Hi Everybody! My name is Stacey. I'm a Georgia, USA, peach. I am an academic. A political scientist to be exact and a blogger. I was born with cerebral palsy. My incredible mama contracted the bacteria Listeria while pregnant with me. It is found in undercooked meat and imported cheeses. Mom didn't eat a lot of meat, while pregnant because it made her nauseous. She did eat plenty of imported cheese though. At the time, women were not told that imported cheese was not a good idea if they were pregnant. A little over two months before full term, mom went into labor. The doctors tried to stop it, but her body was fighting to save itself by expelling me. We both almost died. In fact, the doctors told my parents to say goodbye to me.
I'm a fighter, clearly, and a literal miracle. I was diagnosed at a year old because I wasn't progressing like others my age. The diagnosis? Spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. All that means, essentially, is all four limbs are in on the party and I have too much muscle tone. My muscles get tight, and it can be extremely painful. I have toddler-like balance, get tired easily, and my right-hand doesn’t work all that well. For those reasons, I use a power wheelchair in my daily life a good bit of the time. I have been driving since age 6.
Why Franklin D Roosevelt is so Important for my Life
Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) is my favorite US President. People, when I tell them, assume that I’m a democrat. My love of FDR has nothing to do with politics, or my other job as a political scientist, at all. My parents have always sought ways to make me feel more comfortable and to get me to focus not on the bad days or physical limitations I live with. Their focus has always been and still is, getting me to understand my larger purpose and what I can do. The first visit was to do exactly what I just mentioned. I remember Dad pushing me around the grounds and exhibits (I didn’t have a power chair, yet). He stopped me right in front of FDR’s chair, on display.
Dad's Explanation of Why FDR is so Important for my Life
Dad let me absorb what I was seeing, and compare it to mine, as much as my extremely young mind had the capability to do. He asked if I understood why President Roosevelt was important, if I had questions, or if I wanted to talk about anything. I don’t remember what I said. I remember vividly what he said. “See that chair, Stace? A man who became president of our country sat in it. If he can do that, in that chair, you can be or do anything you want with your life. Yes, you have challenges, but you can overcome them, with help, he did."
Using FDR's Life as Inspiration for Mine
From that day forward, FDR was one of my heroes. I believe my love of FDR sparked my love of American Politics and history later in my life. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe seeds planted eventually grow. I earned multiple college degrees in Political Science, with honors, and am very much a nerd. I am surrounded by love as well. I am an only child by birth, but my best friends, who are all able-bodied have become my chosen family. My chosen brother, who I often refer to as my journey partner as well, said to me for years: “You should write a book about your life.” I was scared and stubborn. In September 2019 my dad said: “You should start a blog.”
Taking a Leap of Faith on Myself by Blogging
I started to think and pray about it. I also did lots of research on blogs. What I found was helpful and discouraging at once. Over and over: I read most blogs aren’t successful. I kept talking to God. The more I prayed: the more I knew I had to try. I knew what my blog was going to be about: my CP. It was a scary prospect. Blogging allows me to tell my story the way I want to. I have always been positive and have never seen my journey and story as something requiring sadness or pity. My story is at its core a story of triumph and thriving. That’s why I decided to name my blog what I did.
The Purpose of my Blog
Encouraging others to never give up is part of my life’s purpose. The goal is to reach as many people as possible, through my blog, fighting misconceptions and misinformation about CP along the way. In addition, making blog posts universal, whenever possible, to bring hope and encouragement to everyone struggling. This is just an overview of my story. I hope you’ll all come to check out my blog’s website at https:// thrivingwithcerebralpalsy.com or follow the blog on social media. Thanks for reading!