Remember, remember the 5th November! So, tonight is of course Bonfire Night, and with all my friends being at university, I have nothing to do! Although I'm pretty much okay now, it's only in the past 6/7 years that I've actually been able to enjoy fireworks. My Cerebral Palsy makes me jump at everything and anything, it is actually hilarious at times the things that make me jump! So, of course, just a few years ago, when a firework went 'bang', Ellie went down! As I've got older, it's kind of died down a bit and I don't fear for my life every 5th November! But say if a random firework went off in like mid-June, that would most definitely make my jump. I suppose my Bonfire Nights used to be a bit miserable when I was younger - I couldn't even hold a sparkler without being a fire hazard to the whole neighbourhood! Without sounding like a health & safety officer, please do stay safe tonight and don't do any falling into bonfires or anything!
Last night I went to one of my best friend's birthday party and she also has Cerebral Palsy. We had such a great night at a local bar/bistro and the food was delicious! Now, every time I go out, I always feel a bit scruffy and a bit of a plonker because I can't wear heels. I always go past shop windows almost dribbling at the heels on display. I am very much a girly-girl and a take plenty of photos of me stood still in heels, but that's it - I don't move an inch otherwise I'd be head over heels quite literally! So last night, it was nice to know that I wasn't the only person sat there like 'I WANT HEEEEEEELS!'. Someone definitely needs to invent 'Ellie friendly heels' pretty damn quick!
I always thought that setting up a website like this would be probably worthwhile and a good thing to do, but I received an email last night that actually made my day. It was from a lovely Mum of 2 twins, one of which has Cerebral Palsy, who was originally from Yorkshire but now lives all the way in Australia! Her email reads, 'Reading your words gives me hope and courage for my baby daughter. Thank you, thank you, thank you xxxxx' and 'Thank you for putting yourself out there and doing this, you'll touch a lot of people's hearts and lives, myself being one of them.'. How lovely!! It is amazing to think that I am actually helping people, and not only teenagers with Cerebral Palsy, and not only in the UK! If I don't do anything else in my life, at least I can say that I tried to help someone else. This lovely mum, Cassie, is also going to be the guest blogger next week!
But for now, here is this week's guest blogger. Chris Smith from Essex is a Physio at KidsPhysio2U (http://www.kidsphysio2u.co.uk). Physio is something that is very important in the life of a child/teenager/adult with Cerebral Palsy. KidsPhysio2U are specialists in treating children and young people with neurological conditions, such as Cerebral Palsy. They work by preparing the optimal muscle tone, isometric muscle strengthening before building this into functional skills, i.e walking . Their aim is to achieve the highest possible physical and functional outcome for the child/young person. KidsPhysio2U are proud to offer first class Cerebral Palsy physiotherapy services from their Clinic in Colchester, Essex. They offer the latest in innovations such as THERASUIT & SPIDER THERAPY utilising the Universal Exercise Unit (Spider Cage). They also offer Bobath Therapy and Kinesiotape. So, if any of you live in the Essex area, be sure to see what they can offer you and go and have a look at their amazing work!
'A good definition of Cerebral Palsy is "A persistent but not unchanging disorder of movement and posture due to a injury in the brain in early life."
There are several other textbook definitions you can find on the internet but you will find very little to tell you what it is like to live with CP. That's what is so great about Ellie’s blog. In fact, I have met hundreds (maybe thousands) of children and young people with CP, yet I still have no idea what it is like to live with it day-to-day. Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes, so, as I am a man, just like giving birth, CP is something which I will never be able to experience. What I can tell you is that every single person I have met with CP is different, much in the same way that every other person without CP is different.
Everybody has individual characteristics, some of us can’t throw well and some of us can't count, some of us don't like touching sticky things. CP can impact on every part of brain functioning, from vision, cognition and movement, to emotional wellbeing and communication. So potentially causing more significant problems with brain functioning such as throwing, counting and grading sensory input (touching sticky things). As a physiotherapist, I typically see people that have difficulties with movement and these can be as mild as difficulty with hand writing, to not being able to roll, sit or stand independently.
A question that I often get asked about CP is ‘why don't the muscles work if it's the brain that's affected’? The answer isn't a straightforward one. Our brain learns how to move through a complex series of messages from and to the muscles. In CP these messages are often unclear and this results in a child learning to move abnormally. If we took a 20-year-old wheelchair bound patient and "fixed" the injured CP part of their brain they would not be able just get up and walk as they would still need to learn it the correct way.
I'm passionate about working with children and young people with CP and I really am one of those fortunate people who love going to work every day. Unlike an office job, for me no two days are the same, as no two people with CP are the same. Each family requires a completely different treatment program based on their needs and things they like doing. It's great to be able to put therapeutic activities in place and then see the success and achievement when families work hard at their goals. You can't cure CP but the brain can find new ways of learning things and that's what makes physiotherapy very effective for most children.
It would be very difficult for me to win the lottery as I don't play it but if I did win the first thing I did would not be quit my job, it would be hire some more physiotherapists to help me do more of my job! Physiotherapy is a very rewarding profession and treating people with CP is one of the things I enjoy the most.'