Family matters and more.

I was born into a family that one could say was “blended”. I have three siblings, all from my father’s previous marriages, and my mother had a built a reputation for being talented in two areas: cooking and interior decorating. My oldest sister, Shannon is a librarian; my middle sister Katie is a stay at home mom who was previously a missionary; my brother Kenny is a VP for a big financial company.

My mom grew up in a Baptist family, and my dad grew up Presbyterian. When my mom was in her 30s, she discovered the Episcopal church and met my dad; both of them were welcomed into the Episcopal faith before they were married. My parents were very involved in the Episcopal diocese of Alabama, and were leaders in Cursillo, a major movement in the Episcopal faith. Cursillo is defined as an apostolic movement, and is best described as a pilgrimage for Christians. Growing up, my family also actively participated in Ultreya, which means “Onward!”  I grew up in a faith-filled household, and that still remains today.

On a more personal note, I live with Tuberous Sclerosis which is defined as “a rare multi system genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and another vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, liver, eyes, lungs, and skin. ” I was diagnosed with this at 6 months old after my mom noticed I was having grand-mal (or tonic-clonic) seizures. After an EEG and several other tests, my parents received a diagnosis. However, they were told that I would probably be severely delayed, not being able to talk or walk. My mom was convinced that would not happen.  2 major facial surgeries, 10 different anticonvulsants, multiple laser facial treatments, MRIs, bloodworm, and EEGs later and I am the healthiest and most stable I have ever been.

My family relied on faith a lot during those rough times, and it is that same faith that I live with every day. I am blessed to have supportive parents, great siblings, and multiple close friends. However, I honestly believe that it is my faith that has gotten me to this point and even though the medicines have worked, I feel that God gave me a purpose that not even my parents could have predicted. Family matters when you’re going through something like TS, but I truly believe that family and faith are what matters the most.

I am grateful to have great doctors, but I am even more grateful that God gave me the family I have, because I couldn’t have gotten this far without them.

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