Introduction by Jennifer Bechard, Support Group Liaison
Recently, Teens Take Charge Advisory Council member, Nicole Padron, asked the following question on Facebook: “What is some helpful advice that you would give someone who has been recently diagnosed with hydrocephalus?” Teens across the country began sharing their experiences with hydrocephalus as well as advice for individuals who are newly diagnosed.
Ashley Snyder is a vibrant, positive 18 year old, who was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at 3 years of age. Ashley has undergone three surgeries to revise her shunt. Although Ashley has encountered obstacles from the condition she continues to keep a positive outlook on life. Below, Ashley speaks up about hydrocephalus and gives some friendly advice to her peers:
Hydrocephalus can be a downer. I was diagnosed with the condition at age three, so I sympathize with all of y’all who are saying, “of course it’s a downer…how can it not be?” and think that I’m stating the obvious. But, I think it’s all about perspective. Despite this condition, I find myself happy pretty much all of the time. I confess to occasionally dancing around the kitchen and singing in the shower. It’s a classic example of mind over matter. It is okay to have headaches, to hurt, to feel tired, or maybe even to feel scared sometimes. But you can’t let all of that consume you. If you do, you’re robbing yourself of a ton of happiness which you truly deserve.
Take some time to reflect on the good things in your life. For me I tend to think about a family that’s always there for me no matter what and friends who would do anything for me. Hydrocephalus seems like only a bad thing sometimes. But I promise you, it eventually makes you stronger and turns out to be a huge benefit. Despite all of the challenges all of y’all have faced, you have come out strong. Be proud of that. Think of any struggles you have as challenges instead. I for one never back down from a challenge and I know none of y’all ever do either, so kick some hydrocephalus tail and realize how much you rock.
Try not to worry all the time about what’s going on with you. I know that’s tough, but it will definitely be a good thing for you. Worrying burns energy and doesn’t give you anything in return, and who wants to do that? When life rains, don’t stand there and just get wet. With positivity on your side, you now have the world’s largest umbrella, and it is absolutely time to dance in the rain.
And most of all, embrace being who you are. Y’all are such fighters and you fought hard to get where you are, and that’s something to shout about. On your toughest days, if you just can’t seem to get out of a funk, look at this blog and remember these words: I’m proud of y’all. And y’all should all be extremely proud to be yourselves.