Elis, 28

I’ve been living with hydrocephalus since I was 6 weeks old. It’s not always easy but having hydrocephalus has taught me that every day is a blessing to be alive.

Elis doesn’t let her hydrocephalus stop her from trying out new adventures!

Sometimes it’s hard to get up in the morning because I wake up with vertigo, headaches, and nausea. The headaches and vertigo sometimes cause double vision, making it hard to concentrate at work or even drive. Some medicines, like Tylenol, help ease the pain of my headaches. When I’m having vertigo, I’ve learned to close one eye to focus my vision and to just use my dominant eye to see.

But these challenges don’t stop me from my life. I work two jobs and attend college. On my days off, I love to go out and explore the world, and try new restaurants. I like to go hiking, kayaking, zip lining and ride hot air balloons. I also like to go running and found that it helps me deal with stress. Most of all, I love to dance. I come from a family of dancers and have been dancing folk and Aztec dancing since I was 9 years old.

Since I was little, I always spoke up for people who couldn’t defend themselves. It’s always been my dream to work in the legal system and I love to learn laws every day. For that reason, I decided to study Justice Administration. I just need two more classes to finish. I love to help people and work part time as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) at a post-acute center. My other job is working for the Red Cross in the blood bank department. I love to know that I am sending products that are needed to hospitals to save lives. I really love what I do! Once I am done with school, I would like to work in a law office with lawyers, or maybe even become a lawyer in the future and defend people.

After I’ve had a brain surgery, learning can be tough for me. I’ve had five brain surgeries. I tell people to be patient because sometimes learning takes a little longer for me to get, especially after my last shunt revision. I remember getting so frustrated because I wasn’t learning at the same pace as others. As I recovered, my learning capacity improved and now I’m back to my normal self. I am still forgetful, like about where I leave things, but my doctor said its normal.

Having hydrocephalus is an invisible disability but it will not get in the way of finishing my goals or completing daily tasks. I believe that there’s a reason why I’m here. The five surgeries I’ve had for hydrocephalus could have taken my life but I’m here and will not let hydrocephalus take the best of me. I am strong and want to teach others about hydrocephalus.

I hope that in the future, there is a CURE for hydrocephalus or better treatments other than brain surgeries.

Tell us about your journey with hydrocephalus!

Share your story of hope and perseverance with us! We will feature the amazing individuals in our community who are living life to the fullest regardless of their condition! Stories are reviewed by our staff and posted on our website and through social media. Stories should be no more than 800 words long. Submit your story today!

Let’s SHARE. Let’s CONNECT. Let’s raise AWARENESS! Let’s INSPIRE!

For questions, email: natalia@hydroassoc.org with the subject line “Share Your Story”.

Become a Grassroots Advocate for Hydrocephalus today! Click here to join the Hydrocephalus Action Network.

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