Saturday, January 26, 2013

Because life is serious sometimes.

I wrote this a while back about having a clubfoot. Thought I might share it in case there are any other clubbies out there curious to know my story. If you have a clubfoot, I am part of a private group on Facebook that is specifically for adults/teens with clubfoot. Let me know, and I'll add you to the group. :) 

I was born with a severe left club foot in South Carolina in 1988. I won't get too technical about procedures unless someone is curious because it takes a long time and then I forget what order they were in, etc.

I currently receive treatment from the Medical University of South Carolina. I have accelerated osteoarthritis and degenerative bone joint disease resultant from a congenital birth defect known as 'club foot.' What that translates into is chronic pain, limited function, and a chip on my shoulder the size of Greenland (since I'm being honest.)

Being a 24-year old with a former club foot is like going to a fireworks show and closing your eyes. You can still hear all the excitement in the world around you: the people, the distinct pop of fireworks, but you pretty much miss the point of the whole experience.  Sure, someone could explain fireworks to you, but it’s not the same.

Life with a clubfoot is not the same as other people’s lives. We’re not with the “normal” people, and we don’t quite fit in with disabled people either because our problems aren’t obvious when you look at us. (See: chip on the shoulder the size of Greenland)

I used to wish all of my physical problems away. I used to torture myself watching other people dance in their costumes. I've made excuses for my entire life about why I don't go and do certain things like camping trips, shopping excursions, a walk down the beach. As a child, I never told anyone what was wrong with me. Looking back, I guess I didn't figure out that having a disability wasn't my fault. So I feigned disinterest, made excuses, and wore ugly shoes to my great dissatisfaction.

I think I was about 20 when I figured out I could be happy and be in pain at the same time. Which is sort of ridiculous, but, you know. That’s life! I've had more reconstructive surgeries than I care to count, which has helped me, but are temporary fixes. All of us who have had clubfeet at some point come to the realization that someday soon we may not be able to walk or care for ourselves. It is a constant thought, but very real and pretty scary.

However, I can still walk. To anyone who has experienced life in a wheelchair or crutches, this is a tremendous gift. The scars and the physical deformity affected me mostly as a child when I was afraid what other people would think. Now I wear what I please and paint my toenails every color under the sun. I won’t lie and say I am not jealous of women who wear pretty heels, but I am happy to not be ashamed about it anymore. Besides, it’s usually pretty amusing to have shoe sales people stare down quickly and make sure I wasn’t mistaken about having a size 5 left foot and a size 8.5 right foot.

To tell you the truth, if I had a wish, I would probably still wish to have normal legs. However, I am accepting of what has happened to me. I am working on finishing my Bachelor's degree in Social Work. Having a disability that is not easily seen has made me an empathetic person. Without having a club foot, I seriously doubt I would be able to do what I do now. A great thing about having a clubfoot is you are able to look past people’s outward appearances to a certain degree because you understand that not all problems are easily seen. 

I think for anyone else out there suffering, my advice is to accept your club foot because, let's face it, it's not going anywhere. Explore options with different doctors, and try not to push yourself physically when it hurts because it only makes a mess. I don't want to say I've tried everything, but I feel like I have. Orthotics, surgery, tens units, creams made especially for me, canes, wheelchairs, shoe inserts, hostility, pain killers, therapy, and ablations for nerve endings. I am the bane of my insurance company's existence. I am not a doctor, but I know what I'm talking about. Stick with what works for you, and be respectful of your clubfoot.

Oh, one more bit of advice: if you get tired of explaining about what a clubfoot is, try making up an outrageous story—like you were trying to lasso Nessie and slipped. It kind of breaks the ice and makes people a little more comfortable when they realize people who have a disability have a sense of humor, too. It’s then easier to explain about your disability and that you’re still a person capable of making a joke.

If anyone has any questions, or needs someone to listen to your dealings with your club feet, let me know. I am always curious about how others cope or any options I haven’t explored myself.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things I have learned today:

1. I shouldn't start labor-intensive crochet/knitting projects in the middle of the night.

I'll Google free crochet or knitting patterns for about an hour and find all sorts of wonderful things to make. The current result of such endeavors is, from left to right: The beginning of a lap blanket, about one third of a left slipper (which I didn't make big enough to even reach my toe and is thus useless,) one half-finished pot holder, about two-thirds of a beanie, and four four strips for a blanket (32 are required,) and a big ball of yarn mess (not pictured but very real.)

I did get to finish a baby blanket for baby Ross (Bryant's sister's new baby boy-- although he is a couple months old now.) It's sitting underneath all of those other projects.

2. The platypus is venomous.

Apparently the male platypus has a spur on the back of one of its legs that disperses venom that is harmful to humans.

I mean, come on. The platypus lays eggs, has a bill like a duck, and has a body that looks like a blob. It needed one thing that was kinda cool.

3. Scrap booking stores are like ADHD playgrounds.

I went with Mom today to pick up something she needed for PTSA. I'd never been in a scrap book store before. Let. Me. Tell. You. Any kind of paper you ever wanted: it's there. Along with everything you would ever need to make the cutest Christmas cards in the world. Want some jingle bells to attach to your Christmas cards this year? They have them... in every color of the rainbow. It was like a free-for-all glitter wonderland. I could lose a lot of money in that store.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Throughout the past few months I have accomplished quite a few things that I was not always sure were possible. It is good to think about the good things in my life. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Trident Technical College with an Associate's Degree in Applied Science: Human Services with concentrations in Gerontology, Family Intervention Studies, and Addictions. (See ya, Trident! Hello, Limestone.)

I have worked with a person with Alzheimer's disease; sharing and enjoying the wonderful moments that are given to us in life as well as remaining with him as things became difficult. I have come to lean on the gospel of Jesus Christ-- learned of the creation of the world, the plan of salvation, and of our eternal nature. It is my faith that allows me to view the hardships of this mortal world as a part of a greater plan. I know with all of my soul that these trials are only for a short time; that we are all children of our Heavenly Father who loves us very much.

I have become an aunt! A real-life aunt to my beautiful niece, Jessie. I adore her and cannot wait for her to visit us in South Carolina again.

I have a sister who is getting married next month. I don't know if it's quite gotten into my head yet, but I am truly happy for her and excited to have a new brother-in-law! (The only picture I have with them is one from my graduation so y'all get another gander at the getup.)

I have a supportive family who has helped me. I also have a special someone (whose name is Bryant) who listens to me and loves me. I may not get to see all of them as much as I would like but I am so grateful for them every day of my life. I tend to get caught up on all the hoopla that is life, but with all these good people around me, nothing is too bad. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

My life the past week or so.

Audrey and I have spent a lot of time together lately. I'll guide you through what happens just about every day.


Early Afternoons:

Late Afternoons when Colton comes home:

Early Evenings:


Monday, April 11, 2011

"Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue."

"What if beyond this... you really can see and hope for all the best and right things that God has to offer? Oh, it may be blurred a bit by the perspiration that keeps running riverlike into your eyes, and in a really difficult fight one of the eyes might even be closing a bit; but faintly, dimly, and ever so far away you can see the object of it all. And you say it is worth it, you do want it, you will fight on. Like Coriantumr, you will lean upon your sword to rest a while, then rise to fight again." -- Jeffrey R. Holland

Sometimes I can see what I have been working so hard for. Some days I can see myself in the future; a successful and happy person who works diligently and makes a difference. Other days it feels as though the whole world has turned against me in a relentless effort to pull me down, or keep me from moving forward. Which is a ridiculous notion, but a real feeling nonetheless.

I hardly think, though, that many things could keep me from fighting. I have learned to go forward and make my own way. If all else fails, I am extremely stubborn. I think it is an Anderson trait ingrained long-ago; a trait I am grateful for. I can say for certain that at the end of my trials I will be able to say that I fought hard... that I tried and that I learned from my experiences things that could not otherwise have been learned.

There is a poem written by Dylan Thomas titled "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." To me it is a beautiful piece of work.

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light