My name is Barbara but I truthfully prefer to be called Barbie. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I now live in Puerto Rico (I’ll explain in my next installment). I was born prematurely as a result, I have a host of disabilities. The primary of which is known as Hydrocephalus, this condition literally means I have water in the brain. How is this treated may be your question? A shunt. What is a shunt? A shunt is a small plastic tube that goes from the brain to the stomach, which drains cerebral-spinal fluid. This condition affected many areas of my brain such as the areas controlling my muscle strength and to a certain extent my eyes.
The disease affected my strength in that a regular person is able to twist a bone and is able to splint it and go I, on the other hand must be operated if I have a severe sprain. I also am losing my eyesight at a fast rate currently I have night blindness as well as poor depth perception. In addition to this I am bipolar with psychotic features. That diagnosis was arrived at through my father’s bloodline and the psychotic features is simply because I may be speaking to you and may happily thinking of ways to hurt my self not to worry I am medicated and under control (LOL).
I am also an epileptic, for those of you who do not know epilepsy is a condition where the brain’s electricity does not work properly causing seizures or involuntary movements of the body while a person loses consciousness. I get migraines as a result of the hydrocephalus and trove of other conditions. What I just I just gave you were the most severe and chronic.
The main thing to keep in mind as I tell you my story is the prognosis (life expectancy and quality of life) of a hydrocephalic. Generally this condition is congenital (a person is born with it) I was not; mine was acquired (it was caused by malpractice). The quality of life of a hydrocephalic is worse the longer it takes to diagnose it because water pressure damages the brain. In my case the shunt was implanted at three days old. However my prognosis was the following: I was to be a quadriplegic (paralyzed from the neck down) unable to do any of my functions for myself. Forever dependent on others academically and vocationally I was predicted to reach a HS if that, via special education at best.
I decided to bore you with a bit of my medical history so you would truly understand the rest of my story and where I was coming from. My next installment should be overcoming my obstacles and education.*Barbara graduated Summa come laude with a degree in psychology and counseling more specifically school counseling. She is currently finishing her masters in marriage and family counseling.