstacle in the Winter Time

As you can see from the picture above there is currently no shortage of snow in my community. This has only helped to highlight the frustrations many of us with disabilities have when it comes to those who refuse to properly clear snow and ice from their properties. It’s as if some in our communities simply don’t know what to do with all the white stuff that mysteriously falls from the skies during the winter time. After all, anyone living in an area known to get its fair share of snow during the winter time should know exactly what to do whenever it arrives. Unfortunately, some tend to neglect simply techniques for removing snow and ice from their properties. All too often the simple and important task of using salt in winter to eliminate the formation of ice simply goes ignored. This ends up creating a major obstacle for many but especially for those living with a physical disability. Over the last few years it has become increasingly frustrating for many of us, especially when a large majority of properties in our communities remain neglected during a time of year when property maintenance is so very important in allowing many of us to get around safely.

Recently, I was running a few errands and had to drop something off at a local government office - one which works specifically with clients who have physical disabilities. To my surprise when I arrived I noticed that their accessible parking spaces had not been properly cleared resulting in them being covered in ice. Not a good mix for anyone walking with a disability to be able to use these spaces safely. At first, I still decided to park their but as I tried to exit my car and my foot slipped I had no other choice but to retreat to my vehicle in order to avoid any possibility of suffering a nasty slip and fall. This is when I made the decision to move my vehicle to a safer place which meant parking my vehicle partially on the plazas walkway - the only place that had been properly maintained along with being fully salted. (As seen in the picture below)
The main thing that really frustrates me about this whole situation is that this could have been avoided if this plaza made an effort to properly maintain their accessible parking spaces as well. In the end when it comes to winter property maintenance everyone must start taking into consideration the needs of everyone including those of us living with physical disabilities. 

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Friday, June 16, 2017

The challenges of being a man with a physical disability

When it comes to slowly losing your muscle strength at times it can mean losing the ability to do many things others take for granted. Since I have lost a lot of strength in my arms over the years this has resulted in an inability to carry anything that is too heavy. Things many people can carry with ease such as a jug of milk or even a case of water. This means in many situations my wife ends up being the one carrying the heavy load. This is one of my biggest frustrations whenever we go grocery shopping as this can result in me looking like a jerk. Especially to those who are simple observers as they look at me and wonder why this man is making his wife carry everything that is heavy. As many in society expect the man to do all the heavy lifting. But I do understand that these people have no real clue about my physical limitations, as they see a man who may look perfectly fine in their eyes. Believe me at times I get the stares from total strangers looking me up and down as if they are judging me thinking there's no way this guy has a disability. This is just a part of living with a hidden disability and it has been something I have been dealing with since I was eighteen years old - so it's really nothing new. The truth is some people have a stereotypical view of what someone with a disability should look like and most days I don't fit that mold. So, when they see me not doing what is expected of a man especially when it comes to doing all the heavy lifting they might make the mistake of judging me and thinking I am lazy. I really can't blame them and sure it shouldn't bother me as to what people think as I already know that they simply don't understand.

 Still I do feel bad as I am unable to physically step up and help my wife and I hate the fact that she end's up doing all the heavy lifting. I am so thankful that she understands but to the untrained eye many people view me as a regular guy when they know nothing about my story. It's the same thing when total strangers give me dirty looks when they see me parking in an accessible parking space. Even other people with disabilities at times can be very ignorant to the fact that not every disability is visible. But they are not there when my leg gives out causing me fall or when I trip over a simple pebble on the ground, it's the main reason why I tend to walk with my head down looking for anything that may trip me up. At times it makes me look anti-social since I am always looking down. The facts are only those close to us at times can truly understand our physical limitations, but all too often total strangers make snap judgments simply because they don't know any better. They see the international sign for accessibility being someone in a wheelchair and automatically think that is what everyone with a disability looks like. The facts are ignorant people will always judge others and sometimes we make the mistake of caring what they think. Currently I am slowly becoming okay with other's seeing my wife carrying the things I find too heavy. If they look at me as a lesser man or think I am not a stand-up guy because of this, I don't let it bother me as I can't expect everyone to understand my situation. After all I can admit I may look like a tough guy who can carry my own weight but little do they know looks can be deceiving. In the end, it is truly unfortunate that in this day and age some people still have a stereotypical view of people with physical disabilities. 


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

How losing the ability to climb stairs has affected my life

When it comes to living with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy at some point in our progression losing the ability to climb stairs eventually becomes a reality. In recent years, my inability to climb stairs has been having a major impact on my life. Now when it comes to where I live if there isn’t an elevator in the building I have no other choice but to live on the first floor. Even though I may look perfectly fine and still have the ability to walk my leg muscles are so weak that climbing stairs is now near impossible. If I could afford to I would move into a more modern building with an elevator so I can live on whatever floor I choose. A place where my wife wouldn't have to go down two flights of stairs to access the laundry room. I actually miss the days of being able to help out my wife by doing a bit of laundry while she is at work. Even with my issues I still do my best to help out around the home after all sitting around all day doing nothing isn't really that good for your health.

  Challenges visiting family & friend's

 When it comes to visiting family, or friends my inability to climb stairs has created a few problems. Just recently someone we know bought a townhouse with the only bathroom being located on the second floor. The last time we were there I needed to use the bathroom so I went up the stairs on my rear end step by step, then going back down in the same way. After this I could barely walk as my leg’s felt like rubber as they kept wanting to give out on me. In the moment, I was really frustrated knowing when we visit next time I would not be able to use their bathroom. So, at this point in my progression with Muscular Dystrophy it is now affecting my ability to get together with friend’s and family. I really wish when it came to hanging out with friends that they could simply come to my place. Only problem is that my current apartment is simply to small and better suit to someone who is single. And as my condition worsens it feels as if my apartment is getting smaller by the day -  especially in our bathroom if you make the wrong move your knee will smash into the counter. I even
 have the bumps and bruises to prove it. But due to the high cost of rent in my community a move currently isn’t even an option.

 The Biggest Wake-up Call of my Life

 My worst experience came a few years ago, when my wife and I attended a Josh Groban concert. At the time, I was still in denial concerning the progression of my Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy and that night I paid for it dearly. That night my troubles all began when I went to stand up after three hours of sitting in a very small and tight space. It is truly unfortunate that at almost every concert venue the seating they offer is usually very tight leaving you with little to no room to stretch out your legs. I guess not being able to stretch my legs out resulted in my legs became so weak that I just couldn't get up. In that moment my legs had lost all their feeling and strength. This ended up creating an awkward situation as I had never experienced this before. It was as if my legs weren’t even there anymore. Thankfully after a few minutes I was able to crawl up the steps on my hands and knee’s and use the railing at the top to stand back up. It was more than a little embarrassing. This whole experience acted as a wake-up call. This is when I also realized that accessible seating would have made a huge difference. It was in that moment I knew that stairs where quickly becoming my worst enemy. Fast forward to today and I avoid stairs at any cost as a simple fall while using them could end very badly. In many cases in my situation a broken leg would more than likely end with me never being able to walk again. Now, as I continue to lose strength in my muscles I know overtime other challenges will come my way and I hope I am ready to face them. As of today, the reality is that stairs are now my worst enemy.


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