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Conquering Disabilities in Monica Vickers' My Extraordinary Life

"The worst thing about a disability…. People see IT before they see YOU" - Monica Sucha Vickers

Uniqueness is sometimes looked down upon. There is prejudice and stigma surrounding one's personality, hobby, or ability, but this kind of discrimination is experienced worse by people with disabilities. Accessibility, stigmatization, discrimination, stereotyping一 these are just the problems that people with disability are used to, and there's so many more. People who have fewer limbs are seen to have a lesser quality of life, and most often than not, they are the ones who always have to prove their worth in society. In Monica Sucha Vickers' My Extraordinary Life, she tells of her struggles, her battles, and her successes.

My Extraordinary Life is Monica Sucha Vickers' memoir about life as a disabled person. Born in 1954, she was born missing both legs and right arm as a result of a drug called thalidomide which is a drug used to cure morning sickness in pregnant women. Raised in rural Nebraska, she graduated from Syracuse High School in 1972 and worked her way through university at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1976. Traveling to California after college, she was able to find a job as a medical transcriptionist and worked in the field for over 40 years, eventually retiring in 2014.

Inspired by her grandma's advice to write a book about her life, she wondered about her uniqueness. She realized that she was physically different and that her struggles and successes were different from those living normal lives without missing limbs. For the first time, Monica shares her life as a congenital triple amputee who is able to overcome incredible odds and find happiness. It is a well-written, inspiring memoir from birth through marriage and everything in between and provides discussion on what not to do when one meets a disabled person and how to deal with children who awkwardly point. The author shares her observations on how she gets through days that are tougher than others and shows the readers how living with a disability is not a simple lifestyle and that it doesn't make one courageous, heroic or brave.

She perfectly describes how disabled people live their lives, knowing what they can and cannot do, and knowing these limitations has helped her look at the bright side of things that will make life more meaningful and useful. Monica offers a fresh perspective to her readers as she takes them on a journey of a different pathway, one that includes trials and pain for people with no other alternative but to go on in life. Growing up at the moment in time where disabilities are more frequently discriminated against, the author paints a graphic picture of what life is like to live in her shoes.

The book is an uplifting book that looks at disability as a disability as Monica doesn't sugarcoat and tells it what it is through her eyes. She reminds her readers that uniqueness is not a hindrance and that having fewer limbs doesn't mean that life is bleaker. It just means that life offers more obstacles and that it is important to look at the brighter side of things, even on the worst days.

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