Tuesday, April 7, 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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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sometimes you are tempted to give people the finger

Well here we go again yet another posting about the issues of stupidity I face when ever I use accessible parking. Today I was parked in an accessible parking space which I am legally allowed to do with my parking permit. At the time I had my windows down and all of  a sudden a car passing behind me stopped. Next thing you know the driver starts yelling out do you have an accessible parking permit? At first I ignored them because I don't think stupid questions even deserve an answer. Then they yelled out another time so I gave them the finger, ok I really just gave them the thumbs up. This was to signify yes - I have an accessible parking permit. My response seemed to leave them confused so they asked again for the third time. Eventually they clued in and drove off and parked in another accessible parking space. 

Like many of you who may have faced this type of ignorance before I can no longer hold back when it comes to this kind of stupidity. You see these types of people see a young person and automatically assume that you can't possibly have a disability. The fact that they would even assume I would park illegally in an accessible parking space infuriates me. How nice of them to see me and automatically assume that I must be an inconsiderate jerk. To be honest there stupidity shocked me especially when I happened to be parked at a facility that police officer frequent on a regular basis. In fact at the time there were actually five police cars parked pretty much directly behind me. Each officer saw me parked there on their way into the building and they didn't say a word. Now I know what some of you might be thinking and no I wasn't at a doughnut shop. So after these people parked in another accessible space an older man exited the vehicle from the passenger side and walked briskly into building. So a few minutes later what do I see? A security guard walking towards my car, looking directly my way. I guess at one point he must have seen that I had a valid permit displayed so he quickly made his way back inside. It's obvious to me that the man who exited the car earlier must have complained. I have to tell you I am fed up with the stupidity of other accessible parking permit holders. The second some of them can't find an open space they seem to be surprised that their not the only one with some form of disability. Believe me there have been many times when I haven't been able to find a space and I dealt with it by parking somewhere else. Now sure when it comes to those in accessible vans that's not an option. But today that wasn't the case. They were driving a car just like me.

After today I think people like this need to understand that accessible parking permits don't give you the right to question and harass people who find accessible parking before you do. You have to understand there are only a limited number of spaces available. If you can't find one that is no one's problem but your own. In the end do us all a favor and mind your business and move along.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

My dream of becoming a professional race car driver

When it comes to living with Muscular Dystrophy a genetic muscle disorder that causes my muscle to weaken, the reality is that it has kept me from being able to pursue one of my biggest dreams. That dream was to become a professional race car driver. You see when I was a child and even in my teens I grew up around Motorsports. From a very young age I always dreamed about becoming a race car driver. I still remember as a child watching the Daytona 500 with my dad when they first started broadcasting the races on TV in the early 80's. This was long before my diagnosis of Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. As I grew older and after my diagnosis it became apparent to me that racing is actually a very physically demanding sport to participate in. I learned this early after taking my brothers racing go kart (pictured above) for a test drive. At the time my dad put together a race team for my brother and I joined them on many occasions travelling to race tracks across the province of Ontario. Eventually the racing stopped but my love for Motorsports remained very strong. Growing up one of my favorite racing series was the Trans Am Series and the Cart Series when they ran strictly road course and street circuit races.

A look at my very first Go Kart Race

In my teens I remember one time as a teenager when I joined my churches youth group on a trip to an amusement park in New York known as Darien Lake. While walking through the park to my surprise mixed in with the roller coasters was a small go kart racing track. Thankfully my friends agreed that we needed to take advantage of this opportunity and have a little race. After waiting in line for a short period of time the gate opened, at that point everyone rushed to the go karts at the front of the pack. Unable to run due to the Muscular Dystrophy this resulted in me ending up with the very last go kart on the starting grid. This meant I was starting dead last in 10th place - so it was time to focus. Once the race started I quickly made my way through traffic. At one point I noticed just ahead of me that my friend was being held up by two other drivers. Next thing I know I am on his bumper. All of a sudden a gap opened up and like Ayrton Senna I went for it and was actually able to pass my friend and the other two drivers on the same lap. At that point I was catching the top three but the next thing I knew our time on track was up. If only we had just a few more laps I might have been up there challenging for the lead. During the race I was so focused on driving that I didn't realize how hard I was pushing the gas pedal. When it came time to get out of the go kart I stood up and my right leg and foot were so weak for a short time I could barely stand or walk. Although I enjoyed myself on the track it quickly reminded that my dream of becoming a race driver would never become a reality. Thankfully like most things in my life I was able to accept it and move on. Now my love for racing and wanting to be a professional race driver is fulfilled by playing racing video games. But still to this day I feel like being a race car driver is something I was born to do. Unfortunately Muscular Dystrophy is the one thing that kept me from being able to pursue this dream, as my arms would quickly tire from all the shifting and foot work involved with auto racing. To those who may believe that racing isn't a physically demanding sport there are millions of race fans like me that would have to disagree. 

Mosport International Raceway & the beginning of Laps 4 MD

As I child I feel very fortunate to have grown up around Motosports. I really enjoyed being able to attend races with my dad at a local race track many still refer to as Mosport. Being able to get up and close with racing was simply an amazing experience. I guess it won't surprise you when I tell you that it always bothered me that I couldn't pursue my dream of becoming a race driver. So over the years I would do my best to try and find ways that I could be involved in racing, even if it was in a small way. After years of being a Jeff Gordon fan I started to think wouldn't it be amazing if he could donate $1 from every lap he leads to help support those living with Muscular Dystrophy. This was when I came up with the idea for Laps for Muscular Dystrophy. Now in 2015 we have 7 racers donating $1 from every lap they lead supporting Muscular Dystrophy Canada. So now I can accept the fact that my dream of becoming a race car driver never came true. As it truly feels great to be working with some of Canada's top up and coming race drivers. As you can see even though I was unable to pursue my dream of becoming a race car driver I found a new and very unique way to be involved in Motorsports. Sure my life without Muscular Dystrophy would have been very different, but then I would have never come up with the idea of Laps for MD. I now believe that sometimes the challenges we face in life can lead to amazing opportunities. It caused me to become very creative. I guess sometimes we have to be creative when it comes to finding new ways of being involved in the things we love. In my situation even though I couldn't pursue my dream, I was able to come up with a new way to be involved in Motorsports - just in a different way.

Please visit Laps 4 MD online by clicking on the image below!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dealing with Anxiety & Living with Muscular Dystrophy Part 2

In a day and age when information on any subject is always a few key strokes away I believe we need to be careful. If we continually spend our time focusing on the negative things that can happen due to our conditions it can leave us in a state of worry. This can also have a negative impact on our health, sure its ok to be aware of what might lie ahead but it shouldn't keep us up all night or keep us from enjoying our lives. After my experience with anxiety related to me being overly concerned about my condition I now believe we should limit our time focusing on the negative parts of living with Muscular Dystrophy. In my situation my main concern revolved around the possibility of heart related issues and living with MD. What didn't help me was seeing Facebook postings about other people having issues related to their hearts. Seeing this automatically had me jumping to the conclusion that the same thing was going to happen to me. Eventually this led to issues with anxiety which started affecting my sleep this wasn't a good mix as this allowed me to get stressed out more easily. Being overly concerned one day actually led to an early morning trip to my local emergency room. I felt as if my heart was racing plus I was experiencing a bit of chest pain. Long story short I had a chest x-ray done then some blood work as well and when the result were in they said every thing was perfectly fine. That same day an appointment was set up with a heart specialist who I would see in just a few weeks. They completed an echo-cardiogram and I was also required to wear a heart monitor for a 48 hour period of time. Just like at the hospital when the results were in everything was perfectly fine. So as you can see I allowed the things I was reading online to affect me which eventually led to issues with anxiety. Which already isn't good for anyone's heart. Sure we can all admit that those of us living with Becker Muscular Dystrophy may face issues related to our hearts but everyone story is different. For all the people I have met who have heart related issues I have to remind myself of the large number of people living with BMD who do not.

My Advice for those living with BMD or any type of physical disability

My advice to everyone affected by Becker's Muscular Dystrophy or other conditions is to take it one day at a time, if you have concerns it is always best to speak with your doctor. If it takes a quick check up to set your mind at ease then great. I think we all have to be very thankful that we live in a day and time when many of the issues we may face can be treated and even easily corrected with medication. Another good thing is that thanks to the many Becker Muscular Dystrophy related group pages that exist is that we don't have to go through any of the challenges we might face on our own. Like I have said many times before we are all in this Together.

My Advice to parents of children living with BMD or other conditions

If there is any advice I would like to give to the parents of children living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy it's to follow your doctors advice. If they suggest regular check ups then great. As a child I had many check ups with specialist and they never found any issues of concern. To help ease your mind I am close to 40 years old and have no heart related issues. Now it is certainly ok to be a little concerned especially about your child, that is understandable I just don't want you to spend all your time in a constant state of worry. As we all know worry can also have negative affects on our health as well. In my situation being overly concerned led to issues with anxiety which I am currently still trying to over come. I certainly don't want any of you to have issues of dealing with issues of anxiety. Now if you find yourself becoming overly concerned it certainly doesn't hurt to speak with your family doctor. Again you are also not in this alone we all have to be grateful that we live in a time when help is never that far away.

In life all any of us can do is our best, we need to try and remain positive and relay any concerns we have to a specialist or family doctor. If I have learned anything through this experience it's that even though others may face certain issues, it doesn't necessarily mean that the same thing is going to happen to us. In the end all we can do is take things one day at a time.

To read part 1 of this posting please (Click Here)

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dealing with Anxiety & Living with Muscular Dystrophy Part 1

When it comes to living with a disability I am sure we can all agree that everyone story is different. There are some who say when diagnosed with a disability that we are supposed to just accept it, adapt and move on. But for some that is easier said than done. I have always been a firm believer that there is nothing wrong having difficulty coming to terms with any type of diagnosis. I guess when it comes to being diagnosed with any life altering condition how you deal with it depends on when you were given your diagnosis. It can also depend on the stage of progression and sure some might handle it a lot better than others. But for those who find it challenging you need to know that is ok as well. After all facing challenges at times can actually result in making us stronger emotionally. In life we all learn from our experiences good or bad and thankfully sometimes what we go through can be used to help others.

  When it comes to living with Muscular Dystrophy the main reason I share my story is not to bring attention to myself but to help others going through a similar situation. After years of sharing my story I fully understand that when some people face a diagnosis of any condition some might get angry, while others are able to accept it and go on living life. Both reactions are completely normal. In my situation of being diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 10 years old I was able to accept it just fine. I believe it simply because I was still a child. I wasn't old enough to fully understand what my diagnosis really meant. One thing that might have really helped is the fact that it was still the 80's and the internet wasn't something we had access to. So I wasn't able to look things up, I honestly believe that may have gone a long way in helped me accept my diagnosis. Looking back now at that time I was more focused on riding my bike and playing with friends. But now we live in a world where if we want to look something up within a few seconds we are able to learn everything we want to know about any given subject. This isn't always a good thing. At times I truly believe that sometimes there are benefits to not knowing that much information. Sometimes knowing too much can end up taking the joy out of life leaving you overly concerned and worried all the time - this is never a good thing. To be completely honest it wasn't until a few years ago when work related injury was blamed on my condition that I started looking into what it means to live with Muscular Dystrophy. I was 34 years old and at that time all I really knew was that it affected my muscles making me much weaker than others my age. To be completely honest after being diagnoses at age 10 I went on living my life, sure I knew I had certain limitations but never really focused on them. This means I went through my child hood not being overly concerned about my future and living with Muscular Dystrophy.

It was back in 2009 when I first started looking into my diagnosis and what it might mean for my future. It was around this same time since I was no longer working that I started sharing my story on the My Becker's Story blog. At that time I was truly all alone when it came to living with Muscular Dystrophy. I didn't know anyone else in my area or country who was also living with Muscular Dystrophy - especially the Becker's type. My first contact with some one else living with BMD was after someone who also had it left a comment on my blog. Shortly after this I joined Facebook then created the My Becker's Story Facebook page when I started meeting others who were affected as well. So from that day on my life truly changed. It was at this point when talking to others helped to make me aware of some of the issues I may one day face. At first it was great but to be honest eventually all the information I was reading started to concern me. Now not too much but it eventually lead to me speaking with my family doctor and it was at that time I started have yearly heart check up. This helped to ease my mind especially since every time I went for my appointments the result always came back as completely normal. So again this really helped to set my mind at ease since there were no issues. Things were going so well my cardiologist said to me that since he hadn't seen any changes over the last 4 years that he didn't believe that he needed to see me once a year anymore. To most people that would be great news but being able to have my heart checked every year was something I had grown used to. At first everything was fine but after reading a few stories on a few BMD related Facebook pages about heart related issues I became overly concerned. So a year passed by since my last check up and to me I started to think that I was over due for my annual heart check up. This is when I started to worry and get anxious about it being over a year since my last check up. Again the mistake I was making at that time was reading other peoples stories on Facebook thinking the same heart issues they were facing would happened to me. This is when I started to face issues with anxiety simple because I started allowing other people situations to influence my thoughts.

To be continued

You can now Read Part 2 by (Clicking Here)

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My personal story of living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy,

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