I was diagnosed at seven with spastic paraplesia - which was later proved the wrong diagnosis but they knew there was something not quite right with me! Years of physio, hydro and hospital appointments (waiting at St Peters for up to two hours at a time) with an impatient brother followed. Appointments with Orthotists for Afos also became a recurrance. Afo's were rigid splints which I did try to get on with many times throughout childhood but were too rigid. I remember having a pair of 'denim' splints - they were still rigid but they had the design of denim on them. I remember the different splints I had for at night - plastic nearly see-through ones. I had to have my legs in plasters for weeks at a time to stretch the tendons in my calves which once became so painful that my mum had to take me to Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot to have them cut off.
Once my walking was getting worse I tried loads of walkers but couldn't get on with any of them. I was much more content when I started using a wheelchair for longer distances. By secondary school time I was using an electric wheelchair - a purple spectra wheelchair which looks so small now!
Mum and Dad kept everything as 'normal' as possible for me and I owe them so much for that because I never felt like an outsider in anything, during my junior days. I did gymnastics (winning gold medals as I was so bendy - I am double jointed!!) and lots of swimming lessons. I went to brownies and went away with them. I didn't do anything different from the others and I'm so grateful that I was treated the same as everyone else because it gave me a great outlook on life.
I know now that Mum and Dad were dealing with my brother and I, and they had no idea what was wrong with us at the time.