I’ve been fiercely independent and self-sufficient since I left my parents’ home 45 years ago.
Since being diagnosed in 2010, MS has chipped away at, and now, all but stolen both from me. Between partial paralysis of the right side of my body, loss of balance and MS fatigue, I can only walk using a walker. And even using my walker, walking a short distance totally saps my energy for hours. It’s not just my body. When that fatigue takes hold, even my thinking slows to a virtual crawl. That’s the most bitter pill of all. Before my illness, I earned a Master’s degree in clinical psychology, spurred by my dream of helping people. When aggressive MS struck, hard, and that type of therapy practice was no longer viable for me. But despite MS’s best, cruelest efforts, I’m NOT a quitter. I still want to be productive and to help others. And I’ve found a way that I can do it.
But as much as I HATE to ask, I need help to make it happen. I recently became certified in Equine Assisted Growth and Learning therapy. This type of rustic outdoors therapy is especially helpful for children and the disabled, like me. I have personally experienced its truly transformative power. If I can only get around better in the field. Quite literally. That absolutely requires using my electric mobility scooter. The problem? Transporting my big, heavy scooter from my home to the various equine therapy centers I could treat patients. With my partial paralysis, poor balance and diminished strength, I just can’t manage to get my scooter in and out of my beat-up 2004 van. And even when I have other people around who can help me with that part, my scooter just doesn’t sit well in my somewhat, uh, deformed van. (Attempted DIY conversion. Bad idea.) So, if I could only get a fully accessible van, it would be positively life-changing for me. Instead of being shut in too much of the time, I could get out and about much more … and get to make a positive difference in the lives of kids, disabled people, and anyone who could benefit, as I myself did, from equine therapy.