Name: Becky Taylor
Where do you call home? Vancouver, Washington
Education (degree(s): Masters in Teaching
What is your relationship status? Do you have children? Married for 11 years. No kids, unless you count my 24 4th graders and my yellow lab, Claire.
What's a typical day for you? I wake up every day at 5:30, leave the house eat 7:00, and get to work on 7:30. With teaching, no two days are ever alike! But, that is what I love most about my job. I leave work any time between 3:30 and 5:30, depending on if I have meetings or something else I need to do. My evenings are usually very laid-back. My husband and I usually connect with our friends once a week for dinner and a tv show. Maintaining strong friendships is so important to me.
How long have you known you are living with FA? I was diagnosed with FA when I was 21. I first noticed symptoms when I was becoming dizzy while running down stairs.
Are there any others with FA in your family? I am the youngest of three girls. My middle sister also has FA.
Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. My progression, luckily, has been relatively slow. I continue to walk with my walker at home, but I use a scooter at work and when I travel. I walked unassisted for 9 years after my diagnosis. Around age 30 I started using a cane, but that didn’t last too long. I then got my first rollator, and began to use a scooter at work at age 38.
What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I am not the best at exercising, but after I do it, I always feel better. My husband and I belong to a gym, and when I go I like to work on both my upper and lower body with machines. I love to kayak and ride handcycles in the summer. I stay active by continuing to work full-time. I also try to plan fun things with my friends and family. With FA, it is easily to isolate yourself, so I make a point to keep my social calendar full.
What is a good trick to make daily life easier? The biggest thing is to plan ahead.
When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? The one thing that helps me feel the best when I get down is to focus on my friends and family. And, I love to shop for new clothes and jewelry.
What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? I have met some wonderful people who also have FA.
What is piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? My friend Michelle always reminds me not to worry about what other’s think about my walking/disability. She has helped me gain confidence.
What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Take a deep breath. Don’t just go online and believe everything you read about FA. It affects everyone differently. Seek out a neurologist who is an FA expert. Don’t be afraid to cry, to be angry, or to feel sorry for yourself. That is natural. But don’t let yourself stay down for too long. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and move on and focus on the positive. Is that hard to do? ABSOLUTELY it is, but you can do it! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? Go for a long walk.
"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? How do you live your life in the face of adversity? I am SO much more than my disease. I try to be a good person—someone whom I am proud of. I try to be a positive person, a hard worker, and a good friend.