I was recently invited by another Becker MD blogger, Dan, who thought it would be a great idea to swap questions with another person with Becker muscular dystrophy to help add some additional perspective and dive into some of the thoughts those of us with muscular dystrophy have. Dan offers his insights regularly on his blog, Life with Muscular Dystrophy, which you can follow on Twitter. Dan has Becker's, is currently using a wheelchair and is also doing some great things despite having MD. Thank you Dan for taking the time to answer these questions!
1. When it comes to the daily use of a wheelchair what was it like when you first starting using one, was it a difficult process adjusting to this new way of life?
Because I was having so much trouble walking and stressing out about it, the first day I used a wheelchair was a huge relief. The initial stresses of learning how to use the chair and navigate were so small compared to the stress of walking. I remember the first day I used the wheelchair I went out on the sidewalk and had to call a friend on my phone to "go along" for the ride because I was nervous. But shortly thereafter, it became second nature and was not difficult at all. It definitely improved my life beyond measure. Nowadays the only thing that makes me nervous is pushing open a glass door so sometimes I just time my entrance such that a walking person will just beat me to the door and then hold it open!
2. Pretend the universe split in two the moment you found out you had MD and there were now two of you living in parallel universes. The current you has muscular dystrophy and the other does not. What wouldthe "you" that didn't have MD be doing right now? Is there anything the real you has done/learned/experienced that your other "you" wouldnever have?
I think the other "me" would probably have had to learn life's lessons the hard way. I think I was a lot more selfish prior to having to really deal with muscular dystrophy. I can imagine that the other "me" would definitely have been more active in sports and other things like that but I can also imagine the other "me" getting into a lot of trouble.
3. What's a feeling or worry you have that you think you might never"get over" and why not?
I think because I have gotten over a lot of my worries, I know I will be able to adjust and cope with whatever challenges come my way. It wasn't always like this, however. As a teenager I thought that using a wheelchair would be unimaginably difficult but obviously that perspective has changed. So whenever I think about future concerns I remember there will likely be a way to "get over" that as well.
4. Do you have any other in-person (i.e. not online) friends with disabilities -- MD or otherwise? If so, what have you learned from them? If not, why?
I met a lot of people with disabilities when I started playing wheelchair tennis. Although we're still scattered all over the place I manage to keep in touch even though I'm not playing tournaments as much as before. I learned several things from them. First, that it's alright to ask for help. Second, that my disability could be much worse and I'd still be fine. Third, that disability doesn't have to matter. Of course there's more than that, but those are the big three.
5. Pretend you could be a member of any TV family (e.g. Cosbys, Simpsons, etc) which would you want to be a member of and why?
A lot of my favorite shows revolve more around a group of friends as"family" than actual family, so I'd have to say that being the 7th friend on "Friends" would probably be fun. In case any family members of mine are reading this, that doesn't mean I'd rather have my own friends as family instead!
Muscular Dystrophy Perspectives: Brad , A look at the progression of Dan’s mobility & Stephens Story: Unbreakable Faith