Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Our Household: Part 5

We're back to the humans today and so that means you get to read all about me. Don't worry, I won't make the post too long. ;)
I don't know whether I go looking for adventure or if I just  turn everything I do into an adventure, but I always feel like I have some  story to tell. That is part of the reason why I started this blog so many years ago. That said, usually my stories involve me in some way, since it is my life, but I am not usually the focal point. In fact, I find it hard to write about myself: I think a lot of people do, but I'll try to give you a small glimpse into what makes me tick.
I was born with an illness called Retinal Blastoma, which is cancer in my retinas. Nobody knew until I was about two and I had lost both of my eyes by the time I was three. Both of my eyes are prosthetic and I can't tell you how many pranks I've played on people with them. Not to mention, the unintentional things that happen when you have prosthetic eyes. Anyway...
Despite being a blind kid, I think I had a pretty good childhood. Sure, there was some bullying and most definitely some exclusion by other kids, but I had one friend who I met when I was seven and she and I have been inseparable ever since then. In fact, the longest we were apart was when she moved to Scotland for her Master's degree and I wasn't far behind her. That friendship made all the difference in the world. I was so lucky, and still am very lucky, to have had Tenie as my best friend. Together we took on the world, but not in your typical little girl way.
When we played "house" the dolls we played with weren't our children, but were being babysat and would be picked up by their moms at the end of the day. When we played "Barbies" our Barbie dolls were witches and wizards and battling evil for the greater good of the world. We found games in hopping around in cardboard boxes, riding tandem bikes, singing at the top of our lungs and fishing in a river with fishing nets and thigh high rubber boots. We were pretty creative kids and I am so glad I had her to share those experiences with. We definitely made our own adventures back then.
I did attend a school for the blind for three years, but it was my decision to go and it was my decision to return to the public school system. Tenie was there of course and she made navigating high school so much more enjoyable. I went off to university a year ahead of her, but fate was kind and she ended up at the same university a year later. By that point, I had been working with Jetta for a year and had attended one Paralympic Games.
All in all, I attended three Paralympic Games-Sydney, Athens and Beijing-and swimming had been a huge part of my life. The swimming trials for the Paralympic Games were actually a few days ago and it was the first time in 12 years that I wasn't there. It's kind of a funny feeling; kind of sad, but also relieved as well. I retired from swimming at the end of Beijing and moved on to massage therapy college, with Glacier in tow.
2008 saw some big changes, with me beginning to work with a new dog and I also met Mr. K. Retiring from swimming that year also forced me to redefine who I was and find ways to fill my time. Sometimes I still struggle with that. After spending so long, committing so much time and energy into one activity, you almost don't know what to do with all of the extra time.
I graduated from massage therapy college, got married, moved to SC, had many experiences with various dogs and then ended up in Scotland, waiting to go back to school for my Master's degree in the fall. Of course, other things happened along the way, but I would have to write a novel and I'm not sure it would sell. :)
I have a lot of interests: such as jewelry/soap making, dog training/behavior,  reading, writing, volunteering, singing, attempting to train for a triathlon (which has sort of been put on hold), horseback riding Etc. I've never been able to sit still well and I think having retired from swimming has increased my need for movement.
The famous quote for this blog seems to be:
"there is never a dull moment"
and although I like to blame it on my dogs, I think I'm really good at putting myself into those situations. Honestly though, I wouldn't have it any other way. :)


Sarge said...

Hey Jess!
Wow, it was so great to read more about you! I think you've had a fascinating life. You are the only olympic athlete I know and I think that is wonderful. I love to swim too! I bet it has been great to live in different countries and experience that. Great stuff, and I love you, your blog, and your whole pack!
Grr and Woof,
Sarge, COP

Amber DaWeenie said...

Hearing your story has made us aware of just how strong you are. You are a big winner in every battle that you fight and you will always continue to be a winner with great results in everything that you do.

garthriley said...

Wow. We really admire you -- you don't seem to let the fact that you can't see slow you down a bit! And we can only imagine the pranks you can play with prosthetic eyeballs! We bet they were hilarious!

Baloo Da Doxie said...

"Lindsay, where are my socks?! I swear I just had them!"
"Jess, they're in your lap..."
No one ever accused us of being boring!