Kristen Is a 56 years old woman from Orange Park Florida . Kristen was born in Columbus Ohio with Spina Bifida. Growing up , her mother did not let her identify herself as disabled. Kristen was delayed with walking and other physical milestones. She learned to compensate. Neurologically....Kristen can’t use her right hand like she can use her left hand.
A fun fact to know , Kristen was born in Columbus, Ohio where the surgeon who perfected the operation to close the back up for Spina Bifida at that time operated on Kristen ! It was a matter of her mom being at the right place at the right time. Kristen’s mother did not know Kristen was going to be born with Spina Bifida . As a baby Kristen had 2 surgeries as a baby....to close her spine then implant a shunt.
Kristen had 0 revisions and one bladder operation when she was 5. A few years ago, Kristen almost had an MRI for some reason, but told them she had a shunt. The X ray showed that it is all calcified and not working. Due to it having metallic properties in the tubing, I can’t have an MRI. At this point the doctor said that the risks outweigh the benefits of removing the shunt. Like many others , Kristen also has scoliosis but hers is moderate .
Kristen's advice for those with Spina Bifida and other disabilities is to make sure you get second opinions. You must seek advocacy or become your own advocate. Kristen was supposed to be in a wheel chair with learning problems. Kristen has lived a somewhat normal life. Kristen is now a mother to 2 grown sons who do not have Spina Bifida. In her spare time Kristen loves to spend time learning the weather and playing with cats. Kristen's future goals are to finish her teaching career as a ESE teacher and retire! Kristen would love to be a parent advocate .