Meet Samantha!

My name is Samantha. I was born January 12th 1987 in Scranton Pennsylvania. I have Myelomenglocele at the L3 level. I am a full time wheelchair user. I am the youngest of 3 children and the only one with a physical disability. Life with this disability has been..let’s say interesting. My parents did not know until after I was born that had I had Spina Bifida and I was born via C-section. My dad is actually the one who had to make the decision to have the doctor do the back closure surgery or let me pass away.
I currently have had over 30 surgeries which were tough for the family since my siblings and I r close in age., 8 by the time I was 2 1/2 years old. one surgery back in 1993, my parents actually drove home from Philadelphia in a blizzard. I’ve had besides the closure for my back, multiple shunt revisions most as a kid (on usually Thanksgiving or Easter) due to having cysts in my stomach until a neurosurgeon had my shunt go to my lung. I’ve had heel cord release on both feet, a Vesicostomy, the Mitrofanoff, Spinal Stenosis, the MACE procedure for bowel. 

My family had a system when I had surgery, at the time my SB doctors were all 2 1/2 hours from home so my mom stayed the whole time with me while dad took care of my siblings and worked, he did come to the day of the surgery to be there for it.

Medical aside, my childhood was pretty normal. I was in regular education classes (I was in remedial math in 8th grade). I went on vacations with my family, fought with my older sister and brother, treated exactly like they were. In 1997 I went to train for 3 weeks with my service dog, Tucker; who would pull my manual chair, pick up things I dropped, bring me things off surfaces and the floor. The interesting part of that was a week and half into the training my shunt decided to malfunction. Tucker went and stayed with me in the hospital and once I was feeling better my trainer would come from Delaware to work with us. needless to say training took 6 weeks instead of 3 weeks since I completed it in the hospital. 

 I graduated from college in 2011, after working at it for 6 years with an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. I currently am a volunteer at a local hospital escorting patients and their families to different areas of the hospital and deliver mail and flowers to patients. I live at home with my parents, a pet corn snake and a Boxer-Pit-bull mix named Lager.

What I hope my story does is show those who read it that despite having Spina Bifida I am just typical.

Living with disabilities,