MHE and Me

My mother was an only child in the Bronx, in the Depression years. Her father had an odd bone disease that made his arms and legs bow out at odd angles. They joked about him being the short leprechaun.
But my mother soon found that she, too, had the odd bones, and they hurt. So she learned to do pain meditation and biofeedback, to talk to her body about the pain.

When I was born, she felt my body.  Yep, I had the same odd bones. So she taught me how to talk about the pain and to draw the pain out of my body. We tried very hard not to use pain relievers or surgery. When I am in pain, I rest my hands on the painful part. Then I think about the pain going out of my body and into my hands. Then I shake my hands gently, and throw away the pain.

Sometimes doctors or my family or relatives would say "Oh that little bone can't hurt you that much. Stop whining." I am very glad that you guys have an MHE family, people who can say, yes, the bones DO hurt sometimes, and it is ok to cry, ok to rest.

There are many things that my mother and I can't do: bend down to tie a shoe, reach up on a counter to get something...BUT she taught me that every time I find a "you can't" find a "well, but you can" instead.

So...I can't tie my shoe, but I can use velcro and wear shoes that don't tie. I can't reach the cookie jar, but I can make more cookies and put them where I can reach them. I can't be a lifeguard, because I can't do the breast stroke, but I can do the side stroke and enjoy swimming. I can't be a ballerina, but I can dance.

Kids used to tease me a lot about my pain and knobby knees, and not being able to run. So I found things I could do well, and I excelled in them. You guys are lucky, because you know other people who have this same problem. My mother and I thought we were the only ones in the world.

One time, a doctor told me "I usually treat horses, and I know horses. But you are a zebra, and we will have to find out how to treat zebras."
You are a zebra. Revel in your differences.
Illustration by Nicole Wynn, 15
Deena Larsen is a new-media writer, whose works are used in university and high-school courses all over the world!    You can visit her website at