Alma's Story l Embracing Spina Bifida
Hello, my name is Alma Guerrero. I am 22 years old. And I have Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida, which means curved back, is a neural tube defect that happens in the first days of pregnancy. There are different levels of Spina Bifida, and I was born with, Myelomeningocele. Growing up with a disability, or adaptability as I prefer calling it definitely makes for an interesting life. My norm has always been having a whole team of doctors, complex surgeries, physical therapists, occupational therapists, depending on diverse equipment - orthopedic & medical, and a body that definitely shows its differences, once studied closely.
As a child, I didn't really pay much attention to my differences, but around the time I became a teenager that changed. I suddenly began noticing how different I and my life was from everyone else's around me. Not only did I notice the differences, I felt the people around me noticed too. As a result, I became very shy. I kept to myself a lot. I began to resent all I came with.
The only place I felt I could be accepted was online, but for all the wrong reasons. There I created a fake world for myself, where if you didn't know of my reality, I would tell you I lived the complete opposite of it. In this fake world, my adaptability didn't exist. In my head, this was the only way people would get to know me for me, though I lied about almost everything about me. Makes sense, right?
It took me a while to realize that trying to hide who I really was and what circled my life was wrong, but thankfully I figured it out. Once that happened, I felt I had to do the complete opposite of what I had been doing. I felt the only way I was going to see who was really there for me, was by putting my true authentic self out there. So I began sharing my life through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. I began sharing everything from the why's to my unique body form, to the stories of the scars on my body, to the most personal things like my incontinence issues. Which isn't always easy to deal with, especially when I was younger. But after my Mitrofanoff surgery, finding natural fiber supplement to stimulate my bowels, and finding the right size of diapers for me through trial and error, I think I finally got it down today how to handle my incontinence as best as I can. It's not always easy to put yourself out there so boldly, but I felt that in doing so I could show others that there should be no shame in being different. I wanted to show that living with an adaptability isn't the end of the world.
I want to show you can still lead a successful life, regardless of obstacles. I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, and today I can gratefully say it has paid off. Today I have an amazing following, that is alongside me on my journey. Today I get to mentor young children with me and other adaptabilities. Today I get to be a speaker and share my life and all it comes within all sorts of settings. Today I get to live a dream life because I decided to embrace my reality.
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