KEEPING IT REAL: Abigail’s Story, Part One

Fri 22 Sep 2023

KEEPING IT REAL: Abigail's Story, Part One

By Abigail Meyers*

Describe what it was like to grow up with cerebral palsy.
I have a mild form of cerebral palsy, and didn’t know I even had it until I was older! I always knew I saw a doctor and physical therapist, but my mom always told me we saw them because my joints were tight (which isn’t technically a lie). I don’t remember the exact age I found out it was specifically CP, but I was probably in late elementary school/early middle school. I also always knew I walked differently than other people and would trip over nothing at random times, and that stairs were my enemy. I stopped seeing my physical therapist sometime in elementary school and my main CP doctor when I was 16.

In school, people would make fun of me for walking slowly, and would call my tripping “cute.” It was definitely difficult to deal with being picked on, and I felt helpless — I was doing exercises to help strengthen my joints, and being picked on felt like one step forward and three steps back in terms of how I felt.
I also did theatre throughout school, and I was embarrassed to have to ask to modify dance routines and other direction to make it easier. But this helped in the long run — I learned how to advocate for myself and was able to live a pretty normal life.

What's your relationship with your cerebral palsy?
It was difficult to embrace my identity as someone with a disability, because I’ve gotten lower on the GMFCS over the years. I have a disability diagnosis because I have cerebral palsy, but I consider myself mostly able-bodied given how mild my condition is.

Of course, there are still things I struggle with — I need to always hold railings on stairs, have days where the pain is worse than others, and sometimes need to modify workouts. But overall, having a community has been amazing. A friend of mine who also has CP introduced me to CPARF and Faces of CP, and having her to talk to about anything has been so awesome. It helps having someone who really understands what I’m going through and how I feel.

What achievement(s) are you most proud of and why?
I got into and currently attend college for journalism! I’ve always valued education and knew that college was my calling. I’m in a wonderful city, with wonderful people, studying my favorite thing. I would love to become a White House Correspondent someday.

Stay tuned for part two of our Q&A with Abigail coming soon. 

*Abigail's story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

Thu 11 Apr 2024

In the first part of our newest Science Spotlight blog, learn how scientists can harness electricity to help with movement disorders that sometimes accompany cerebral palsy.

Thu 04 Apr 2024

Check out the final part of Rindi and Soren’s story.