To further educate mikveh attendants and the larger community about the challenges of disabled women at the mikveh, The Eden Center is collecting stories from women with a range of physical and emotional disabilities. Here is but one tale of a tovelet/turned attendant. Thank you Cher for sharing your story of challenge and contribution.
I have been disabled since I turned 19.
When I was in my first year of Stern College I started to experience some symptoms; my handwriting became illegible and my voice became a monotone. Within a few months, my right foot kicked my left ankle when I walked. One day I was in the kitchen helping my mother make a salad and she asked me a question. I literally couldn’t answer her. My lips were so tight they wouldn’t move.
At first I was diagnosed with “hysteria”. I knew I wasn’t crazy but no one could identify an illness. I married a wonderful man, figuring that if indeed it was hysteria a whole new life in a totally different place with different friends would surely snap me out of it, but- I was wrong. The symptoms persisted.
Two years later I was diagnosed with dystonia. I was so happy to have a name to my illness and to be able to say to myself and the world that they were wrong – it wasn’t in my head. However, dystonia is a very rare disease with no known cause and no known cure. It limited my speech and mobility to the point of me being unable to speak easily. [Read more…]