November 18 2013

I’m a pretty normal 15 year old in Grade 10. I have a pesky little sister, she’s 13. I love my dog Coda. We like to call him our ‘brother’. He’s a little shih tzu (that sounds funny if you say it out loud). I go to high school so life is busy.

I wasn’t born with a difference but I have one now. It wasn’t an accident or trauma that caused my difference. I have Juvenile Arthritis that has affected my joints particularly my jaw and the shape of my face. When I was 9, we discovered that my jaw was only the size of a 5 year old. That was because my jaw joints were eroding away.

The doctors are planning to operate on my jaw in the near future. They’re just waiting for me to stop growing. I’m looking forward to my surgery even though I’m a little scared because I really want it.

I still get frustrated about having Juvenile Arthritis and I can unleash my fury sometimes. My parents installed a heavy bag in my bedroom for me to hit when I feel like I need to. It’s a great release! And it’s pretty sweet that I have a punching bag in my room.

How did I get involved with AboutFace? My parents were actually the first ones to make contact after being referred by the hospital. They wanted me to go to Camp Trailblazers. I met a few of the experienced campers and even went to a few AboutFace events before I decided to go.

This was my first year at camp. I was a little worried about going and was a little apprehensive on my first day. The bus there and back was lot of fun. I was nervous at first to ask kids what was their difference but everybody was really open to sharing and that made it really easy to talk to everyone. I made some good friends and we still text to stay in touch. I’m definitely going back next year. The zip line is mine to own! My mom says she has seen a big change in me since I went to Camp Trailblazers.

With my AboutFace friends I can be as crazy as I really am; they know the real me. I might hold back a little bit with my other friends. I’m already a bit different than them on the outside so I’m not sure they will get my craziness.

I’m into running, reading, and I’m a great tree climber. I may not be fearless but I do like overcoming my fears. I just don’t like it when scary movies mess with my mind and stuff like that.

What else do I like? Manga, Anime, Japanese music, I can’t get enough of it. At school, I like art, drama, music (no surprise there), but I’m not okay with Math. I thought that’s why they invented calculators.

My future? Maybe a make-up artist or even better, a Manga artist. My mom is a teacher so she wants me to get a good education. She’s also told me that perhaps marriage, kids, and buying a house are part of my future plan too. I may toss in a few other items before I follow that plan. Whatever I choose, my difference will never hold me back. AboutFace has been a big help with that.

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