Little Lakshmi has been revered as a goddess in Arhariya, her village in India, since they first laid eyes on her. After all, born two years ago with four arms and four legs, she looked like a Hindu goddess, and she’s named after the four-armed goddess of wealth, prosperity and generosity.
Of course, divinity is often in the heart of the believer, since others think the little girl is a freak. “We took her to a hospital in Delhi after her birth but some circus owners got to hear about her. They wanted to turn her into a freak show and offered us money, but we brought her back to the village,” said Lakshmi’s father, Shambhu, in the Hindustan Times.
From a dispassionate medical perspective, little Lakshmi is neither freak nor goddess. Instead, she just has a congenital medical condition called, “parasitic twin”. This means there were two babies in her mom’s womb, but one stopped growing, and became mostly absorbed by the other one. Lakshmi was born with all of her twin’s limbs and also some organs, and various other body parts. This is often a treatable condition. In fact, just yesterday generous doctors operated on Lakshmi for free, to rid her of the vestiges of her unsuccessful twin. So far today, the little girl is doing fine. Perhaps her namesake is watching out for her.
Ever wonder what would happen if we woke up nondisabled? I’d like that, I’m tired of living with MS. I’m ready to dump the whole package – both how I’m perceived as a result of my disability and the actual MS symptoms.
The cure debate has been going on for a long time, with one side saying there’s not a damn thing wrong with us, thank you very much, we’re fine exactly as we are. These folks typically see the disability “problem” as being a result of artificial, societally-built barriers that, if removed, might make the concept of “disability” irrelevant. And then there’s the other side that says, what, are you nuts? Yes, the larger problems are definitely a result of how society understands disability. Yes, we can live with our disabilities and have fantastic lives. But get real.
When I was younger and my MS was barely noticeable, I thought the “keep your cure off of me” side was right on. Disability is just like hair color, some said, and I agreed. But now that this thing inside of me is progressing, I don’t feel the same way. I want it out of me. I want to have full control over my energy, my life, in a way that simply isn’t possible with a brewing brain disease.
Would losing MS diminish me? Yes, I think it would. There are plenty of lessons I’d never learn (I’d learn other ones instead) and insights I’d never gain (insights are as plentiful as grains of sand). And I’d be free of my own parasitic twin, this damn disease.
Yesterday, Lakshmi was a baby goddess, or possibly a freak. Today, as a result of the surgeon’s knife, she’s just a little girl. And that’s wonderful.