Living with cerebral palsy is enormously difficult. But what if you never knew you had it?
This is the incredible story of Ilana Estelle.
Born the second of premature twins, an hour apart, from a young age Ilana knew she was different, but for all the wrong reasons. A child of the 60s, Ilana experienced first-hand the way that disability was, at the time, so often brushed under the carpet, not spoken about. Her constant physical and mental struggles made her feel isolated, alone, frustrated, and misunderstood. It took 46 years for her to find out why.
Part memoir, part motivational guide, Cerebral Palsy: My story is Ilana’s open and honest journey from an angry, confused child, knowing something was wrong, not knowing what was wrong, what her disability was, or that there was a diagnosis – to the ‘real’ her – a courageous woman using her experiences and lessons to create inspiring messages about mental and physical health, resilience and change.
I admit to having mixed feelings about this book, but that overall I found it to be a well written account of a journey to enlightenment and from that, to acceptance of the writers uniqueness.
What I thought I was going to get is more of an autobiography, but that was a secondary part of this unique publication and it’s main message, which it handled well, helping others to find balance in life, though self discovery and motivational learning. Though I found some of the her thoughts around spirituality a little jarring, her advice around a wide range of issues such as why you should remain upbeat, the connection between physical health and mental health were inspiring and left me in both a reflective mood and gaining a greater understanding of why I should choose positivity over negativity.
She grew up never understanding why she struggled with school and why learning was difficult for her as a child and it wasn’t until she was forty-six that she learned why! Her disability was never talked about, growing up in the sixties, it was hidden and this left her isolated and often angry. Finding out in later life she had Cerebral Palsy led her to build a life based on an honesty and knowledge. From this she set up a blog, charting how she changed her life and outlook.
The strongest part of this book, is the call to arms that disability should not be hidden, that the uniqueness of each disabled person be celebrated and they be given access to a life without limits. Ilana’s voice is at its most powerful when it is advocating for everyone of every disability to be given the right to equality, that one of societies greatest shames is how often, we still prefer not to be confronted by what makes us feel uncomfortable.
She choose to know longer be hidden and worked to find a better acceptance of herself. She blogged about her life and experiences, health and well-being and her book Cerebral Palsy follows a similar style, short snappy sections that deal with a wide range of self help techniques and how they shaped her life.
It is easy to dip in and out of and could act as a good reference when you find yourself struggling and in need of a reminder of Finding Calm After The Storm and how changes in lifestyle and belief system can help us all find our calm place.
About the author
Ilana was born with a disability she didn’t know she had until the age of 46, when through her medical notes she discovered she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2.
That discovery turned out to be a unique and life-changing experienced that has forced Ilana to stand back and look at her life experiences differently. On her late diagnosis, Ilana set up her website The CP Diary and uses her experiences to explore her emotional and physical health, with inspiring messages advocating resilience and change.
Ilana likes to spend her days writing and blogging about anything that contributes to her health and wellbeing. She is an animal advocate and is passionate about environmental issues. When she is not writing, or tending to her blog, Ilana enjoys days out exploring the Yorkshire countryside.
Ilana lives with her husband and their much-loved cat, in Yorkshire. Her grown up son and daughter both live in London.
You can follow her on Twitter @TheCPDiary