Monday, August 26, 2019

Case Study #66 - Michael Perusing the Menu

Prep Sketch for painting
As a young child with Neurofibromatosis, it took Michael longer to learn to walk and talk. When doctors pushed Michael’s parents to institutionalize him, the principal and kindergarten teacher of his local elementary school encouraged Michael’s parents to enroll him in mainstream school instead. Michael was thankful they did because despite his disability, he went on to prove the doctors wrong, learning to walk and talk…just in his own time. The elementary school was small and Michael loved it. Everybody knew everybody and in a way everyone kind of looked out for each other. This was important to him because even though he always felt a little different he was never treated any differently. 

Michael’s junior high and high school years were a much different story, however. In between multiple surgeries and medical procedures his parents divorced. His dad moved out and his mom never remarried. She stuck with Michael through all of his medical procedures and appointments. She was by his side everyday as he was bullied and tormented throughout junior high and high school. 

Throughout his adult life Michael has had many surgeries and scans to monitor his ever-progressing NF. With the compassion of medical staff, therapists and others, Michael has worked numerous jobs until he finally found his niche working with adults with disabilities. Michael became an advocate for those adults and their families by helping them navigate the complexities of government programs. In 2012 Michael met his future wife in a Facebook support group for people with NF. Her name was Stephanie and she sent him cookies with little notes in them sometimes for no other reason than because he was having a bad day. Michael fell in love. Having NF herself, Stephanie understood and was empathetic to his needs. She never did get to officially meet his mom but he knows she would of loved her as much as he does. Michael is now a step father of a 17 year old talented and beautiful young woman. Being a parent is something he always dreamed of and now it is a reality.

Both Michael and his wife are very active with NF Midwest and attend their annual walks and fundraisers.

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