In Disability, We Find Strength and Abilities

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

Strength is a characteristic that my daughter has displayed since before her birth. 

With many odds against her, she entered the world as a fighter. 

A rare genetic disorder, accompanied by an array of medical issues and disabilities, has taken many things away from her. 

While she is unable to speak, walk or participate in most activities that other five year olds enjoy, she has an abundance of STRENGTH

Instead of fixating on her disabilities, I am amazed by her limitless ABILITIES

She has the ability to light up a room and melt every heart with her sweet, innocent smile.

She overcomes obstacles everyday with grace and determination.

She has the ability to fight, without losing spirit.

With no intention of surrendering, she is able to tenaciously work towards colossal goals.

She has the ability to teach others of courage and bravery.

She has the ability to inspire.

Without verbalization, she is able to communicate a love greater than most people can begin to imagine.

She has the ability to cause others to want to do better, and to be better.

I was terrified last year when she underwent a major surgical procedure.

To hopefully prevent early onset arthritis, she had two major hip surgeries, Dega and VDRO Osteotomies.

With this experience, for the first time in a long time, my strength waivered considerably.

Seeing her hooked up to monitors, incapacitated and completely immobilized weakened me.

Watching her suffer a seizure after remaining seizure-free for twenty-two months felt defeating.

Thankfully, she emerged victoriously from all the stress that her little body endured, and she began the road to recovery. 

With every passing day, she became stronger. 

I was reminded of how well she takes all things in stride, even the hardest challenges that life throws her way. 

She helped me find my own strength again.    

Watching her sail through intensive rehab therapy, eight weeks after surgery, I saw a true warrior.

A little girl with a fight in her soul, up against the adversity of learning to crawl again.

She had the mighty courage to meet that challenge.

She didn’t cry or wince; she worked diligently and pushed her way through.

The great struggle of physical therapy after being immobile for eight weeks brought out the great toughness in her.

The love that I have for this little girl gives me strength to move mountains.

Whatever it takes…Because of her, I have the ability to charge ahead and to find hope in every situation.


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