By John Huynh
My name is John, and I have Neurofibromatosis – Type 1.
At an early age my mother knew there was something different about me.
My family doctor knew I had NF but did not say anything because “nothing could be done about it”. Another doctor formally diagnosed me in 1987. Neurofibromatosis was a scary and unfamiliar word at the time and my mother was devastated.
School can be an unpleasant when you are different. I remember classmates calling me names such as “shit stain” and “lumpy neck”. I hated changing clothes in gym class because of my café-au-lait spots and remember going home in tears because of the teasing.
My mother treated me like a normal kid. I was allowed to go outside to play, and grounded when I did something wrong.
In high school the teasing subsided, except for one student who called me “bee stings” all year. I no longer cried, but it still hurt. In grade 11 we moved to the suburbs, a fresh start. I made new friends and started to fit in. All was well, or so I thought.
In May 1996, I started noticing pain when I walked. I lost my balance and fell unexpectedly. My friend laughed [...] continue the story