Believing in myself helped me to overcome Perthes
By A.P. (Spain)
When I was 4 years old, my parents started noticing I had a slight limp. It never went away, and some months later, I was diagnosed with perthes. Do you know what that is? Do you remember Forrest Gump running like crazy with his leg braces? I had the same thing but just in one leg. In my case, it was in the left leg.
I had to spend about a year and a half in a wheelchair with a full cast on my leg for most of the time, and then I spent another good six months with that leg brace. I still went to kindergarten and primary school, but you can imagine in what circumstances…
The doctors told my family that I should be able to walk normally again, but about 10% of the cases do not regain full movement since the hip bone never becomes hard again…. . Anyway, I did not know that at that moment. It seems that when the doctors took away the wheelchair and gave me the leg brace, I was as happy as could be, looking funny but walking! Most importantly, doctors told my mom to look the other way if she saw me climbing walls, running or jumping about.
From time to time, as I ran, the brace just broke into pieces, and I would fall to the ground hitting it hard. This is when my hero appeared, my grandpa. He always fixed it by taking it to a garage or repair shop. Of course, this happened more in the summertime, when we were in the village, and I´d be playing out in the streets at all times, but he was always there.
My grandpa recently passed away. Though a strict cow breeder and dairy man, he just recently told me that the only time in his life he cried more than when his mother passed away was the first time he saw me in that wheelchair with the cast. I am sure that is why he was always there “fixing me up.” I remember the first day I walked normally again clearly, and I can still recall how sore my legs and arms were. That day I wrapped my arms around my grandpa so hard in excitement. I will never forget seeing my shadow that day and feeling amazement that I was walking like the other kids!
I miss him greatly and thank him and the other heroes in my life for having encouraged me to run and play like a normal boy, believing that I would walk normally one day. And so I did.