Girl With The Cane is Back

Remember me? The Girl With the Cane? The disabilities blogger who kept annoying you with her long blog posts and annoying opinions? I'm back. 

I last wrote as Girl With the Cane in 2019 on its self-hosted WordPress site. I remember that I stopped writing because it was getting too time-consuming, and because keeping the blog secure from hackers on the self-hosted WordPress server was getting awfully expensive. I saved all the posts in a .zip file and moved on. 

The other day, I remembered that while I was writing the blog, I also put a lot of the posts on a Blogspot blog (which is archived here, if you're interested in reading any of it; not all of the posts are there, but enough.) I'd thought about them so much over the last couple of years, too lazy to open the .zip file, when they were still on the internet the whole time!

Why Girl With The Cane Again?

I've decided to restart the Girl With The Cane blog because so many disability issues (so many social issues in general) still don't get the attention they deserve. Writing is the best way that I can help with that. I don't know where it will go, but I never know where anything in my life will go, really. I plan, but things don't always go the way I figure they will (obviously; I'm light years away from where I thought I'd be at almost 45 years old.)

Girl With The Cane Update

For those that read the old Girl With The Cane blog, here are some things that have changed since we last met:

  •  I'm an atheist (as opposed to "spiritual but not religious".) I'll talk more about this.
  • Both of my cats are gone. They lived long, happy lives, and both did quite well for much longer than anyone thought they would as senior kitties with severe illnesses.
  • I am more bionic than I was. I fell during the pandemic, and needed surgery to put a plate and screws in my right hip to treat the resulting fracture. The surgery and the seven weeks in the hospital after was ultimately a good thing, though: I learned that one of my seizure meds had caused me to develop osteoporosis, for which I now get treatment, and the rehabilitation process has made me a stronger, faster, and more balanced walker. The scar from the surgery isn't even that bad. Because of the hip fracture and some other fractures I've had in the past few years, and some changes in my seizures, I now get a visit from a Personal Support Worker everyday to check in on me and help me with some chores that are more difficult to do with one hand.
  • I work for myself, doing writing and social media and a bunch of other stuff for a few clients, totally from home. It took me a long time to build my business up to the point where my business can sustain me It's such a great feeling! I do still get some help from the Ontario Disability Support Program to pay for medications.
For those joining for the first time, here's where I was (and still am) in this blog's first life:
  • I am a stroke survivor with a weak left side. I don't have much fine motor movement in my left arm and hand (which was dominant hand before the stroke) so I've learned to do (almost) everything I need to, just using my right hand. I walk with a cane outside for speed, balance, and stability, as I walk with a limp and toe drop and sometimes stumble - on snow or ice, on uneven ground, even over my own feet. I had the stroke 23 years ago after brain surgery to correct an arteriovenous malformation (no longer an issue), when I was 22 years old. The surgery also left some scar tissue that causes me to have seizures, so I don't drive. 
  • I live on my own in an apartment building in the very small Canadian town in which I grew up. I can pretty much take care of myself, but when I do need assistance, I have an in-town support network of friends, my father, and my Personal Support Workers; my sister and her family and my boyfriend are also both less than 2 hours away (in different cities, but in contact with each other.) 
  • I've been working with intellectually disabled people in some capacity (volunteer or employment) since I was 15 years old. Those experiences, my own experience with being physically disabled and having mental health conditions, and conversations with others in those communities, opened my eyes to just how much ableism is still a life of society. It's a priority to me to have ableism recognized as a social justice issue and see more resources dedicated to eradicating it.
  • I believe in disability acceptance, not cure, which makes my views on advocacy, inclusion, and autonomy for disabled people different from than those of some advocates. That's not to say that if I was offered a treatment that would let me gain some more function in my left hand or  guarantee that I'd never have a seizure again, I wouldn't consider taking it; with society structured the way it is now, my brain injury and the way it affects the rest of my body does prevent me from doing some things I'd like to do. However, given that said treatment hasn't yet presented itself, I live the best life I can with the body I have, and surround myself with people who support me in my plans because they know that, even if I have to ask for a bit of help, I generally succeed at what I put my mind to - disabilities and all. 

Happy to be Girl With The Cane 

I feel like I've got some more about disability to write about...even a book, which I'm going to talk about more. I hope you'll stick around and see where this goes.  

- Sarah