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Meet Christi Part 1

Posted Aug 21 2009 12:39pm
Name: Christi
Age: almost 30
Your defect(s): Tricuspid Atresia

The best way to start this response is to say: I create, I teach, I laugh a lot. Those three things have been a constant since I was a child and certainly guided me through everything else to come. I was born the first grandchild, first niece, first child you name it; in my family I was a FIRST and I believe most of my family members were learning how to be around a child even more than one who was "different." In their own ways each of them had this bond with me that was unique... and it was wonderful, each taught me a song or a silly hobby or habit and these became the repertoire for the bedside entertainment I provided for nurses and doctors when I was 6 and having my surgery. From the earliest days of my childhood I can remember imagining the world and playing it out in my household, I lived in a universe of make-believe and crafts. The crafts part I have taken with me and can still be found scrap booking or creating "art projects" as friends like to say. Because these were my hobbies, whenever I felt sick or pained I could travel to a place in my mind where life was full of adventure, or I could make something to cheer myself up.
I think being a teenager or pre-teen was when the idea that I was different sunk in more, before then my friends in school had always treated me well and watched out for me. I held the role of the leader, mom, deep thinker in my small Catholic school class. I was certainly more adult than peers at a younger age and often gravitated to helping out teachers, secretaries and the like. Even in HS I volunteered to help out in the Nurse's Office when I was unable to go to gym. I think it was at this point in my life I realized I would either write or teach. Both seemed so ingrained into my being. I wrote to get out what bothered me, I helped people who might be in worse shape than myself to keep perspective. It's no wonder I now teach and write the occasional blog or poem. Although the times in these years proved to be awkward, both because I was going through puberty late and because I was starting to see my own limitations... I did come out of it with a tight group of friends who are phenomenal individuals.
They keep me moving and they have never treated me as less of a person, unique yes, quirky hell yes... but they all are too. My Mom affectionately calls us "The Toys from Misfit Island" naming me Hermie. These are the kinds of people who immediately clean up a mess when I am shaky and drop a glass, they were in charge of remembering my medication in HS. They have been there through palpitations, emotional meltdowns, family crises and more. My one friend a big guy with the most outwardly friendly personality often accompanied me to pediatric cardiology offices and when I would come out of my appointment I would find him leading a game for the kids waiting in the waiting room, or watching some kids movie which I would have to tear him away from. Other friends would search endlessly with me to find bathing suits that would cover my scar, so it wouldn't burn or find a dress for formals that wouldn't make all my veins stand out. They were my rock when I was having scary moments and being looked down on by peers. Many outside observers could not appreciate the extra help or extended time I sometimes received to finish projects or assignments. Had any of them followed me home, or visited like my core group did they would know I was pushing as hard as I could to be "normal". They were a source of comedy, sometimes finding new ways to cheer me up, reviewing the day I had missed in school through mock productions of HHS Live, or generally being their goofy selves... I still have laughs with them about all our shared memories good and bad
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