Greetings, I go by Sonny Davis. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you into my world and share something with you I believe has had a profound impact on my life. After you have read this I invite you to ask yourself two very important questions…
“Who am I?” and, “What is my deepest purpose for living?”
A few years ago it was a personal dream of mine to become an Olympian, well in my case, a Paralympian. At age 5 doctors diagnosed me with a neural muscular disorder called Charcot Marie Tooth disease, which is a form of Muscular Dystrophy. There is degeneration of muscle and nerve in my legs and my hands.
I was a pretty normal kid. I would run and jump and climb trees and swim and play T-ball and basketball. But there was something strange afoot when I was constantly falling over. I didn’t think much of it and would just pick myself up and carry on. My mum noticed that it was happening more than with other kids, so she started paying closer attention to the way I was walking. The signs of MD weren’t showing up yet, so I looked like a normal five-year-old boy who dragged his feet.
My feet were turned slightly inwards when I walked, and they dragged with each step. My mum took me to several specialists who seemed to think I was just being lazy. But I remember running, jumping, climbing trees, slip-and-slide… my mother knew I wasn’t lazy.
One winter, out at the cabin, I fell and broke both of my heels. My bones, it turned out, were under-mineralized. I was in casts for months, straight through the summer. My brothers and sisters got to enjoy our backyard pool. I got to lean over the side dunking my head in, making sure not to get my casts wet.
By fall, it was time to get them removed. Wouldn’t you know it, three months out of the casts and I go and do it again; both heels crunched. This time I got colored casts: one blue, one red. How fashionable.
It was a Dr. Davis, I think, that was able to point us in the direction of the neuro-muscular disorders. My feet were only turned inward a little at first, they would turn more over time. I would need tendon-release surgery, to stop my nose-dives. The surgery turned my feet outward like a penguin.
There were four surgeries on my legs, total. My mum was with me throughout the whole thing. One thing I remember clearly was my mother playing “I spy” with me, and that kept my attention off my situation, and any pain I was feeling. I was quite young, I missed all of grade five, just recovering from surgeries. So I don’t know what goes on in grade five, but I feel that these days when I miss things, when I don’t understand things, or when I’m having difficulty learning something, or I just don’t get it, I’m like, “Was that in grade 5?”
I remember a lot of support from my school, from my teachers, one of my favorite teachers came to visit me in hospital. I got to know my doctors pretty well. I seemed to be pretty well known in Calgary’s Children’s Hospital.