MHE and Me
Page updated Nov 4, 2007
Jessica, with friends Crystal and Kyla
I was born in June 1989 at the same hospital my father was born at. From the moment my mother first held me, she knew something was wrong. She said that I felt more fragile then a normal baby would, and that every time she picked me up she could feel my back shifting. Kathrynn, my older sister, was born just thirteen months before me and my mom said the difference between the both of us was startling, and she demanded that the nurses and doctors check my spine. Of course they found nothing wrong with me, but my mom still worried.

There were no signs of my MHE until one day when I was around fourteen months my mom spotted a bump on my back. She thought I had gotten it playing with my older sisters, Shannon, who was eight at the time, and Kathrynn, who was a year old. Around that time I think I tried to walk, but fell down and shook my head and didn't try it for another six months.

At eighteen months I was diagnosed with Multiple Hereditary Exostoses.  Of course my doctor didn't know the actual name for it and just told my parents I had "extra bones". I went to regular checkups at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto. My first surgery didn't happen until I was in the second grade. I don't remember being scared until I actually got into the operating room and saw all those strange instruments. I started to panic when they put the gas mask on me, but soon I was sleep. After that I barely remember anything, I know that the inside of my bone had started to bleed and I had to have another surgery to stop the bleeding, and then another one to stitch up my legs before I went home. In truth, all my surgeries are a blur in my mind. I remember the most recent ones best, like the surgery I needed to get on my right leg before grade eight graduation or I would have lost the feeling in that leg because the bump was cutting off the nerve. I think in 2004 I had a surgery on my left leg below the knee and the hip. I lost a lot of blood in that one, and came very close to needing a blood transfusion. Currently I'm waiting to go into the hospital again to have surgery on my right shoulder, wrist and finger. That's scheduled for February the sixth, 2006. I can't say for sure how many surgeries I've had, probably around six or something like that. I don't really like to count them. I'd prefer to forget about them, rather then have every single surgery and bad experience plastered in my mind.

Other then my MHE I basically have a normal teenage life. I love to hang out with my friends, try new things, talk on my cell phone, talk on MSN, read, write and work on my numerous websites. I love to dance and sing and laugh. I volunteer at a youth group for people with special needs, and I have so much fun doing it. I'm able to help other people and still have a great time. Volunteering there has even brought me more out of my shell. The members are awesome, all of them are amazing individuals that have this joy for life, even with the cards they've been dealt.  

I've met so many people in my life that have inspired me, like Mandy. Mandy also has MHE, and I met her when we were both in grade seven. She's always there for me, and we correspond through letters and email. Whenever I'm feeling down about something, I just write her a letter or email and she replies with great advice. Before I found the Bumpy Bones Club, I thought I was alone in the world. I'm the only one in my family who has MHE, so when we were told about the Bumpy Bones Club, I was excited. I could talk to people who knew what I was going through and wouldn't tell me that my feelings were wrong.

Over the past few year's I've changed. In grade seven I wore baggy clothes and long sleeved shirts and hid from others and myself. Now I wear t-shirts and more size fitting clothes, and I'm more outgoing. I'm slowly finding myself, and learning to accept myself for who I am. Yes, I'll have moments where I'll think the world sucks and just want to hide under the blankets forever, but what teenager doesn't?

Feel free to email me at any time and remember that no matter how bad your life seems to be, it can only get better.
Visit Jessica's MHE Blog:
Jessica's Paintings
Jessica's Poems
Jessica's Advice on Being Teased
Jessica and Josephine
Jessica's latest family photo...
Kathryn and Jessica with their dad, left, and  mom, right, on semi-formal night, December 2005.