How does your Wegener's Disease define you and what you can do?

Do you accept your disability?

I read an interesting article on the BBC today. It's all about Melanie Reid, a Times journalist who doesn't accept her disability. She was paralysed in a horse riding accident five years ago. The accident left her with drastically reduced movement in her limbs, but despite this, she lives in a remote part of Scotland and her home remains free of adaptations for her disability. Melanie thinks that by adapting her home she would be signalling an acceptance of her disability.

Melanie Reid Disabled Times Journalist

I think that this is an interesting point of view and that's why I wanted to link to the article, even though it is not directly linked to Wegener's Granulomatosis. People who have Wegener's and other forms of Vasculitis often become disabled as their ability to walk is reduced, their eyesight may be compromised, and their lungs fail.

Most traditional ways of coping with disability start with having the sufferer accept that they are now disabled and adapting their goals and life to their new limitations. The danger in not accepting your new condition is that you will have unrealistic ambitions which in the long term will cause you to be unhappy.

Fight your limitations

Melanie is choosing a different path. Her view is that by making that acceptance she is already defeated. She has fought incredibly hard over a long period of time to walk a few steps, and as a result some of her disabled readers felt betrayed that they aren't trying hard enough. Melanie openly admits that she hates being 'stuck in disability' and would far rather be able bodied. Again this has angered some disabled people who have come to accept their limitations and have found that it has actually helped their lives in some ways. They wouldn't be the same people they are today if they were not disabled.

As ever, I think that the truth, and the best way forward lies somewhere between these two extremes. On the one hand it is great have the will to fight your limitations and to not view yourself as inferior to an able bodied person, but on the other hand you also have to be somewhat realistic in your ambitions, especially if you can make a few small adaptations in your life to make it easier for you and those around you.

What do you think?

How does your Wegener's Disease define you and what you can do? Are you stronger by fighting the limitations of your disease or by accepting that your life will no longer be the same? Is refusing your disability just a step on the way to rebuilding your life?

If you have any thoughts, please share them in the comments.