07/30/2013 02:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Daily Everest: Los Angeles, Summer 2011


When I first moved into my apartment in 1989, I could bound up these stairs three at a time. It took me about five seconds to get to the top. Over the past eight years, since the Adult Polyglucosan Body Disease has taken hold in me, it has become increasingly more challenging to ascend these stairs. Now, holding on to the rail with one hand to pull up and using my cane in my other hand to push up, both helping me with stability and balance, I make my way, one step at a time. What once took a few seconds now takes a few minutes. When I have my wheeled cart filled heavy with groceries, it is even more daunting. I get to the bottom from my driveway and think, "How am I gonna do this?" But before I can answer, I put one foot on the first step, pull up with hand on rail, slowly lift my foot to the next step and then, using my core, drag/hoist the cart up to the step below where my feet are. I repeat this process until finally, I'm at the top. I remember a fellow crew member on a film, seeing me moving slowly but with purpose, saying "Slow and steady wins the race." And my friend Gigi, formerly a competitive horse jumper, telling me how her father once told her, "Throw your heart over the fence and the horse will follow." These and other things I've learned in the ongoing, never-ending school of life help me climb the stairs each day.

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