I was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. It is a rare, non-progressive muscle disorder, characterized by multiple joint contractures at birth. It is an umbrella diagnosis. This means there are many types of Arthrogryposis. There are over 400 different types and some who are diagnosed never had their type identified. I am one of those people! I don’t know what kind I have, but I know that I have been in a wheelchair my whole life.
I lack strength in my legs and have a limited range of motion in my shoulders. In total, I have had 17 surgeries, 14 of which are due to my condition. I had several surgeries to straighten my legs, to help my clubbed feet and even a few muscle transplants to see if I could be able to walk. All of this with an allergy to most pain medicine. I learned how to push through the pain of recovery in hopes that the surgery would have a positive outcome. I feel very fortunate that most of my surgeries were a success.
I now live a very high functioning adult life. I am a mother to an amazing daughter. I travel a lot and I have lot of outdoor adventures. When I was born, they told my parents I wouldn’t be more than a vegetable and I have spent my whole life proving them wrong. I have learned that while I may do things differently and I may need two wheelchairs to do the things I want to do, I am grateful that I have such amazing resources. The most important thing I have learned in my life is that with the right attitude, anything is possible. Things may not look the same as everyone else. But the world is ours to discover. So, get out and go!
About Kerri Knudson: Kerri lives in Utah with her daughter. She uses a 4Front® 2 Power Wheelchair and loves exploring the outdoors. Click here to learn more about Kerri.