Cerebral Palsy: Breaking The Barriers
There are so many misconceptions about people who have cerebral palsy. Win Charles, is one awesome woman who will show us how she strives to live a fulfilling life devoid of medication.
I am excited about today’s show because despite the fact that Charles was born with a disability, her health journey is truly inspiring.
Born With Cerebral Palsy
“Cerebral palsy is a lack of oxygen at birth which is what I acquired. When I was born, I only weighed one pound and 17 ounces,” shares Charles.
Honestly, I didn’t know much about cerebral palsy. I assumed that if someone were in a wheelchair, those people would immediately have spasms or tremors.
I initially thought people with cerebral palsy are less intelligent than those without the condition. Yes, I admit, I was wrong.
In fact, one of my favorite TV show, “Speechless,” served as an eye-opener for me. The TV show stars Micah Fowler, who incidentally has cerebral palsy.
I think it was brilliant that the production team opted to cast a real person with cerebral palsy rather than casting an actor who would just act out the part. It’s cool, right?
“Micah Fowler, the actor in the TV show Speechless, has a severe form of cerebral palsy. He can’t function at all,” Charles explains.
She adds, “In my case, I have a hundred muscle spasms a day. And I try my best to control them without taking opioids.”
Aside from Fowler, one of my favorite comedians also happens to have cerebral palsy. And I must say, he is spot-on funny!
So, lesson learned. Just because someone has cerebral palsy, it doesn’t mean that people who have cerebral palsy are mentally slow or incapable.
Effects Of Opioids
Doctors incidentally prescribed the drug to Charles from 2006 to 2009. For those who are unaware, the most common opioid usually taken by people with cerebral palsy is Baclofen.
“Baclofen is a muscle spasm and muscle relaxer. In 2009, my family noticed the medication was making me act like a zombie,” recalls Charles.
Charles for sure is not the only person to experience the adverse effect of opioids. Why medical doctors continue to prescribe it to patients is truly appalling.
Nevertheless, Charles’ mom was adamant. Charles vividly recalls that her mother firmly told the doctors to take Win off the medication.
Finding The Right Doctor
Aside from opioids, Baclofen is a common drug for people with cerebral palsy. Nowadays, doctors go as far as prescribing it to people with back pain or muscle spasms.
Traditional doctors are quick to prescribe medication rather than explore other options like physical therapy. So it is best to find a doctor who listens to you.
If a doctor tells you something, please voice out. Get a second opinion. Be brave enough to explore different alternatives that work and are more efficient.
Traditional Medicine Vs. Natural Medicine
“My mom had a book where she noted all my surgeries and medications,” Charles said. “She knew too much anesthesia in my body was not good.”
Incidentally, Charles also mentioned that she felt a great impact after hearing my Episode #137 where I had Dr. Cilla Whatcott on the show.
Charles remembered her mom who was hospitalized for some time due to meningitis but believed in her body’s ability to heal itself naturally.
“Meningitis can be cured through Holistic Medicine. But traditional medicine thinks otherwise,” said Charles. “Hopefully, that line of thought will change in the future.”
Trailblazer For Cerebral Palsy
And how does someone like Charles cope with her health condition? First and foremost, Charles stays away from opioids and other drugs.
Second, she makes sure to stay active by doing sports. Yes, you read it right. Charles swims, rides a bike, runs and has even competed in the prestigious Kona Ironman Triathlon.
However, Charles admittingly says that because of her health condition, she has limited physical capabilities. But that is not stopping her.
We truly do not have any excuse for not stepping out of our comfort zone when there are people with disabilities doing impressive feats.
Understanding Cerebral Palsy
I was likewise surprised to learn from Charles that cerebral palsy can also be acquired by accident. A friend of hers choked on a piece of popcorn when he was two years old.
Hence, acquired cerebral palsy and is now non-verbal.
Galileo Neuromuscular Tilt Table
Charles explains that the device enables patients to be flexible. But because the device is big and bulky, Charles only gets to use the device at the gym.
The device used by Charles was donated by Amanda Boxtel who was paralyzed after a skiing accident in 1992. Boxtel currently serves as Executive Director for Bridging Bionics Foundation.
According to research, Bridging Bionics Foundation the aims to bridge human mobility with exoskeletons and bionic technology. Thanks to Boxtel’s donation, people like Charles can do more than just being wheelchair-bound.
Let me just say; I love technology! There is a beautiful marriage that I think we can incorporate ancient healing arts with modern science.
But let me make myself clear. Modern science is not the enemy. It’s how we use it and making sure that we are using it holistically.
Benefits Of Reiki
Charles says that willpower and mindset is a big part of dealing with cerebral palsy. She also says that Reiki, the Japanese technique for relaxation and stress reduction also helps because it promotes healing.
But honestly, I was previously skeptical about Reiki. Because when I was about 15 years old, I sprained my ankle so bad.
Doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to walk for two weeks. Then a coworker at my summer job then offered to do Reiki on my ankle.
After the painless session, the swelling had gone down, and I stood up. In fact, I remember being so happy that I even started dancing right then and there!
I was a full believer in Reiki after that fateful day.
Butterflies Of Wisdom
Charles started the podcast, “Butterflies of Wisdom,” four years ago. The show was launched right after she wrote her autobiography.
The show features inspiring people who are making a difference in this world both in business and disabilities. To check out the show, and know more about Charles’ advocacy, please click the links below.
If you liked this episode, please share it with someone you love. Let’s turn this ripple into a tidal wave. Have a great day everyone!
Win Charles defied the odds by becoming an author despite having cerebral palsy. Her memoir “I, Win,” is an amazing story of how she remembers her life through the years.
Charles is also a CEO of her own jewelry design company and motivational speaker. She tours all over the country to raise awareness about cerebral palsy.