Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spina Bifida Awareness: Meet Nanette!

Even though October and Spina Bifida Awareness Month is over, Tiffany from Growing From the Obstacles still want to continue bringing you a look at what Spina Bifida REALLY is, and the stories of our friends and family who live with it daily!!! We will feature stories of SB families and their journey every Thursday, as long as we have stories to feature!

Today we hear a story from a sweet lady named, Nanette!!

My name is Nanette Martin. I am 39 years old and have Spina Bifida, I will actually be celebrating my 40th birthday just a couple weeks before Christmas, and I DO mean celebrating! I consider it an accomplishment to have made it this far and am so happy to be alive! I was very fortunate that even though I wasn't born in a large city, when I was born there were drs there that had knowledge enough of SB that they knew what to do, and I had life (and function) saving surgery just a few hours after I was born. Within days I was also diagnosed with Hydrocephalus and had a shunt put in as well. So far I've had 32 surgeries, most, but not all, directly linked to my having SB. I walk with crutches and braces, and use a wheelchair for longer distances and/or periods of time.

     I was raised by parents who didn't treat me "special" because of having a disability. They treated me special because I was their little girl, their one and only out of 4 kids. I had brothers who could be my worst tormentors at home and my greatest champions should anyone, other than them, mess with me out in the world. :) I had chores and responsibilities and expectations to do well in school. I was given many opportunities as a child to experience life just like any other kid. I went to "regular" school and was only mainstreamed into public school for 2 years of my elementary education. I went on trips and vacations with my family and traveling is still one of my passions to this day. I went to dances at school, had boyfriends, (a couple of them much to my parent's chagrin!) experienced heartbreak, did things I shouldn't have (and survived!), had best girl friends, one of whom is still my best friend to this day, attempted college, moved out of my parent's house when I was barely 20 years old, made mistakes and had to move back for a time, moved out again with another friend. I've held several jobs, and hope to join the working world again someday. I lived life! 

     That life has not been without it's challenges and I have been in the fight of my life for the last 2 years after experiencing life-threatening complications after having gastric bypass surgery in January 2010. I guess that's why, like I said earlier, turning 40 this year is to me a reason for celebration, because I can honestly say there have been more than a couple times in the last 2 years when things weren't looking good for me. I am truly lucky to be alive and try to remember to thank God every day. Even though I am still fighting, I am starting to feel like the old me again, only better, hopefully healthier in the long run.
     Another reason I have to celebrate is that even amongst all the horror of my medical situation, I was healthy enough this year to go ahead with my wedding, which was originally scheduled for August 2010, but had to be postponed. On May 21, 2011 I married my wonderful husband Brad whom I have been with for almost 7 years now. He has been my rock, and I know I would not be here now if not for him and the love and support of my family, and many prayers from family, friends and loved ones.
Having SB is hard, but LIFE is hard! But life can also be wonderful, and weird and challenging and rewarding. Whatever else it is, it is a gift!
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Nanette!!


Kim said...

Thank you for sharing your story Nanette. :)

I pray you have another 40 years (at least) to enjoy life and your new marriage. Congratulations!