I concluded that there was no place for me. I went totally black that day and so decided to move back to my village, breathe some fresh air, live a boring life and maybe die on a farm. So that same day, I took off those painful shoes, slid my swollen feet into some flip-flops, packed my things and off I went. I did not know that a terrible accident awaited me forty-five minutes to my destination. How I survived, only God knows!
While recovering in the hospital, I was diagnosed with Bilateral Osteoarthritis with Skeletal Dyslexia. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of Arthritis and is one of the most frequent causes of disability among adults. It occurs when cartilage, the tissue that cushions the end of the bones, within the joints breaks down. In some cases, cartilage may wear away enough leaving bones to rub up against each other. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the hands, lower back and other weight bearing bones such as knees, hips and feet and there is no known cure.
On top of this diagnosis, I was also supposed to undergo two hip replacement surgeries within the next six months, which cost about £30,000 in total. I would like to use this platform to say a big thank you to all the people who donated money, however big or small, toward my surgeries. I would not be standing here two inches taller without your generosity. Thank you.
The pain, especially from the second surgery, is nothing you want me to tell you about, I am sure of that. All I would like to say about this experience is that my presence before you today is a miracle! When I go out, I get people staring at me with disgust. Some look on with pity while others do not even know why they dislike me. I realize that most people do not know about
Osteoarthritis, or its symptoms. Most people find it difficult to accept people like me because they do not understand my condition. They do not know that Arthritis is more common in children today than it has ever been.
For this reason, I have decided to be an advocate for change in this area. I want to give a voice to people living with Osteoarthritis. I have suffered a lot of humiliation and discrimination my entire life, yet here I stand today to share a bit of my life with the world to encourage somebody. Somebody who has lost a great deal of hope in this life. Somebody who has been making excuses. Somebody who has given up on their dreams. I have been there. I know how it feels!
In light of this, I am writing a book you should look out for, titled “You have no excuse”. I want to encourage people with any disability, especially those with Osteoarthritis and disabilities worse than mine, to know that you can be anything you want to be in this life no matter where you come from. You can be all the change you want to see around you. I am an agent of change. What about you?