The month of October brings awareness for several different causes, but did you know among those is Spina Bifida Awareness? I was once afraid of those two words – “Spina” “Bifida”. During my pregnancy with Brandon, there were some “abnormalities” in my 17-week quad screen. My doctor gave us the option of an amniocentesis, or a series of three additional extensive ultrasounds to rule out their findings. This is when I first heard those words: spina bifida. They explained what it was, and all I could picture was my little boy, and the unfamiliar road that potentially lay ahead: Would he live life in a wheelchair, or walk with difficulty? How much pain would he be in? What kind of life would he have? How would we afford his medical needs?
We decided to have the series of ultrasounds, and I was a wreck during the following weeks. It was a relief when they all indicated everything was “normal”. But that’s the thing: I now know that even if Brandon would have been diagnosed with spina bifida, that wouldn’t have made him any less normal. Yes, there would have been struggles, but that would not have diminished his potential for greatness. Had he been diagnosed with spina bifida, he’d have it, but it wouldn’t define him. Of this I am certain, because I see it in my friend Laurita Tellado. You see, she has spina bifida, but she is far from just a statistic. She armed herself with knowledge at an early age, and has used that information and her experiences to be an advocate for spina bifida education and awareness. She couldn’t find a spokesperson for people with spina bifida, so she became one by creating her blog Holdin’ Out For A Hero. She is a smart, strong, beautiful fellow Latina, and I’m blessed to call her friend. Through her, I learned that you don’t have to be afraid of the unknown, you just have to arm yourself with knowledge, and spread that knowledge to all who will listen. Because knowledge is power, it’s the force behind letting something limit you, or expanding your greatness, and we all deserve greatness.