magical blue sticker

I used to be pretty choosy about when I would use my Handicapped Sticker. I saved it for Brewers games and events that would require a ton of walking without it.

I like to think I’m too cool to use it. That’s for the people who need special help, so I save it for them. Yep, go ahead and roll your eyes at me.  

I have started using it more and more during the winter months, every step closer to the door cuts down on my chances of slipping on snow and ice and being more intimate with the pavement than I really desire.

My sticker expires February 2012.  

My husband likes to tease me every time the expiration dates come up.  We like to do a count on the number of days until I’m no longer disabled.  Two months left people, two months.

It really is silly. I have to go make a special doctor appointment and have them sign a form saying “yep, sure enough this girl still has Arthrogryposis”…it’s almost insulting.

Granted I see people all the time with them that make me wonder…I try not to judge but they don’t look all that disabled to me.  So I am grateful they do have some regulations behind this magical sticker.

Am I missing something to this whole process – is there a sticker that doesn’t expire? Have any good handicap parking stories to share? I have a few, one especially that makes me giggle but I’ll save that for another day.  I want to hear yours!

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Amazing AMCers: Meet Sheree Clampit

There are so many different types of AMC out there,  not one of us is the same. 

Just like you ordinary folk we all face different struggles and offer up a unique blend of abilities. Just in a way more obvious to the world. We can’t rob a gas station and hide. They would so find us. Rest easy Mom, I have no criminal activities planned for 2012.  {wink}

I have gotten the chance to meet some awesome girls with AMC through this blog and Facebook. I thought it would be fun to share some of their stories too.  Maybe they will more closely relate to your world.  Or maybe they will offer up a new perspective that touches us all. Regardless, these ladies are awesome and I’m super honored that they would humor my plea to share their story with the cyber world.

I sniffed out Sheree Clampit through a Google Alert setting.  The article grabbed my eye and I opened it up. I loved that her journey with AMC had led her to be finalist for the Pride of Australia Courage Medal. I thought she was cool. She had cute boots! So I found her on Facebook. We became cyber friends. Now, I’m giddy to share her story:

Sheree Jenifer Clampit don’t wear it out! I came into this world (Australia and I am an Australian Citizen), on 11/03/1994 at 6 Pound 7 with a rare disability called Arthrogryposis, Multiplex, Congenita. (Arthro-gry-posis), (Multi-plex), (Con-genita) OR lets make it easy and abbreviate it to AMC.

There is no simple definition that comes with this disability so I’ll do my best and tell you the meaning of the larger medical terms, AMC:  A rare congenital disorder that is characterized by multiple joint contractures and can include muscle weakness and Fibrosis.

Congenital or also known as Congenita, this means a physical abnormality that is present at birth.

A contracture is a permanent shortening of a muscle or joint.

Fibrosis is a word from Cystic fibrosis but I’m not 100% sure if people with AMC could get this, I do know that there is a chance that someone with AMC can be born with Cerebral palsy but luckily I wasn’t that severe.

I have the most common of Arthrogryposis where all of my joints are affected, such as; hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, feet and knees. My fingers are tight from short tendons so I can’t straighten most of them, my wrists are bent from the same thing, I have no muscle tissue in my elbows and only a slight bend in my knees, I also have short tendons in my toes.

Of course I can’t remember everything about myself as there is just so much to remember, I STILL even have to ask my mum what happened with some of my joints and why they aren’t working properly, you never stop learning about this disability there is always something that you could miss.

I have had 22 operations in my life, straightening my knees and turning them around the right way using long pieces of wire that went from my inner leg right to the other side. Having plaster from my waist down was to straighten my hips, as one of my hipbones was higher than the other. Releasing tendons in my ankles as I had clubbed feet.

Clubbed feet is when someone’s feet are turning outwards just like being bow legged but the opposite way. Loosening the tendons in my toes, fingers and wrists, my surgeon did put muscle tissue in my left elbow to make it bend, but it never worked out the way he wanted. I COULD go on for ages, I don’t know about you though but all this medical talk is boring me just a bit.

Shall we talk about family?

Ok well family is the most important as they helped me in anyway possible and they did a good job. My mum and dad were told that I’d never walk so at the age of 2 a surgeon was going to chuck me in a wheelchair and hope for the best (keep in mind that his brain capacity was nothing short off a gold fish). My mum and dad decided that they weren’t going to give up so they spent the next 3 years bending over helping me to walk and doing walking exercises with me, by the time it came around for me to start school I was able to walk.

Two years later my sister Natalie was born and has always been a cool sister! She treats me like she treats anyone else and that’s the way I like it.

About me?

Well I’d like to think I’m a nice person, caring (I care a little too much sometimes), I can be too generous as well, I apparently have a good sense of humor for e.g. You can get some disabled people/”normal” people who have an attitude like an asshole, rude and an ”its all about me” type thing, but I have fun picking on myself for a laugh, I don’t mind making a fool of myself, people say I have an ”I don’t care what people think of me” attitude because I really don’t. I love having fun, I hate moping around depressed. I’m not a massive shopper because of my height and shoe size, its not that fun, I’m 4”3 and a size 12 shoe in kids.

I do give myself big challenges, I just finished my year 11 and 12 at TAFE and got accepted to do Certificate IV in Youth Work. My view in life is that, don’t complain about what you don’t have when others are worse off than you.

I am who I am, Sheree Clampit and I will remain the original me!   

xoxo  

1mt1mt

Have you ever seen someone on the street or TV and knew if you met you’d be great friends? I’m pretty sure Lily from How I Met Your Mother would be my best friend.  Everything she says makes me laugh. Love her.

The other day I stumbled on YouTube clip from a guy reviewing the Fetterman crutches I lust over. You might have seen the link on my blog Facebook page.  His name is Josh Sundquist and I thought he was a funny, one-legged dude.  Naturally, this led me to Google him and I found that he is much more…a cancer survivor, author, Paralympic ski racer, motivational speaker and avid YouTuber.  He’s been featured on the back of Doritos bags nationwide. I love chips.  I’m confident this guy would be my best friend too.

His message is One more thing. One more time.  As I like to imagine, a fellow acronym lover, he coins it as 1mt1mt.  In his exact words, it means doing one more thing than what you feel like doing, because successful people do one more thing than what they want to do.  One more thing than what is considered normal or average, because an average effort gives you an average result.  One more thing than what the competition is willing to do, because sometimes the difference between 1st and 2nd place is just one more thing.  One more thing than what you expected or planned on doing, because the road to any worthwhile objective will always have a few unexpected speed bumps. One more thing than what is safe, easy or comfortable, because often what we want lies on the other side of what we fear.

Ahhh….I love it.

His YouTube channel is full of videos that crack me up and others that renewed my perspective on life.  I have considered stalking him until he signs my blog Guest Book, I’ll keep ya posted.  For now I hope you check him out too.  

Some of my favorite videos:

Dance Party

Crutch Review

No I didn’t lose my leg in Iraq

Just Don’t Fall – CNN Clip

Amputee Rap

Stupidest Question I’ve Ever Been Asked

random kindness

I never know who actually reads this blog. I know my mom does because she’s the type to print everything out (you know, the generation that likes a hardcopy of everything) and my friends do so I will stop bugging them.  Most of the time I write stuff for me or out of the hopes some girl or parent out there in cyberland will take away a good tip, perspective or maybe a giggle from my banter.

The other day someone pretty awesome appeared at my desk, I say this with respect – but to put it in bluntly, she’s the big dog in the office, a mountain mover, the big kahuna, who I want to be when I grow up!  

She wanted to let me know that they ordered me a new laptop computer for work.  She had read my airports post and wanted me to have a computer that didn’t kill my armpits when I travel for work and during the journey going home and back to the office every day. This totally took me by surprise and I almost cried.  Okay, so I actually teared up but I didn’t want to scare her so I got a grip.

If you need a laptop that is light to carry I recommend the Dell Latitude E4200.  It’s about 2lbs and so amazingly light and easy to hold.  At home we are Mac users and I have a MacAir.  That is an awesome armpit friendly computer too in case your heart belongs to Apple.

Random acts of kindness mean so much more than a pile of gifts this holiday season and this one totally touched me.  I hope to keep the spirit alive and find a way to touch another too.