My name is Olivia, I’m 14 and have been living with hydrocephalus since birth.
I was born at only 29 weeks, which caused a bilateral grade II intra-ventricular hemorrhages (also known as brain bleeds), which developed post hemorrhagic hydrocephalus (excess spinal fluid in the brain). I underwent surgery to receive my first VP shunt at 10 months of age. A VP shunt is a system that drains the excess cerebral spinal fluid from my brain to my abdomen. Many children, after they receive a VP shunt, only need to return occasionally throughout their lives to have shunt revisions as they grow.
Unfortunately, for me, I have had to suffer my entire life from complications with my VP shunts resulting in the 80+ brain surgeries I’ve had to undergo to try control some complex medical issues.
Some of those issues are Cerebral Palsy, Chiari decompression, deadly allergies to literally every antibiotic you could think of, latex and adhesive, and countless medications, horrible infections like the MRSA Staph infection I had at the age of 2 following a shunt revision, in which I remained in the hospital for over 200 days for.
I do my best to be a normal, active teen when I am not in the hospital, or at home suffering from excruciatingly painful headaches. I swim, play soccer, hockey and softball. I am an honor student on my junior high ninth grade class, also I am a member of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. I stay pretty busy.
That’s my story, tell me yours.