When you grow up, and you’re born different to everyone else around you, you learn early on to embrace the differences. To accept who you are, be whoever you want to be and learn to love yourself. However, there’s always that aspect of you that wishes you didn’t have to suffer the pain anymore. You’ll always be petrified that you’ll have to go through it again, because life just isn’t that certain. Anything can happen.
When I was a young girl, I had major operations that severely altered my life and all of my family’s life. Our lives revolved around my wellbeing and making sure I wasn’t in pain or going to get any worse. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for my parents, to watch their daughter go through what I did. I didn’t see what I went through, I lived it. I have a completely different perception of what happened. I was only young, a baby. That was all I knew and I learned to get used to the pain. In an out of hospitals was (and still is) the norm, I’ll never be ‘normal’ or better but I’ve learned to be okay with that. Self-acceptance is a hard journey for anyone to go down, but for someone who is so different to everyone else, it makes it much harder.
My parents raised me from birth not knowing whether or not I was ever going to be able to speak or eat. (I can assure you now, I do not ever stop. If I’m not speaking, I’m probably eating…) It’s hard to think that they had to adjust to that and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to thank my family enough for standing by me and making sure I was safe and healthy. The privilege I’ve had will never be forgotten about.
It wasn’t just the support of my family and friends that got me through, my entire community came together and raised money so that I was able to have the health care I needed. They shaved their hair, they had fancy dress football matches, they packed bags at Asda and so much more. They cared about me, and still do. I often get stopped in the street and recognised for being the brave little girl who underwent so much surgery.
If you’re reading this as someone who doesn’t often frequent my blog, or someone who doesn’t really know who I am… I’m Katie. A 21 year old girl living with a condition called Cystic Hygroma.
It wasn’t until I was taking this next journey in my life, being made to think properly about my life that I realise how much I went through. I am so proud of myself, proud that I got through all of that and I’m the women I am today. I’m trying to build my own business and I have some big plans for my future and this blog. My childhood was filled with blood, pain, infections – but above all of that, support. Every single day I am supported by those who love me and to know that a whole community of people remembers me 15 years on, and still wish me the best and hope I’m doing well means the world to me.
I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has ever donated money towards my cause, who has ever packed a bag at Asda or kicked a football. To the entire South Shields community and beyond who completely changed my life forever. Without you and the amazing people from the Shields Gazette, I’d never be living the life I am now. It’s all thanks to you.
BBC THREE VIDEO LINK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/item/c41de1d2-7d2f-4472-900c-a92479a3f8c4