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Living with Muscular Dystrophy - My Take by Aarthi Sampath

As a child I used to get teased when I would run and play games. By the time I was 11 years old, my movements had become quite awkward and uncoordinated, so my parents took me to a neurologist. He said I had muscular dystrophy, a condition marked by the progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles.

To my family's complete shock, we were told that there is no treatment yet. I was advised to take physiotherapy to help maintain muscle strength as much as possible.

My parents were heartbroken but supported me completely. They ensured that all needs were taken care of.

My mother arranged for a physiotherapist, who promptly said that I would not live past my teens. I used to fall frequently and had difficulty in climbing stairs or getting up from a sitting position.

Despite the terrible struggle, my mother never gave up. She was determined to help me lead an active and productive life. She taught me how to cook, enrolled me in a beautician's course, as well as painting.

I started exploring my creativity through art and handicraft as it made me happy. However, my condition continued to get worse. I had more trouble walking and could not even lift my arms normally. I became very depressed and withdrew into myself for nearly 10 years.

Finally, in 2011, a miracle came in the form of a wheelchair. It gave me the safety and mobility I needed. Once more, I began pursuing my creative interests.

I feel like I have made a new beginning, a journey into a new world with endless possibilities for growth. My physical condition may not have a cure, but the love and support of my family and friends has helped lift my sense of happiness. I am truly happy I overcame my fears and learned this truth in my life.

About the Writer

Aarthi Sampath is an artist based in Chennai. Her wish is that the world treats people wth disabilities as equal to everyone else.

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