My life had a rough start. I was born April 30, 1974, about three weeks premature. My mother had a difficult labor. Her water broke, but labor pains hadn’t started, so her labor had to be induced and I was pulled out with forceps. At not even one year old, I was struggling with several health problems. These included a heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot, or blue baby syndrome and hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. I had open heart surgery when I was three years old to correct the hole in between the ventricles of my heart, and a shunt operation to clear out the fluid in my head that was pressing on my brain.
Doctors also think I may have had a stroke, or something happened while I was still developing that caused one side of my body to grow slower than the other. One side of my body is a bit larger than the other. It doesn’t cause any real problems for me, but it’s noticeable in my face. One eye is a bit larger than the other, and one side of my mouth appears to droop when my face is relaxed. Some people have noticed and asked me about it. Others don’t seem to notice, or if they do they don’t ask me about it.
I had my first seizure at about age 5 and have had them sporadically ever since. I have taken different medications to control them. I’ve gone years at a time without a seizure, but still have them occasionally today.
I was enrolled in learning disabled classes in elementary school. I struggled with math; I still have problems with today. I can do what I need to do to get by, but don’t ask me to do any real high-level math — the farthest I made it was through Algebra II in high school, and that was a struggle.
These are the problems I battled in my early years. Some of them persist today, but despite them, I’ve gone on to accomplish some great things in my life. Each accomplishment bolstered my confidence and lead me to accomplish even bigger goals. I’ve also had to fight other battles in my life. In the rest of this book I’ll tell you about my other battles and victories; I hope they’ll inspire and provide hope to others.
👏 This is a very rough draft of a chapter of a longer memoir I hope to publish later this year. If you enjoyed it, please give it a clap.
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