I have many talents.  Walking on my hands is among them.   This is me in South Florida on the beach.   How I learned to do this is another post for another time.  I wanted to show this picture because it shows what my body became because  I did not do my exercises and stretches as the physical therapist instructed me to do.  As a result of not listening, my body locks at my knees and hips.   At one time my body could straighten which allowed me the opportunity to stand using a para-podium.   This is kind of  like leg braces that reach from the hips and have a platform at the bottom.   Since I kept falling over (because I moved rather quickly) it was decided I should use my wheelchair most of the time.  As you can see, my body looks like the shape of a chair.   Parents, I can’t stress enough the importance of doing the stretches if your child’s physical therapist has directed it.   The one thing I miss most is the ability to sit straight up on the floor with my legs straight out.   Before doing any kind of exercise or stretches, I would strongly suggest consulting with a physical therapist, first.  

As far as my talent; walking on my hands, there was a time I worked with a fitness trainer.  She asked me to do 50 push-ups on my hands!   After resting a short moment at 25 reps, I went on to complete the whole 50!   Don’t try this without a professional trainer to assist. 

In Elementary school I was rather popular for spelling bees.  Especially in third grade.   Our school had lots of spelling bees.   There was one in particular that I will never forget.   My class went up against another class.  Unfortunately, my class as a whole wasn’t up to par that day as their spelling was incorrect to the point that I was eventually the only one left in my class competing against most of the kids in the other.  

Not to fear.  I was very confident in my ability to spell.  That ability slowly but surely led me to win the spelling bee for my class that day.  I remember after I won everybody in my class shouted with joy!   That was a great feeling.

While spelling bees added to a lot of joy in Elementary School, my secondary issues related to Spina Bifida were not. 

During those days, I had what was called an illio conduit.  It was a small hole in my tummy that drained urine into a urostomy bag.   When it leaked I was afraid that others might notice so I would quickly get my teacher’s permission to leave the class and go call my mom to come take me home to change.   I was scared that the kids might notice (to which they did) that I had on different clothes when returning to school.   I remember thinking to myself with each occurrence, “I wish had two pair of every piece of clothing I wear.”

Using the restroom at school was an everyday stress,too.  When I went into the stall to drain my bag, there was always a kid climbing the stall to see if they could see how I used the restroom.   Sometimes 2 or 3 at a time!

As time has gone on I’ve learned to be up front and open about my secondary issues.  That has helped me live a better social life as well as helped me trust others.   Sometimes I look back and wonder if things would have been different if I had just been more transparent about it. 

When I turned around 20 I had an operation so that I would be able to remove the conduit so that I could use the bathroom like any other male; the only exception was that I used and still use disposable catheters.   Believe it or not, that surgery lasted 14 and a half hours.  But it was worth it if I could live a more normal life.