My name is Kyla Daniels. I do not consider myself disabled, I am "differently abled". Although expected in November, I was born in September due to my mom having Pre-Eclampsia and high blood pressure which was dangerous for us both. The only option was an emergency c-section. I was born weighing in at 2 pounds, 4 ½ oz, and 13 inches long. The doctors didn’t think I was going to make it because I was a preemie. My family didn’t give up on me. Through faith and prayers, I made it. Thank God!
Later it was discovered that I had Myelomeningocele, the most severe type of Spina Bifida, which leaves most people paralyzed or with urinary or bowel dysfunction. I had quite a few operations and casts while I was a toddler. While most babies were learning how to walk, I was stuck with a cast on from the waist down to my feet. I was often laid on a couch or bed so my dislocated hip could go into the right place. Yeah right. I was way too stubborn to sit still and let life pass me by.
I was swinging my legs off the couch. I decided to try walking around the coffee table in my cast on both feet. My mom was worried that I would probably hurt myself so she called my Doctor at the time who assured her I would be alright and let me do as I please. After my cast was taken off I was able to experience true freedom. I loved walking and jumping so much I nearly gave my grandma a heart attack by jumping off the last two steps and proudly exclaiming, "I did it!"
As I grew older and started attending school I noticed that I was a lot different from the other kids around me. Although I had a lot of cousins who never treated me differently, I couldn’t say the same for the kids in my class who didn’t understand my condition. I was often mocked about the way I walked, because my right leg was shorter than the left (I had a lift in my shoe but I still walked with a slight limp). It was sad, but I still had a few friends who made it easier for me. Still school was hard when I got older not because of the academics but when I was sometimes left out because of my disorder.
I wasn’t able to walk long distances .I often had to stay behind if my mother couldn’t take the day off to chaperone and push me in my wheel chair. My legs were not always the only problem for me. Sometimes the ability to control my bladder and bowels wasn’t easy. I could never tell when I had to relieve myself until it happened which cause me a lot of embarrassment.
When I was about 9 or 10, the doctors told my parents and I that my bladder was the size of an infant, and it wasn’t really capable of holding as much liquid that I was taking in. So, I had a surgery that expanded my bladder, bladder augmentation. Afterwards I was somewhat uncomfortable because I wasn’t use to feeling pressure of having to relieve myself but in time I got used to it.
When I went back to school I was able to tell my classmates about my birth defect, I feel that educating them about it helped them to understand a bit about what I was going through. Some of them felt sorry for me but most of them were amazed and called me strong. I have to say being called strong made me feel really good about myself.
Later in the years, Spina Bifida wasn’t my only obstacle. The other obstacles were people who didn’t think I would make it in life because of Spina Bifida. Most people felt that because I was "disabled" I couldn’t do things their way. They were both right and wrong. I couldn’t do things their way but I could do them my way. Thankfully I had a lot of people, friends and family, help me get to where I needed to be and what I needed to do.
So now unto you I say this, it’s ok to be stubborn and different.
People will always talk about you, talk you out of something or talk down to you. You can choose to believe it or overcome it. Doctors didn’t think I would live or walk, I proved them wrong. People thought I wouldn’t be able to make it through school because of my "disability". I proved them wrong. Most people think that I can’t make my passion of cooking my dream job, even now I am proving them wrong. Your obstacles do not make you, it’s how you accept them that creates you!