Becoming the Real Me

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Becoming the Real Me

Aubrie Lawrence, Staff Writer

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In a way, I never lost a limb. You can never lose something that you never had. Many people have asked me if I was in an accident, but my story is a lot less interesting. I was born with congenital amputation, a birth defect that is caused by blood clots forming in a fetus. Though doctors know what causes the defect, they don’t know what causes the blood to clot, other than a fibrous band wrapping itself around a forming limb. By the time my parents found out of this defect, it was too late to do anything. Most of the time there is nothing that can be done. The fibrous band is hard to see in an ultrasound, no doctor can really knowing that it is on the limb.  My parents faced the disability head on and began planning for me living life one handed in a two handed world.

Although not ideal, this birth defect has not stopped me from living a normal life. I am able to do a multitude of things that a normal person would do with two hands. I have trained myself to play a trumpet, and march it, with using only my one hand. I have also been a dancer for 13 years and plan on continuing to dance, until I graduate.  People adapt and that is just what I have done.

I would never have been able to do any of these things if it wasn’t for the motto that I live by. The motto, “Just give her a second to figure things out” is something that my prosthetics doctor, Dr. Chris Hoyt, has said for many years. This motto came around when we were working on one of the countless arms that he has designed for me. I was having a hard time getting the myoelectric hand to open, so he told me to take a break and to relax, a few minutes later I was able to get the hand to open and close. It has become an annual thing to allow me to take my time and let me figure it out, when we are in his office. The motto tells me that it is okay if I don’t get anything perfect on the first time and to relax and keep trying until I get it, and I always seem to get it in the end.

Though I always laugh at the one armed jokes that people, as well as make them, and try to act confident about the person I am, it was not always that way. When I was little, I would never leave the house without having my arm on. I was petrified of what people would say about me, as well as the looks they would send my way as I walked down the street. In a way, I was ashamed of who I was and would often worry that nobody would ever like me because of my disability. Those feelings left me shy and insecure. Through elementary school, I had few friends that were actually interested in being friends with me. Most of the girls I was friends with only hung out with me because our mothers knew each other and thought it would be good for me. As time passed, I found more and more friends that were actually there for me. They made me feel special and accepted the person I was. Those friends were what filled my world and I was able to leave behind the friends that weren’t there for me.  

Today, I look at myself, and for the most part, like the person I have become. I am now comfortable enough to go out in public without my prosthetic, and ignore the stares that people throw my way. I believe that I would never be the person that I am today if it wasn’t for my disability. It has made me a more humble, more caring person than I would have been if I had two arms.  So, I thank my disability for giving me the opportunity to meet amazing people that I would have never met without it, and for making me the person I am today.

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