Good afternoon from snowy Minnesota, USA!
Let me introduce myself: My name is Lesli. I have a husband named Ken, two cats named Mango and Butternut, and a freshwater aquarium full of small fish. My adult daughter is on her own now, but we enjoy seeing her frequently. I've lived in Minnesota all my life, but I've traveled all over the U.S. and to England and South America. I enjoy camping, being outdoors, singing in choirs at my church, learning as much as I can about music, and caring for my neighbors' children and pets. Oh, and I also have hydrocephalus.
I worked for close to twenty years in the human medical laboratory industry and in veterinary clinics as a vet assistant. I have a bachelor of science degree in biology, having taken many more credits than I needed because I couldn't narrow down my field of study. Everything fascinates me. I also love to learn. I pursued becoming a medical technician, a physical therapist, a naturalist, and a veterinary technician. I was persistent. It seemed like I was always struggling with medical conditions that were limiting me. Then I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus.
Over the course of my life I've raised rabbits, cats, a dalmatian, fiddler crabs, freshwater fish...even an anole from Florida that piggybacked into my house on a Norfolk Island Pine. I adopted a cockatiel that had escaped from his owners, flown an unknown distance and landed in my neighborhood. One of my cats died from feline leukemia; Matthew's heart stopped because of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Kaci, Gretchen and Princess all died of different types of cancer. The dalmatian had a spinal injury of some kind, but lived to almost thirteen. Feline Heidi and cockatiel Alec actually lived into old age; we were pleasantly amazed. Turns out, I have a medical condition, too.
I've lived along side two parents, my father and my husband's mother, as they struggled with dementia and then passed peacefully away. There have been two suicides in my extended family. I would never consider suicide as an option; I have way too much to live for. I was there when one grandfather, several great aunts, several cousins, an uncle, and both of my grandmothers passed away. To our knowledge, none of them had hydrocephalus, but now I do.
By the age of forty-five years I had already lived a full life of service to others and to God. Actively involved in the Christian church as I was growing up, through my college years, and the years following, I had a firm foundation of faith to rely on. Faith in a loving God who is always by my side. Faith in a just God who acts in our lives for our good. Then, I was diagnosed with the kind of hydrocephalus that is usually diagnosed at birth or soon after. The surgeon said I was probably born with it. Aqueductal stenosis, he called it.
And, guess what? It can't be cured...yet. It can be treated through brain surgery, often several or many. This was my prognosis. I knew what hydrocephalus is, but how could I have it now? I'm not a newborn! I'm forty-five years old!
Well, I'm making it through this latest journey in my life, and I am happy. It's been twelve years since that diagnosis. Twelve years that haven't been easy. I'm still here on the planet and I have a story to tell!
Read The Lakes In My Head: Paddling An Unexplored Wilderness, published by Xlibris Publishing, written by yours truly.