When I was a child, I knew deep inside that having an obvious birth defect was a source of shame to your family, even if nobody ever said that. Or maybe because nobody said that. In fact, the truth about the cause of my birth defect was deliberately kept from me until I demanded to know just a few years ago.Read More
A few months before my seventeenth birthday, I began looking for a part-time job. I had a driver’s permit but no license yet; I’d have to find something within walking distance. The local McDonald’s restaurant was an obvious choice, especially since I did similar work at a State Fair hamburger stand the summer before. I was nervous about the interview but, having excelled at school, babysitting and the hamburger stand, I fully expected to be offered a position.Read More
“Oh my God! Were you a thalidomide baby?”
A gray-haired man stood staring at my disfigured arms and hands; trapped in the aisle, my heart raced. I had never heard the word thalidomide and had no idea that anything or anyone other than God was responsible for my birth defect.
All I’ve ever wanted to be was ordinary. Ordinary people do things that for me would be extraordinary. Learn to play the piano, participate in team sports, plant a garden, practice the full range of yoga poses, join hands with others at church without feeling anxious.Read More
Before the gathering of US thalidomide survivors, I expected there would be many tears as we told our stories, an overall heart-wrenching experience. In the end, there was far more laughter than tears. An amazing, healing, empowering experience.Read More
Fresh out of college, John resented the job he had accepted. “I have a college degree. I’m not going to work hard at this entry-level job; they don’t deserve me.” I sometimes wonder what happened to his career. If I could remember his last name, I’d look for him on LinkedIn and find out.Read More