Vance Taylor

Friday, March 28, 2014
Sunday night was a turning point for me. For the first time, I articulated a fact that while never spoken, and certainly never fully accepted by me, is still true. My disease is going to continue weakening my body and it’s not going to stop until it kills me. It’s a battle that can’t be won and to which there is only one conclusive and indisputable outcome. My death. Around the end of high school and on through college, I lived life operating under the belief that the progression of my disease had stopped. My doctor’s never confirmed that it had plateaued, but they didn’t dismiss the...
Friday, February 28, 2014
Editor’s Note: For more on “Coach Daddy” see the ABC 7 News – WJLA (Washington, DC) news story “Harris’s Heroes: Vance Taylor doesn’t let adversity slow him down.” It’s long been said that you should never judge a book by its cover. Well I’m here to tell you the same goes for six-year-old girls. That’s right. Don’t be fooled by their sweet semi-toothless smiles or their doe-like eyes. Because when you think you’re looking at an angelic cutie, you could be staring down a straight up b-ball assassin. When Sammy first told me she wanted to play basketball this season, I was really...
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
For a long time now, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I should write a book about my life story, a memoir. And, over the years, I’ve tried doing so, unsuccessfully, many times. I’d start, stop and let time roll on by. It was a process I repeated at least a dozen times since college. I’m not exactly sure why I couldn’t finish putting my story on paper, but I have a few ideas about what held me back. Writing a book is really hard! On the surface, the notion of doing a memoir seems easy. After all, who knows me better than me? I lived the story so I should be able to tell it....
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
When it comes to interacting with kids, I get the celebrity treatment. Don’t believe me? Just follow me around when I volunteer at the girl’s elementary school. From the second I pull up in my super-duper cool “ramp van” to the moment I head back home, it’s all eyes on me. Over the past few weeks I’ve gone in to be a parent helper at lunch and during recess on two occasions. Other than being excited about surprising Isabelle and Sammy, I didn’t think too much about it. However, as soon as the ramp dropped down and I rolled out I noticed countless kids staring out at me through the...
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Last week during dinner, Sammy asked me the following question: “Daddy, if there was a cure for Muscular Dystrophy, would you want to take it?” I found the question to be interesting for these three reasons: It let me know that Sammy has developed a deeper understanding regarding the cause of my disability than I had previously given her credit for. It told me that she spends time thinking about my physical abilities, limitations and well-being. It surprised me because I figured she wouldst have to wonder about whether or not I wanted to be in a wheelchair. Rather than answering...
Friday, October 18, 2013
For a long time now, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I should write a book about my life story, a memoir. And, over the years, I’ve tried doing so, unsuccessfully, many times. I’d start, stop and let time roll on by. It was a process I repeated at least a dozen times since college. I’m not exactly sure why I couldn’t finish putting my story on paper, but I have a few ideas about what held me back. Writing a book is really hard! On the surface, the notion of doing a memoir seems easy. After all, who knows me better than me? I lived the story so I should be able to tell it....
Friday, September 6, 2013
Isabelle came up to me last week around 5:30pm and in a very mature way told me she wanted to spend more individual time with me. "You know. Like, just you and me. Not Sammy or Mommy." "Yeah baby, individual time. I gotcha." When I asked her what we should do, she replied without hesitation. "I want to pack a picnic and eat dinner at the park." "Sounds good. When?" "Tonight." What can I say? The kid knows what she wants. Being that it was ‘Daddy’s dinner night,’ I had ordered pizza. When it arrived, we threw some slices into a Tupperware container, packed some...
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what constitutes the actual reality of our lives. Because our days are filled with so many individual moments, it’s sometimes difficult to accurately define how things are going. For example, unbeknownst to all but a very small handful of people, I had to be hospitalized last week for dehydration. Two weeks before that, I wrenched my right foot and partially tore a tendon. The pain was so intense I began dry heaving and almost passed out. And though the pain in my foot has greatly diminished and my body is recovering nicely from the illness that led...
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
We Taylors have started a new tradition called “Family Adventure.” Basically, it involves Casey and me planning a surprise activity for the kids. We tell them what they’ll need for the “adventure,” but we don’t tell them where we’re going or what we’ll be doing. It’s been pretty good so far, and yesterday was no exception. Saturday morning’s list of required items included: wallets, appetites and their American Girl dolls. And with that we headed out to the American Girl store for a few accessories and a girly lunch at the bistro. Something I neglected to include on our list of needed...
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Nearly every Tuesday since October 2012, Casey and I have made the now all-to-familiar trek from our home in Alexandria to the Georgetown Wound Care Center. No. We did not go because we dig on wounds or because we were just that bored. We went to have my butt checked out by my surgeon and her top-notch medical team. Despite the uncomfortable poking and prodding typically associated with these visits, we got to the point where we felt more like we were visiting with friends than getting a physical examination. As a medical team, we worked through pains, heartache, frustrations, funky sights...
Monday, April 29, 2013
Oh the ironies of life. A year ago, I was a skinny guy who loved food, could feed myself, but had no appetite. Today, I’m a chunky monkey (probably from eating a lot of Chunky Monkey ice cream) with a voracious appetite, but I can no longer feed myself. Why oh why do the food gods mock me so!!! Not being able to feed myself, like most things in life, presents some challenges and opportunities. As frustrating as it can be to have a delicious meal right in front of you and not be able to eat it (so close, yet so far ... ), having someone feed you can be very nice. Let’s face it, the...
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
I left my doctor’s office dazed and confused this week. Usually this is a state easily explained by the fact that, being a surgeon, she likes to poke and prod my wound (nice, huh!). So to combat her assaults (and because I’m such a wimp), I usually load up on heavy narcotics (don’t worry, they’re prescribed). However, this week there was no poking. No prodding. No pain meds. Just words. After examining me, my surgeon said the words I’ve been waiting six months to hear: “Your wound is closed. Ditch the full-time bed rest and start spending more time in your wheelchair.” Doth my ears...
Monday, March 11, 2013
As a member of the disabled community, nothing beats seeing one of our own breaking new ground. That’s why, like many of you, I found the story of Oscar Pistorius — the double amputee track star who after dominating the Paralympics went on to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2012 London Olympic Games — to be captivating. Indeed, watching the “Blade Runner” sprinting down the track brought amazement and inspiration to all. But my how things have changed. In one of the craziest plot twists in sports history, Pistorius now faces life in prison on charges of premeditated murder in...
Friday, February 15, 2013
Don’t tell my kids, but rules are sometimes made to be broken. For months now, I've spent my Tuesday mornings at follow-up appointments with my surgeon, and ironically the waiting times associated with those weekly appointments often force me to be in my wheelchair longer than the two hours the doctor has restricted me to. Well, two can play at that game! Now, prior to all this surgery and bed rest nonsense, Casey and I had looked forward to being able to sneak out to matinees and lunch from time to time while the girls were in school. One butt sore later, our plans changed. However, last...
Friday, December 28, 2012
For those of you who know our 5-year-old, you know that she’s a bit of a firecracker. Impetuous and deeply thoughtful, Sammy possesses a unique one-two punch that drives you up the wall and makes you want to squeeze her close all at the same time. A few weeks ago, Sammy began complaining about stomach pain. It became an issue when the tears started flowing and she came home early from school. Not knowing what else to do, we scheduled a visit with the pediatrician (whose experience and know-how has never let us down). When all was said and done, it turns out that, in his expert opinion,...
Friday, December 7, 2012
I've developed a real sense of empathy for the hero in the tale of the princess and the pea. At first blush, she comes across as a finicky girl with mattress issues, but after being sentenced to bed rest myself lately, my perspective has changed. For starters, the girl needed a comfy bed. Where's the crime in that? In order to facilitate my own healing process, I too require a special bed. Gone for now are the nights I spent lying on my pillow top mattress. No, these days you'll find me in the Cadillac of all beds: the Clinitron "air fluidizer" (who knew that was even a word?)....
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Life can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Literally. After a series of back-to-back-to-back trips found me spending too much time sitting on uncomfortable airplane seats and sleeping on concrete-like beds, I developed what we in the wheelchair biz call a good old-fashioned pressure sore. Ouch! While I usually thrive under pressure, this is different. Unfortunately, it’s been two months, and the sore hasn’t gotten any better. In fact, it’s gotten much worse. Now, after spending nearly every other day for the past three weeks in a doctor’s office (four different hospitals, three...
Monday, October 1, 2012
For the first time in recent memory, I spent Labor Day at home with Casey and the girls instead of in a television studio co-hosting the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual telethon. (How was I supposed to know that the Association would frown on my on-air attempt to break the record for most number of FCC fines in a single broadcast?) The Association’s new format was a three-hour show on Sunday night filled with stars like Carrie Underwood and Khloé Kardashian Odom (as if anyone would rather see them instead of me), but their other fundraising efforts over Labor Day weekend continued to...
Friday, August 31, 2012
Like most people, I grew up looking forward to finding and settling down with that special someone. However, unlike most people, I wondered if having a disability would preclude me from that opportunity. Nine years ago, those fears were laid to rest. Nine years ago in May, I should have been out enjoying my bachelor party. Instead, I was at my mother’s house writhing in pain (not exactly how I’d pictured my last night as a single man). Because I knew that if I went to the emergency room, they’d end up admitting me to the hospital and I would miss my wedding. I spent the night trying to...
Monday, April 30, 2012
After reading previous posts regarding my plight as the lone man in a household that runs on estrogen, my dear wife took pity on me and decided to dignify my role as “man of the house” by making me a special treat. (She actually reads my blog! What the what? Note to self: Be more careful about what I write, LOL.) What did she make for my special treat? Man Dinner!!!!!!! Man dinner basically consists of all the delicious foods my cardiologist wants me to avoid. Specifically, she served up kielbasa, bacon, Jimmy Dean sausage, a hard-boiled egg and a bagel with enough cream cheese on it to...
Friday, March 9, 2012
I’m often surprised by how tuned in the kids are regarding my disability. A few years ago, we drove to North Carolina for a week at a beach house (it was awesome). After six hours of listening to them squirm with excitement, we finally arrived. Their first words? “Oh no! There’s no elevator for Daddy to get in!” (They couldn’t see it from the front of the house.) What sweet girls! I’m currently in the process of interviewing potential care attendants, and last weekend I met with several applicants in what felt like a marathon meet-and-greet. Halfway through the interviews, something...
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
One of the most important dynamics of our family has to be teamwork (after all, we’re in this thing together). To help put it in terms the children understand, we’ve relied on our good friends the “Wonder Pets!” who always say, “What kind of work? Teamwork!” (Yeah for quality TV shows!) While every family relies on teamwork, I’ve often wondered to what extent (given my disability) we may ask our girls to help out in nontraditional ways. For example, after a fun trip to the pumpkin patch this weekend (details to follow in a future posting) my tires were covered in dirt (the field may have...
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
It's getting tougher and tougher to impress the kids these days.  For example – I've been asked to co-host the National Capital Region's television broadcast of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) annual Labor Day telethon again (what a mouth full!).  It's always an honor to be asked to co-host and I appreciate the opportunity to do so.  After telling the girls that they'd be on TV too, I figured they would be pretty excited.  Instead, they responded by saying: “OK.  Can we go for a bike ride now?” – Kids these days! I remember getting amped up for my...