Fracture Free Friday

This week's Fracture Free Friday post marks the blog's 30th entry! The growth of this project has been astonishing and even more admirable are the people, new friends, and the community that has welcomed me.

182 Facebook friends
15 Twitter followers 
22 Google Blogger followers
That's roughly 200 some people who have on some level welcomed me into their lives. None of this could have been possible without the time each of you take to read my ramblings, the wonderful messages of encouragement I am sent, and all of our shared experiences with O.I. So for today's Fracture Free Friday post I am thankful for YOU! I had readers submit ANY question they wanted me to answer in today's post (they did not have to be OI-related), and I have chosen three to answer.

Q: If you have a milder form of O.I. and look 'normal' how and when do you tell a guy that you're interested in (but not dating yet) about the O.I.? 
A: Before I answer this question I will say that I asked a good guy friend of mine who does not have O.I. his opinion. I was relieved to find that we both had the same response. 
For those who have a milder form of O.I. your disability may seem invisible. There might not be a  wheelchair, severely bowed limbs, or a significant height difference to hint at having brittle bones. As if initiating a relationship is not nerve-wracking enough throwing in a physical disability can only add to the stress. My advice would be to take it one step at a time. Telling the guy about the O.I. at the outset may be overwhelming, especially if you're not dating yet. The way I view it, O.I. is not a separate part of my identity and in fact it's just as much a part of who I am as my personality is. Letting the guy or girl get to know you will allow the O.I. to come up naturally, this way talking about the O.I. will not seem forced or awkward before anything has begun. And of course, as ideal or cliche as this may sound, I believe it's true: the right guy will look past the O.I. or, even better - see it as an added asset to who you are as a person. 

Q: What was your social life like in high school? How did you balance hormones, being in a wheelchair and participating in all the things your friends did? 
A: I was the only one at my very small high school in a wheelchair. But this didn't stop me from having crushes, going to prom, escaping from school grounds, or being on the debate team. For the first two years my social life in high school was exactly that, it was pretty much limited to INSIDE high school. None of my friends drove yet and outside of going to friend's houses for school projects, I didn't socialize outside of the classroom or the 3min of passing time in the hallways that much. My parents were incredibly over protective of me and all through elementary, middle, and high school I had never had a sleep over in my life. Not only were my parents over protective of me but they were also adamant about putting school first. As long as there was an academic reason for going somewhere or doing something with someone it was okay with them. After two and a half years I figured out that I could go to a friend's house to "work on projects" - and a few times I even got the parent's of my friends in on this gimmick! 
But still there were too many days when I would get dressed without looking in the mirror, or just avoid reflections of myself for the entire day. I hated the way my body was too small, too childish, too bowed, just...too.. awkward at the time in comparison to so many of my tall and perfect figured teenage friends. Needless to say this took a toll on my self-esteem and there were months when I would hang out with no one and sit in front of my computer day in and day out. It was the combination of an English teacher and my own interests in writing that dug me out of that hole. I decided to capitalize on the love that I had for writing and in a way focused on that with such intensity that I shifted the attention from my body to my writing ability. I became editor of the school paper and literary magazine, quickly befriended other kids who were interested in writing and had poems published in the town paper. This hobby of mine soon became my 'social life' in a safe way that assured my parents I wouldn't get hurt, but also was something I genuinely enjoyed. 
Figuring out a social life and meshing it with who you are/what you are capable of can definitely be a tricky dance. My take-away advice for this would be to put at the focus of your social life the 1 thing you truly enjoy, that you could do for hours on end. Then, find others who are interested in the same thing - after that and with time, things will fall into place. 

Q: Do you regret being older and having missed out on the Pamidronate treatments that so many OI kids today routinely receive? 
A: No. Since I have begun this blog and friended many parents of young kids with O.I. I have seen the incredible advancements in the medical field. I see many picture of kids who are able to walk and stand without a walker or crutches, and kids who will grow to be far taller than I could ever hope to be as a result of the Pamidronate treatments. This is unbelievable and whenever I see these pictures I smile with envy and have great hope for the future. But I don't regret not having gotten the Pamidronate. As a young adult I have become 'used to' this life and am proud of the adaptations I have learned to make, and the challenges that I have overcome. I wouldn't trade those memories and experiences for anything. 
At the time I had first heard of the Pamidronate treatments I was half way through high school, the frequency of my fractures had dwindled, and I had already reached my full height. Back then the treatments were still in trial stages and the doctor's running the trial told my family that the future effects of the medicine were still largely unknown. After conversing with my orthopedic doctor and my family members we decided to forego participating in the trial stages of the Pamidronate. I was at a physically sound and stable time of my life and there didn't seem to be a pressing need for me to jump into something that was still, at the time, being explored.  

I had enormous fun reading all of the questions that I was sent. If your question was not answered in this post, please know that I have kept all of them and will continue to solicit more questions to respond to in the future!!

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