I was born on October 27, 1975 in the “Steel City” of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. My childhood was the best a child could ask for; I excelled at sports and academics. I was the first person picked on a team in gym class and my grades were exceptional. I was one of the best in every sport that I participated from soccer to baseball. It was my dream to follow in my father’s footsteps and go to college on a football scholarship; however sometimes dreams do not come true. The year of 1983 killed my dreams of becoming an athlete. Throughout the year I was developing headaches stiff necks, and nausea. My parents arranged many doctor appointments for me to learn why I was experiencing these neurological systems. Appointment after appointment, the doctors all came to the same conclusion and told my parents that I was fine and just didn’t want to go to school. As my symptoms worsened, my mother took mew to another doctor and while he was evaluating me he looked in to my pupils and noticed that I was hemorrhaging. I was then taken to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh where I was taken through a tunnel that was connected to Presby Hospital for a C.T. scan. The scan showed that I had a massive brain tumor in my cerebellum; being a child, I didn’t have any clue what was going on, my parents must have been overwhelmed wit this devastating news. To make a long story short, I had 16-hour surgery to remove the tumor, which was entwined in nerves that my doctor had to cut to remove the entire tumor. The good news is that it was benign; the bad news is that I didn’t have much of a chance of surviving. However I proved all of the “experts” wrong, fought the good fight, and continued to improve everyday. After being discharged from the hospital, I was admitted to The Rehabilitation Institute of Pittsburgh, I lost everything and had to learn to talk, walk, dress myself, etc. all over again. To sum up my stay at Thee Rehabilitation Institute of Pittsburgh is that I entered the Institute in a wheelchair and upon discharge; I was able to walk out. I am truly grateful for the Institute for everything they did for me.
My teenage years were a tough time for me. I went to Keystone Oaks High School which was an overwhelming change coming from a Catholic grade school. The effects from my tumor came to life in High School; being made fun of was common. I never attended any dances including Homecomings or Proms, I felt like I only had friends because I was the only person that had a car and was able to drive all the time. It was a time in my life that I would like to forget and learn from.
After High School I went to Robert Morris College; I only lasted a semester because I wasn’t ready for college and my blood alcohol level was higher than my GPA. After failing at Robert Morris, I went to Community College because my parents gave me the option of going to school or working 40 hours a week and paying rent. My only classes at C.C.A.C. were general education classes because I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do because my dreams of being an athlete were crushed because of my brain tumor.
My 20's were a fun-filled decade, I was delivering pizzas and partying a lot. I was living on my own in numerous apartments. Although I was on my own, all of the drinking and fun caught up with me, I had a seizure in my sleep when I was 29. I went to the hospital and my seizure was caused by strictly alcohol and didn’t have anything to do with my brain tumor. My parents were concerned for my wellbeing and asked me to move back home, which I did.
My 30's was a decade of much needed fulfillment. My mother noticed that I fascinated by computers and manipulating pictures. She mentioned that I should peruse what I enjoyed doing and to go to school and learn more. Fast foreword to 2010 and I graduated with honors from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors Degree in Web and Interactive Media Design. My thirty’s were a decade to remember.
I recently turned forty and I am anxious to see what this decade has to give. It hasn’t started out well, my loss of balance and coordination has gotten worse as I get older and I recently broke my leg and I have ligament damage in my knee. My father told me as a child that everyone is dealt his or her own deck of cards in life and it matters on how you play with the deck that you are dealt. Hey, I am doing the best I can with what I am dealt and I guess that’s all that anyone can do?