I am not as independent as many of the young adults I read about in the SBA newsletter. At 22 I still live at home and do not drive. Right now I really have no intention to change either of these things. I dont feel any less successful or fulfilled than the rest of the world. My life is full and happy. I manage to keep myself busy volunteering my time and energy in our local 4-H club as well as The Mississippi Goat Assoc. where I am the editor of our newsletter.
At times in my life I have become severely depressed when I was not doing the things all my friends were doing such as getting a job or married and moving away from home but now I would not trade my life for anything. I have recently changed my career plans so I will be able to continue to devote my time to my projects with my local 4-H club. For many years my dream was to become a doctor so I could help children who were in the same situation I once was. Now I see I can help kids without the years of college. I know I can make a difference just as I am. It brings me so much joy to help the children learn and grow. I love sharing my passions and knowledge with any child who is willing to listen.
As I have gotten older I have become more comfortable with my medical issues. They have become less of an issue and more just a part of my every day life. Everyone who a life in my house knows I cannot eat or be in contact with bananas, kiwi and the like. Its not a big deal anymore. I am a bit of a picky eater but everyone knows I am not joking when I say I cannot eat bananas as I am sure everyone who has SB or knows someone who as SB knows I am referring to Latex Allergy. It extends beyond food to the medical realm. Latex is what you will find in much medical equipment. I have to be aware of this whenever I require medical attention. Contact with latex could prove critical for me. Home life is also effected since latex can be found in many household objects, toothbrush bristles or the gripper handles on many objects such as writing pens or hairbrushes.
I have other issues. At times they get the better of me. I get frustrated when they invade or interrupt my life but for the most part I try to just take them in stride and move on.
Living with a disability is a growing process. You learn to cope with what life has handed you. I may not always do something the way someone else would but if it is in my power I get it done.
What the future holds no one, not even doctors can say. I am still astounding them by retaining my ability to walk when it was predicted I would be wheelchair bound by my teens. The years have brought changes, good and bad. I have had to surrender some of my independence in certain situations to reserve my limited abilities for other times but I have learned to cope with using my wheelchair in situations to allow me to continue to participate in the things I enjoy. It was hard at first but now it is just routine.
Growing into the person I am and will be is a never ending process. Challenges come my way each and every day. I do my best to meet them positively but I am only human. I get depressed over my limitations. I also realize I am richly blessed to have the abilities I do because not everyone with Spina Bifida is so fortunate to be as independent as I.
Life is a balancing act. You take what it thrown at you and do the best you can. That is all anyone can ask for.