Wesley, 29

My hydrocephalus story in a nutshell goes like this. I was born with hydrocephalus the doctors later told me, but it went undetected. The only reason I discovered I had hydrocephalus was because when I was sixteen, and a freshman in high school, I decided to play football for the first time. There is and always will be hard hits, headaches, etcetera from playing the game. So as I was playing, I just thought my headaches were par for the course of life as a football player, and nothing more than that. But one Saturday morning, after a Friday night game, I woke up with a minor headache. I treated it with Advil and just went about my day. However, the next two Sunday mornings I woke up with an extreme throbbing headache that lasted for a couple of hours. I’ll never forget the excruciating pain that headache caused me. The next day, instead of going to school, my mom took me to the hospital where they ran several tests on my head. The doctors found out the reasons for all my bad headaches. They were not because of playing football. Turns out I was living my life with hydrocephalus. Something that, again, I would have never found out had I not played football for the first time.

The doctors told me good news, and bad news. The good news was that they caught it, and could start monitoring me for the rest of my life, and the bad news was I could no longer play football. It was a crazy experience that I will never forget. I don’t know the type of hydrocephalus I have, but it must be a minor case of it because the doctors told me I didn’t need surgery or a shunt since I had been living my whole life with it. The only “treatment” I get is that I have to get MRI’s performed every year to monitor the pressure, and to see if there are any changes. I do not have a shunt. I am blessed that the doctors caught it when they did though.

Since my diagnosis I strive to do as many things as I can. I am a college graduate from Hampton University. After I graduated, I became a physical education teacher at an elementary and middle school. I have been doing this job full time for five years now. Even though hydrocephalus has limitations on certain things, I always remind myself this can’t stop me from living a prosperous and fulfilling life. I can still live out my dreams with hard work, and dedication. Hydrocephalus won’t stop me!

Yes, there are certain things that hydrocephalus has stopped me from doing like driving and playing football, but I have a good support system. There are other ways to get things done in my life and instead of feeling sorry for myself, it just takes time to discover what my alternatives are. And that’s okay! I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love being a hydrocephalus warrior, and advocate for the condition. It’s something I embrace and wear with pride!

This experience was so life changing that I went on to write a book about the experience.  The book is called My Football Experience, and can be purchased on wesleyeggleston.com.

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