At a very early age (I remember hearing 7 months, but that seems crazy to me) I took my first steps. Somewhere around 7 or 8 years old, I took my last. I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy – defined by MDA.org as “a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement.” In Jenna terms (yes, that’s a thing in my world) my muscles do not get information from the nerve cells on my spinal cord, the muscles then do not get used, therefore they shrink. (I’m clearly not qualified for a “sciency” explanation, but you can click here to visit the MDA website and read more.)
I can’t walk, or stand, or re-position my butt in my wheelchair. I can’t raise either of my arms above my head … let’s be real, I can’t even lift them off of my armrests. Sometimes if my head goes too far forward for too long I struggle to get my head back up straight. The list goes on.
I’d be lying if I said it’s easy. I complain, I cry, I get angry. I am human, after all. But this experience has taught me more about patience & understanding, acceptance of others, compromise, trust, and faith than I could have learned any other way.
I do not see myself as “Jenna – the girl with SMA.” I am Jenna – Wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend & author of Rolling Onward.
I hope that the things I post here will help others to do just that. Think positively and know that “I can do all things…” (Phil. 4:13). I know first-hand that life gets hard and we can start to lose sight of our worth. We are worthy of happiness through each chapter of our lives and can achieve this by searching for the positives in every situation and simply – Rolling Onward!