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When I first began talking about this book, my mother asked me, “Why don’t you just use the word ‘disabled’ in the title? After all, that’s what you are.” My reply was impatient, because I thought it was obvious. “Mom, if the word ‘disabled’ had been in the title, I would not have read this book until it was too late, because it (insert sarcastic tone here) clearly had nothing to do with me. Don’t you remember those days? I had no trouble admitting my medical condition seemed to be serious. But disabled I was not.”
I remember those days well, so throughout the book, I refer to serious medical conditions (SMCs). I have chosen this term carefully because it can be used in a variety of ways (and because it sometimes takes some people a long time to admit they’re disabled). As far as I know, it is not an official or commonly-used term, although I have heard it uttered by several medical professionals. Appendix C has the story and information about my own SMC.
SMC is any serious medical condition that changes your life suddenly in a major way. My specific SMC can be referred to as a disease, an illness, or a disability. However, not all SMCs cover so much territory. For example, cancer is an illness and not usually considered a disability, but having cancer often turns a person’s life upside-down. So, cancer is an SMC. By the same logic, if you are in an auto accident and suffer a spinal cord injury that leaves you paralyzed, you don’t have an illness or disease, but you certainly have an SMC!
SMCs are serious in different ways depending on what they are, and the circumstances of the person who has one. But, there are some things that everyone with an SMC does, like resetting priorities, finding someone to go to the doctor with her, and telling people what is happening. And, there are some things I did, that may not be relevant to you, like applying for benefits or looking for books to read.
However, I do know from experience that these activities are common to many others with SMCs; my systems, tips and experiences for those tasks are included in the book.
Julia Pantoga Soriano, M. Div. and M.A.T. © 2021 Built with PubWriter