For two years I was able to hide my muscular dystrophy. Looking back now I'm not exactly sure why I didn't tell people from the start. Maybe I was in denial. I'm really not sure.
I went through pregnancy with my second child without anyone knowing. You can definitely hide how slow you're starting to move when you are nine months pregnant. I remember one of the first falls that I ever had. Olivia, my first daughter was a handful right from when she turned 13 months old and it has never left. I remember for a fact that it was 13 months because I assumed she was teething. We are still waiting for that tooth to come through. A huge concern with Olivia was what a runner she was. As soon as I let go of her hand, off she would go. Again, I was pregnant and starting to feel the weakness in my legs. This was not the best time for me. I'll give you a few examples. As I look back now, I laugh, but at the time mostly I cried. We would pull up to our house and if for some reason I was not able to hold on to her hand, off she would run. She would take off down the block. So here I am, pregnant and weak and I can only almost keep up to her. For the most part I wasn't able to catch her. So I would follow her all the way around the block until she would get distracted by something, and stop, or until we were all the way around and back to our house, where most of the time she would climb the stairs and go inside. To outsiders I'm sure it just looked like we were taking a walk around the block. Another time I was at Costco with my mom, who was riding in her wheelchair. We stopped to eat before we left the store. As soon as Olivia was done she hopped off of the bench and took off towards the door. I started to hurry after her leaving my mom and all of our groceries behind. My mom decided that she might be faster on her electric wheelchair than I was walking so she followed and soon had me passed. Even at full speed, my mom didn't catch that little stinker until she had run all the way to the end of the Costco parking lot.
These were the kind of scenarios that I was dealing with at the time of one of my first falls. I'm sure I had probably fallen before, but this is a very distinct memory that I have. I had been somewhere with my mom, my Aunt Paula, and Olivia. They were dropping us off at home and Olivia managed to escape first. Off she started running down the middle of the road. Again, I started to take off after her. I didn't get very far before I tripped on the clog that I was wearing and fell in the middle of the road. I remember just starting to cry. I learned two things from my fall that day. The first thing that I learned is that even if I am not hurt, when I fall, I will cry. Part of that is from frustration. Part of it may be because it never feels very good. But I think that one of the biggest reasons is that it is just the way my body responds. When you are not expecting something to happen and you fall I think my body is filled quickly with adrenaline. One of the ways that my body reacts to that situation is crying. The second thing that I was witness to is how sweet and kind my little Olivia is. As soon as I fell, that little 20 month old girl stopped in her tracks. She turned around and saw me on the ground and immediately got tears in her eyes and started walking back to me to make sure that I was okay. And still to this day, as much as some days I want to sell her on ebay, she is so helpful and worried about her mom.
I've learned so many things as I've gone through my struggles with this disease and I will share more of them as I continue to document my journey. This fall, was one of the first times that I felt that people may start to notice that something may be off. Other things were getting harder as well. Stairs were taking me a bit more time. As much as I tried to hurry up them and act like everything was fine, I was definitely slowing down. I also couldn't get up from chairs quite as easily. I waited for a few months after having Brigette. Like I said, I don't know why I waited so long. I have the best family and friends that I could ever ask for. As word started to go around that I suspected that I had muscular dystrophy, I was overwhelmed with love and support around me. I had two siblings on missions at the time. I still have the letters saved that they wrote me when they found out. The love that I share with my family is indescribable. The words of support that I received from them touched my heart so much. The love that I have felt from people around me as I've lived with muscular dystrophy is the single greatest blessing that has come from this disease and for that I will always be grateful.