Sharing Perspectives: Loving life with Brittle Bones


Kristin Victoria

My Disability

I was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, (OI), at birth when doctors noticed immediately that I was born with a fractured femur. 'OI' is more commonly known as a brittle bone condition, and X-rays showed that I had multiple fractures while still in the womb that were healing. Throughout my childhood, I broke so frequently that I lost count. My breaks mostly occurred in my femurs and ribs. By the time I was 18, I had metal rods in both femurs, both tibias, and down my spine to prevent curvature and fractures. As an adult, I've become stronger and I break much less. I've been a full-time manual wheelchair user since age 3 and I get around pretty well! Because of OI, I also have a moderate hearing loss in both ears. I received my first set of hearing aids when I entered the workforce and they have made a world of difference!

Disability pride

I attended an elementary school for kids with disabilities. During these early years, having many friends with a wide variety of disabilities, I learned that we all have strengths and weaknesses and that the world works really well when we come together and support each other with our unique strengths. I learned how to live with a disability because I saw others around me doing it too. Because of my disabled friends, I learned about wheelchair sports, accessible recreation programs, accessible transportation, the latest in wheelchair innovations and accessible technology. I learned from my disabled friends how to climb onto countertops, carry my books, push with my elbows, bump myself down curbs, and the list goes on. I learned that different and awkward can still work pretty darn well and is actually okay and normal. And with all this, I learned confidence, compassion, and humility. I developed a strong sense of self and sense of pride and I took this foundation with me when I entered my neighborhood high school of 2000 students, and as I went on to University and Grad School, interviews, dating and now in my career.

My career

Having had so much personal experience with orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists as a child, I expressed to my parents early on that these were career fields I was interested in. My parents always had the highest expectations of me. They saw my strenghts and knew there was much I could excel in, while also being realistic with things that might be challenging. They helped me realize that a career dealing with large, heavy limbs might have too many physical demands for my small body, and instead they encouraged me to find other, similar opportunities that I could really excel in. And so, I learned of speech-language pathology - still a helping profession and in the medical field, but without the same physical demands. In 2010 I completed a Master's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and I've now been working for over 8 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist with adults recoving from stroke, in a rehabilitation centre. I absolutely love the work I do and feel that my own experiences as a past patient allow me to build genuine rapport with those who are now my patients.

Meeting my husband

I married my husband in 2013 after meeting online in 2006. He doesn't see past my wheelchair or my disability because they are part of me; they are not all of who I am, just like no single feature is all of who I am, but my wheelchair and disability have undoubtedly shaped the person I am today, and my husband sees that, appreciates that and loves that. He loves all that is me.

Accessible travel

My husband and I share a passion for traveling. Trip planning has become a serious hobby for me. I've touched my wheels down in Japan, Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, England, Costa Rica and throughout much of the Carribean, Canada, and the USA. I enjoy spending my hours researching accessible vacations and am in the process of creating a blog to share my experiences. The beauty of this big wide world should be accessible to everyone and I want to help others find it! I am in the process of creating an accessible travel blog, so stay tuned!

Staying active

I got my driver's license when I was 18 and had my vehicle modified with hand controls, a big cushion so I could see over the steering wheel with a robotic arm. The robot arm sits in the trunk and extends out to the driver's side door, picks up my wheelchair, and puts it away in the trunk, all with a touch of a button! 

When I was 10 years old I joined a synchronized swimming team. I loved the water; my body was able to move freely with no dangerous impact. I loved the music, the dance, the creativity, and choreography. Synchronized swimming is such an adaptable sport. I was able to create a routine that was suited to my abilities. I also appreciated the health benefits. The cardio work-out, the stretching, muscle strengthening, and respiratory work-out were so good for my body. 

When I became engaged, my now husband and I signed up for ballroom dancing classes! We found an instructor who had experience teaching wheelchair ballroom dance and with his help we created a dance that we performed at our wedding. I am dedicated to keeping my body moving to the best of its ability!


Share this story to help change someone's life




Please provide your name to be displayed in the chat room.