Hi friends! October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month!
It's an awesome time to remind folks what spina bifida really looks like. i.e. not something horrible and ugly but rather an awesomely cute little girl on the left side of your screen there!
So today... some basics!
Spina bifida is considered a birth defect. It takes place in utero typically before a woman even realizes that she is pregnant (week 3 or 4). And spina bifida is permanent. There are surgeries to repair the defect, but science has no created a way to regenerate the nerve damage lost. So, if your cousin's brother's wife's friend's hair dresser had spina bifida once but is fine now, then she was maybe healed by a guy that walks on water...
Having said all that, there definitely are varying forms of spina bifida. Some are extremely mild and people lead completely ordinary lives! Did you know that 1 in 4 people actually have spina bifida occulta and don't even know it?! Seriously!
However, the most common form is myelomeningocele (my-lo-my-nin-ja-seal) and it is also the most severe form. Bummer.
Myelo spina bifida means that the nerves of the back are wiiiiide open and receiving full damage until repaired. They are protected by nothing. Unfortunately, this is the type of spina bifida that Eliza has. And her lesion begins at the T12 vertebrae (the last vertebrae in your thoracic area, about belly button level), which is relatively high. From that point down, things are questionable at best, but typically fully paralyzed.
That's enough facts for now, but let me leave you (today and each day) with the most important thing...
They don't suffer from spina bifida. They aren't defined by spina bifida.
Having spina bifida definitely means you might do a few things in a different way, and that's okay!
Inclusion is the new cool, friends!