After fourteen years with too numerous to count misdiagnoses, this is my daily journey living with an unknown disease that has made me fully physically dependent, living by the help from my family, friends, and beloved service dog. It is how I have chosen to define myself to remain whole in spite of it.

Tea Cup Ride

I don’t know about you, but I am a huge Disney Park fan. As in, Disney World. I love everything about it. I love the attractions, I love all the “backstage” things you can do to learn about the Disney Imagineers, I love Epcot, I love the rides, and I love the variety of attractions. I even love the cheesier elements, with all the characters, etc. Yes, it’s true; whatever they put in the kool-aide, I drank it.

One of the rides I most remember from riding pre-sickness was the Magic Tea Cups ride. If you are not familiar with it, you sit in these giant teacups (reminiscent from Alice in Wonderland), and they spin around on the floor, never hitting another tea cup. So, if you’re watching, it’s more like the dancing tea cups, with people sitting in them trying not to get dizzy. Except in the center of the tea cups, there is a wheel that you can turn, and it will increase the speed of turning. Well, when I did the ride, I don’t recall how, but I ended up sitting with my sister who has a lead stomach and glee for all things that spin, zoom, whirl, etc. And she continued to turn that wheel no matter how green I became.

When the ride finally finished, I wobbled off. She joyfully ran ahead of me.

Well, there are a lot of things I may miss that I am not able to partake in, but the Magic Tea Cup ride is not among them. If you are thinking, yes, naturally, that’s something you can say you experienced and not miss out on, well, I must correct you. The reason I do not miss it is simply because I experience it every day. This time, my wheelchair is the spinning wheel, and Camelot, my beloved white standard poodle service dog, is both the wheel controlling the speed AND the spinning device.

You see, Camelot loves to play tug with me. He loves it most when we are alone (he does not believe this should be a viewer sport, no matter who you are), and puts the toy in my hands and begins whirling me around. We do this outside, inside, big loops or tight circles. I, in turn, incorporate it into my physical therapy/strength training (it is a great upper body workout). If I want the loops to be bigger, slower turns, I keep my arms out, (and I hope I don’t hit something). If the turning radius needs to be smaller, making the turn sharper, faster, I lock my elbows next to me and a whip around on a dime.

I have to confess Camelot can get fiercely into this, and has on more than one occasion, sailing across the patio when my hands finally let go of the tug, whirled me off the patio or accidentally into a wall. And I love it. I love the gift that he is so smart he knows when he can play hard with me, and when my body is too fragile to play hard,  or simply not at all. (Yes, there are times when I even try to play with his beloved toy, and he will simply look at me, lay it on my lap, and walk away. It’s never long until I either have an episode or some issue). I love the freedom it gives me to play.

I have tried multiple times over the years to get this captured on camera, but Camelot refuses to tug with me if he can see someone else, and I have yet to master a go-pro (something on my to-do list). I would tell you about a recent time Camelot whirled me onto my back, but he just brought his tug time, so I must be off! It’s Tea-Cup ride time.

Snow Day

Snow Day

Tailspin

Tailspin