I want to begin by thanking everyone for all their messages in regards to my last blog. It is comforting to know that others feel the same as I do when it comes to grief. Sadly, my grandfather passed away last week. It was a terrible loss but there was a sense of relief as well, which I did not expect. He was suffering so much it was difficult to watch him wither away. I am sad he is gone but I am comforted in knowing that he is no longer suffering. He is in heaven where love and happiness is endless. I will miss him deeply but I know he has moved on to a better place. Thank you again for all your support!
In order to know where we are going we need to know where we come from.
I definitely did not have the easiest childhood. I came from a low socioeconomic status family but had no idea what that even meant until high school. I never noticed because I guess many of my peers had similar lifestyles as me. Hand me downs were plenty, pasta was eaten often and vacations and new toys were scarce. I always had to wait until Christmas before I could get a new item. I know my parents did everything they needed to do to make sure we survived and they loved us immensely. They did the best they could with what was given to them because if you ask me, they got a shitty hand to start their married lives off.
When I was 3 and a half years old I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis "causes joint inflammations and stiffness"(1). I have no recollection of this time being so young or maybe just due to the fact that it is too painful to remember. It took many hospital visits, scans and needles to diagnose me with this autoimmune disease. Doctors told my parents that I would never walk again. One of the few memories that I have during those years is having to sleep with splints on my limbs. It is such a vivid memory in my brain because I remember feeling sorry for myself. I was in so much pain and crying because I did not want to sleep with them, I was in so much pain. Actually all my memories, even though they are few, are encompassed around me being in tears from eating food I did not like or from the pyshio that brought a lot of pain. But all these things that my mother forced on me were necessary to overcome the disease.
During the same time of my diagnosis my mother gave birth to my baby sister who at 10 days old had to have heart surgery. She was diagnosed with a Coarctation of the aorta. It "is a narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that branches off your heart and delivers oxygen-rich blood to your body. When this occurs, your heart must pump harder to force blood through the narrowed part of your aorta."(2)
My parents being 24 & 27 had to face the world with two very sick children.I went into remission after 4 years of struggling with arthritis and we proved the doctors wrong. I did walk again because my mother made sure that I took my medication, did physio three times a day and ate the proper foods. My sisters surgery went well and she recovered and has been stable since.
I wish I could say that this was the only health struggle I had to deal with, but it is far from over. The scars on my body do not come from this time in my life but from other physical challenges I had to face. Fast forward to the year 2000, when a new series of events began that changed and affected my family and I forever.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on February 5, 2017
:Understanding Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis -- the Basics. https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/understanding-juvenile-rheumatoid-arthritis-basics#2L.
Mayo clinic Staff on March 6, 2018. Coarctation of the aorta. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coarctation-of-the-aorta/symptoms-causes/syc-20352529