The Strength is Within Us

The story of Brittany

My journey began at 13 when swelling from an extraction never went down so had to get a biopsy done on my jaw. I was then diagnosed with a rare bone disease, Fibrous Dysplasia. Soon after, headaches began to be unbearable and at 15 they found a brain tumor covering my pituitary gland and had to be removed as soon as possible. Life changed rather quickly after that but the pain never got better. I had 2 surgeries to remove the tumor and they interfered with my bone causing it to have growth within 2 months after the brain surgeries. Within those next 7 years I had 6 surgeries at the time. In 2004, after an emergency surgery a doctor ignored protocol and I suffered brain damage and couldn’t walk or talk on own for a couple of years. I was 100%dependent on my mom at 20 years old. I was left to feel like a child inside and that is something that has never recovered. I thankfully can walk and talk normally again but have a lot of problems. I have had 13 surgeries so far, 3 brain surgeries and the rest on my jaw and eye. Surgery is the only treatment for all my diseases. I have never got to have a normal life but it has made me the strong woman I am today. About 6 years ago my bone disease took all my teeth and that was something I was not prepared for. I since have to go without because of lack of ability to pay for some. That pushed me to really dig deep and start loving myself even more and also pushed me to become an advocate as well. So I spend my days fighting for others like myself. I became a legislative advocate when I was not able to get teeth without payment. I now fight with legislators to work on bills to help people like me and make very well needed changes. I also work with my Mayor and Governor every year to make Rare Disease Day official here in my hometown. I got my city to light up this year for the first time and super proud. I hope I can show others like me that we can truly get through anything. The strength we search for in those bad times is Within us all along. We just have to know we can make it and keep fighting.