Hi, I’m Victoria and I’m almost sixteen years old. I’ve recently started looking for stories written by people like me. I find that it helps to know that you’re not the only one, because that’s how it feels sometimes. Knowing that someone else has dealt with the same thing and knows what you’re going through makes dealing with it a lot easier.
I have a right club foot, it’s pretty severe. My foot was basically backwards when I was born. It’s forward now but I really don’t have an ankle. Also, I have amniotic band syndrome (ABS) in four of my fingers. I’ve had over thirteen surgeries. My most recent being an external fixator to extend the length of my right leg.
Growing up I’ve been teased a lot. I know it sounds kind of ridiculous, a sixteen year old referring to “growing up” but when you’ve gone through so much you don’t have time to be immature.
The teasing probably started in third grade. I had a brace, but that didn’t do much for my limp. Middle School was worse, my right leg became shorter than my left leg, multiple surgeries had stunted my growth. So after having a six centimeter lift put on the outside of my shoe, people couldn’t leave me alone. High School calmed down a lot, only new people or seriously rude people have anything to say about my disabilities.
I’ve never been allowed to do sports, I haven’t even been in gym since I bruised my “ankle” bone running track in seventh grade. If I walk for too long, I’m in pain. If i wear the wrong kind of shoes, I’m in pain. Before and after a surgery all you’re really supposed to take is Tylenol because it’s a blood thinner, not a blood clotter. I’ve become immune to Tylenol. It’s really been rough. The pain really gets to you because you know it limits what you can and cannot do. For instance if your friend wants to go to the park, normal kids go and they’re perfectly fine. I on the other hand either decline because it’s not worth the pain, or I have to take medicine before I go and after I get back.
Being different in a physical way can really get to you. Obviously we didn’t ask to be this way, this wasn’t caused by our own actions, and there’s really nothing we can do to change it. Sometimes I get mad, it’s so stressful to have to think about so many things before even going out on the weekend.Sometimes I wonder, why is something as simple as walking so difficult for me when many kids my age are willingly damaging their bodies with drugs and alcohol. But maybe being how I am is why I’m not like most people my age. Unlike most people my age, I appreciate EVERYTHING I do have, because it’s really not guaranteed.
Talking to other people is probably the most helpful and reassuring thing someone in my position can do because it lets you know that you’re not alone. Other people do understand, they’re just harder to find than normal people are. Also, for people with a stiff ankle, like me, Shape-Up shoes really make a limp less noticeable, it’s also way easier to walk. Shape-Ups have a negative heel so it’s easier to have a more natural stride, just a helpful tip!