For today’s post I’d thought I’d talk a little bit more about myself. My name is Penny Lynn and I was born on September 16th, 1981; which after a quick search on Google I find it was a Wednesday. I could probably use Google to tell me what the weather was like but figured that might be over the top.
I was born in Kitchener Ontario Canada, at the time of my birth my family consisted of my mom Marian, my dad Allan, and my two older sisters Pam and Crystal. I don’t really recall where exactly we were living but I’m pretty sure it was in a little area in town known as Centreville, pretty sure we lived in a townhouse complex.
I’m currently 36 years young and not quite sure how that happened. Time just kind of flew by; it’s odd that with the passage of time it feels as if it goes faster the older you get. Would you agree?
I was born with two craniofacial conditions called Goldenhar Syndrome & Left Hemiofacial Microsomia. I’m not sure if my parents knew ahead of time that I was going to be born this way. I have memories where I thought we talked about how it was a shock but I don’t always trust my memories. I spent a good amount of time at my local hospital KW hospital now known as Grand River Hospital before being all packed up and flown by helicopter to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. I’m ptretty sure based on limited information I have I spent the first year of my life or near it in Hospital. When I was born I weighed about 2.04kg (4.5 pounds) and I was born at full term.
Sadly I don’t have any pictures of me as a baby so I can only imagine what I looked liked. The two conditions I was born with impact the bone and soft tissue formation in the face and typically impact only one side (but not always). For me my left side was just missing a good chunk of the structures. I was born with no bottom left side jaw bone, no left cheek bone, the bridge of my nose was not present, half of my left eye lid was missing, my esophagus slants at an odd angle to the left and my top jaw was in two pieces. I also had a number of skin tags just randomly placed although I’m not sure how many. Must have been quite a few as this is the tissue they used to reconstruct the missing half of an eyelid.
I’m not sure if NG tubes or feeding tubes directly in the stomach were widely used in the 80’s or even trachs but I didn’t have any of those. My mom told me that to feed me she used an eye dropper. Can you imagine how long that would have taken? I know had I been born in the 2000’s I’d most like have been tube fed.
In addition to my eyelid being fixed my palate was sewn together however to this day my top jaw is still technically in two pieces it remains what’s is called as an un-repaired midline cleft. It does make a difference that I can tell but I do know that the roof of my mouth is more like the top of a pyramid and not rounded like yours most likely is. This is probably why I can’t whistle, blow bubbles from bubble gum, or even blow up balloons. My tongue also seems to be misshaped and I actually can’t stick my tongue out. When I try it reaches the very tip of my lips but it’s not very visible. When I was younger and I wanted to stick my tongue out at a kid who was being mean I used to get my sister Crystal to stick her tongue out at them on my behalf.
Most adults who were medically fragile as kids are able to say how many surgeries they went through but I honestly cannot say. I don’t know how many procedures and actual surgeries I had as a kid. From my memory I’ve had my nose fixed twice, deviated septum fixed twice, two attempts to fix my jaw. The first one I kind of remember but nothing really. Two reversals of said attempts to fix my jaw, plus a few minor procedures some to do with my condition some not related at all. Oddly I still have my appendix and tonsils. My mom wasn’t the type to write things down or keep a journal. She also just went along with what the doctors told her and never really asked a lot of questions. I don’t blame her for that it’s just an observation.
As an adult I’m fairly healthy I’d say in the last 5 Year’s I’ve gained some unwanted weight and I’m not eating the healthiest but sometimes the easiest food to eat due to my jaw is the stuff that is pretty bad for you. Like cheesecake that stuff doesn’t require a whole ton of chewing power for me to plough one down my gullet….dang now I want cheesecake…
Well guess that’s the best place to leave this post. Until next Monday!
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