Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thankful That We Are Not Alone - Guest #2

This is a very interesting perspective that my very dear friend, Lynn, was able to give us as parents...I, personally, found this fascinating and encouraging all at the same time.

"The Way I Am

I was born with a profoundly cleft palate. What this means is that the entire roof of my mouth, including my uvula was missing. At the time, there was a new surgery to repair what was missing. I was actually the very first child in my hometown to have a successful repair using this method, which is now the medical standard. I had two surgeries, one at 17 months and another at 3 and a half, which I still remember. By the time I was 4, all the worry and work was over with and aside from some extra dental work I would need, I was mostly just like every other kid, medically speaking.

Now that you know my medical story, I'll let you in on how it really affected me. I didn't know any different. I had never been a child without a cleft so I missed nothing. I wasn't sad that I had to be weened and drinking from a straw by the time I was 16 months old. Sure, it was hard on my parents, but to me, it was just how life was. I had my last surgery right before Easter which meant no chocolate bunnies for me, but my hospital room was filled with stuffed bunnies that friends had sent. They were more comforting and lasted a good bit longer than any chocolate bunny. I was thrilled. I do not remember any pain. I remember my parents insisting that my medical care be perfect. I remember being loved and cared for. I do remember being afraid of people in white uniforms like nurses, split toilet seats like hospitals have, and plain rectangular band-aids, but those fears quickly vanished, thanks in part to my grandfather bribing me. I wasn't afraid of doctors and hospitals because they make you feel better.

Things were actually more difficult for me when I started school. My voice was more nasal than everybody else so I got picked on by the mean kids. My friends stood up for me until I was ready to stand up for myself. It was a bit of a shock to me because every time I went to a doctor they marvelled over how well I spoke. I chose to believe the doctors knew what they were talking about and that kids were just uneducated on how special I was. I had worked hard to learn to talk and no one was taking that from me. It also helped when I noticed that every child was picked on about something, even the kids that had born perfectly normal. I just had a doctor's note for mine.

Now that I am an adult, having a cleft is almost never an issue. Mostly it comes up in doctor's offices because it is kind of hard to miss when you look in my mouth. In short, all the bad is gone and the good remains. To me, although it was my cleft, it was my parent's battle. They were the ones who knew how different my life was. They were the ones who had to deal with all of the special issues. My parents had to come to terms with my birth defect. I wasn't different to me, I was the way I had always been."

To enjoy more of Lynn's thoughts on life in general, follow her blog The Life and Times of Rixie the 4th. She is always a pleasure to read!


  1. What an interesting perspective! thank you for sharing this!

  2. well, I would have to say you must have had incredibly balanced parents for you to be able to have this amazing perspective. A window into the view point of the child is great.

  3. Thanks! I'll tell my parents you said that. They were pretty serious about it just being something to deal with and not who I was. They never treated me like I was fragile and because of that I rose to be stronger than I would have without this challenge. (oh man, that was good, I should have worked that into my post lol)

  4. Such a wonderful reflection, Lynn! I love, especially, your thoughts on the ugly peers - Doctors know better than little kids. I'm convinced that God's lays a blanket of grace over so much of our lives that protects us . I believe this is one such example. You could have been emotionally scarred in a way that was less "correctable" than a cleft repair. . . But He covered you "in the cleft of His arm" and allowed you to grow up into an amazing woman, strong and beautiful in body and spirit! Thank you for taking time to share your story - and encourage those who are yet to travel similar passages with your testimony of God's faithful hand!

  5. That was so helpful to read= thanks for sharing this!Parents do worry a lot about hard times being damaging but there are good things, a seasoning so to speak that provides wisdom like yours!