You Heard Russell Stover Syndrome.

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Seriously, if I was given a centimeter of height for every time a person thought I said I have Russell Stover Syndrome instead of Russell Silver Syndrome, I would literally be able to look over bathroom stalls – not that I ever would, that’s creepy.   If you don’t know, Russell Stover is overpriced, mediocre chocolate sold in the United States – no offense, if you’re a fan.  Ironically though, Russell Stover teamed up with Graham Ice Cream Company to sell Eskimo Pies – thank you Wikipedia!  Eskimos are known for being diminutive.

I take this constant misunderstanding as people – most – just love sweets and I can’t speak for everyone, but I love food so much, that I myself tend to hear edible words – i.e. nacho instead of macho, steak instead of break.  So, I can’t really get too upset, but it can get incredibly annoying, because I have had this particular conversation way too often.  I get it, average height people are curious on why some people are too short or too tall.   More frustrating, I can’t even accuse the person I am speaking with are being inconsiderate and not listening.    THEY LITERALLY LOOK AT ME IN THE FACE AND ASK, “SO, WHY ARE YOU SO SHORT” AND CONTINUE TO KEEP EYE CONTACT AS I TELL THEM THE ANSWER.

Here is how is typically goes down and I see it coming right before I even utter the words:  Russell. Silver. Syndrome.   It starts with a perplexed look on their faces, then a few seconds of silence, then in a semi-high pitched voice, they inquisitively say , “Russell Stover Syndrome”?! It takes all my 4’6″ (1.3716 m) strength to not roll my eyes or reveal any annoyance with a friendly poker face.  I remain cordial and respond with a fake laugh and correct their moronic response.

It feels like I have dealt with this question and response conversation since I started constructing sentences.  I should start carrying around little boxes of Russell Stover candies and whoever asks me why I’m so short and actually responds with, “did you say Russell Silver”, I will present them with a sweet prize and a sincere smile.

Mom: A Title Just Above a Queen.

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When I was born, they whisked me away immediately after my mom gave birth to me, she did not experience the quintessential moment of holding her first baby, but upon bringing me home a month after I was born…She has never let me go since.

I will forever be grateful for my mom for teaching her RSS child to be strong, and independent, yet not be too proud to ask for help.  Her constant tough love – i.e. you better grab a chair and do the dishes  – when I was a kid, was one of her many lessons and reminders that being short is just an obstacle not an excuse.

As her first born, it had to be such a frightening experience to have a child with RSS; my mom rose to the occasion with love, strength, and bravery that can only be described as the unconditional love of a mother .

To all the mother’s of RSS children: I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day.  Thank you for your love, strength, and bravery.

Lucky Number 13…It’s flu season!

This is my 13th post.  The number 13 is my lucky number.  I was born on the 13th day.

It has been a little while since I posted.  Sorry about that, I bet you all really missed me!  No, you didn’t?  That’s okay, I wouldn’t miss me either.  Christmas and New Year’s has come and gone and I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and a spectacular New Year’s; and I hope  2018 is treating you all well so far.

Scrolling through the social media feed, I noticed there are an abundance of posts about how every human being in the whole Northern Hemisphere has the flu.  I have been taking every precaution; I had my flu shot,  and take all my vitamins with Emergen-C…Everyday!  I am also a major germophobe, which in the grand scheme of things does more harm than good.  I try in vain every year to avoid the flu, but since I have RSS, I may be able to avoid the flu like any other person taking all precautions, but I cannot dodge the always annoying bronchitis and sinus infection – respiratory issues!  Never fails, every January or February!  The worst part – and all you RSS peeps know what I’m talking about – EAR INFECTIONS; and not just AN ear infections, DOUBLE EAR INFECTIONS.  Since I was a toddler, I have always suffered from ear infections – I had tubes 3 times.   Sometimes, my ear infections are so bad and because I have a very high tolerance for pain with ear aches, I have ear drum rupture a few times.   I remember once I was waiting to see in a doctor in urgent care and a young child that was sitting next to me freaked out because blood started oozing out of my ear.  Every doctor that checks my ears are astonished when they check my ears and wonder why I’m not screaming because of the pain.  As a child, the pain was absolute torture, I cried and cried but as an adult, it is just annoying.  Everything about ear infections it just annoying, the time to go to the doctor, the money it cost to go the doctor and medication (if you’re an American), I don’t mind popping pills to get better, but the ear drops are annoying too.  The uncomfortable feeling of the clogged ear(s) and waiting for it to clear up – ear popping is music to my ears, because that means I can literally hear again!

Parents, I literally feel your child’s pain and it breaks my heart, because I know exactly what they are going through.  I remember my mom and grandma tried every crazy remedy in the book when I was a child, from olive oil in my ear to blowing smoke (and neither were smokers, they went to the store to buy a pack) in my ear to abate the pain and I’m grateful for their every effort; but ultimately I had to ride out the grueling pain until I got to the doctor’s – because like all inconvenience’s, ear aches never has good timing, they always begin in the middle of the night.

So, if you or your child are sick, I hope you all get well very soon.  I wish you all a healthy and happy 2018!

My Little Runt.

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He is hungry every morning at 4:30AM, he never fails to wake me up with his winey meows, yelling that he is hungry!  Whoever is sitting on the couch, he always lays down behind their heads, because that is his spot.  He does not like stale food whatsoever and has only drank filtered water (yeah, that’s my fault).  He is very vocal, will argue with you, and he must always have the last word.   He is very stubborn and demanding.  He is 12 years old and very much set in his ways.

This is my fur baby,  Guero – for those of you who do not know Spanish, Guero is slang for white/light skinned.  My Mom got me Guero for Christmas in 2005 from the pound, he was around 5 months old.  Ironically, he was the only cat that was not meowing and that is was drew my mom to him, he was quiet.  He tricked my mom into thinking he was  quiet and low maintenance, Guero suckered my mom out of the pound.

Guero is not your average cat.  He was obviously the runt of the litter, so you can say he has a bit of a Napoleon complex; since he thinks he runs the house, which has two other cats (my cousin and our roommate each have a cat of their own).  He is not an affectionate feline – don’t let the picture fool you, yet he loves to be around humans, which is unusual for a cat.  He just has to be in the middle of everything and everyone.  Whenever we have visitors, he struts in the room as if he is the one who has a visitor.

Guero is a small, like your truly, but he is truly a unique individual, like us RSS individuals.  He is the coolest cat you will ever meet.  He has never hissed, not even at a dog; he has never shown signs of every feeling threatened, fearful, or angry.  Also, like us RSS individuals, he has always left an impact on almost everyone he comes across.

A couple of years ago, Guero gave us quite a fright.  My cousin and I lived at an apartment and a maintenance man came into our place to do a repair while we were out and left the door open.  Since, my cousin’s cat is a bit of a scary cat, he hid in my cousin’s room.  Guero, of course has no fear and walked out.  It wasn’t until late that cold January night when we realized we have not seen Guero – he has a tendency to hide and sleep for hours.  After a looking everywhere in our apartment, my heart sank, Geuro was missing. We searched everywhere in the complex and could not find him.  It was really cold that night and I was scared for Guero because he hates the cold and even more worrisome, he is declawed, has trouble with his hearing, and such a mellow cat, he was defenseless out here.  Family and friends help put flyers everywhere in the complex and surrounding areas, shared my social media posts, and drive around looking for Guero.  After a week, I became hopeless that we would find my fur baby.

Almost 3 weeks past and I received a call from a wonderful lady that she believed that my cat had been found.  I tried not to have my hopes up too high,  because I had a few calls, text messages, and people tell me they saw Guero, but end up being disappointed.  My cousin and I met with the lady and she walked us over to a house in the neighborhood right across from our complex, Guero did not go far to find safety; in fact, the house he was at was literally right across from our apartment.  Turns out Guero was outside for about 3 or 4 days – which is still quite a long time for a domestic indoor cat -when he was meowing outside this nice couple’s door.  Let me tell you, any animal would be lucky to have this couple as their owners!  They took Guero in and took him to the vet to get checked, vet told him that this cat is domesticated and belongs to someone.  He made friends with their dog – who was Guero’s twin, since the dog has the same coloring.    They took pictures of the two animals together and notified their family and friends of the new addition to their family.  The couple even named Guero!  They names him Latte – so imagine the awkwardness when the lovely,  fair complected couple asked me what his actual name was.

This little runt of mine impacted this couple so much, that you could see the disappointed look that I found him – heck, I felt to bad, I wanted let them keep Guero.  The husband especially was fond of my fur baby, I guess he wasn’t much of a cat person, but he thought Guero was the coolest cat – he is correct.  When his wife told her husband that they can get another, he said, but it won’t be Latte.   When we mentioned that we were moving soon, they even offered to take him if we moved somewhere that was not pet friendly.

They say that animals are a reflection of their owners or vice versa; if that’s the case, I truly hope I have made or make such a endearing impact on someone(s) life.

 

Russell Silver Stride.

Recently I have had the good fortune of joining a few RSS groups on Facebook – thank you again for the acceptance.  The support of these groups is amazing, especially for parents who have the challenging, yet very rewarding duty of raising a child with Russell Silver Syndrome.  My Mom would have reveled in these groups, but since I was born before the internet was invented, my mom had to rely on “winging it”.

I have read through many posts on the groups pages and have seen many pictures of these beautiful children and families.  Although I am grateful that social media can be a positive reinforcement for support; my heart also breaks because of how scared, frustrated, and even at times sorrowful these posts can be.  The questions and the uncertainty of the parents taking their child to seemingly endless doctor’s appointments   hoping for answers with a diagnosis.  The pictures of diminutive children and young adults who smiles and faces always make my day.  The sheer unconditional love behind these posts, it’s an amazing thing to view.

As child of RSS and observing my mom trying to raise a child with RSS; here is some insight on a few RSS main areas for you parents.  Just a disclaimer I am no parent and I am not telling you how to raise your kids.  Think of it as GPS on how it will be with having a young child with RSS, you can of course choose your own route.  These words of wisdom are for the parents of younger kids; I’ll write about the pre-teen and teen years later, that’s a whole other platform.  I’m sure for many of you parents, you already know and can tell me to “shut up”, though I really hope you don’t.

Getting the diagnosis for RSS.  I asked my mom what her initial reaction upon receiving the news of the diagnosis.  She said at first she was scared, she never heard of Russell Silver Syndrome, of course you will be scared of something we don’t understand and that will have a lifelong affect on your child.  My mom also felt relief because she would finally get some answers.  Then there is the feeling of guilt; my mom confessed she felt like it was her fault that I got RSS, because she carried me and mother’s always naturally feel responsible for any problems that their child develops.  There is nothing to be scared of, your child will be healthy; they just need a bit more attention and care.  Your child has just as much as a chance as an average size person to conquer the world.  Most importantly, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!  Sometimes, life just gives us literally the short straw; there is no rhyme or reason.  Mom and dad, you are our biggest supporters, we need you to stay strong, so we can grow strong for you.

Doctor’s appointments will be frequent, and they are not fun at all for us kids.  So, my mom used to take me to get ice cream or out for my favorite food after each appointment as a negotition to not make a fuss; us RSS kids are underweight and slow eaters, so buying us extra calories and talking about the appointment and just talking in general while we slowly eat our food is a win-win situation.  Just remember, let the kid pick the place, we have no choice but to go to doctor’s, so at least give us the choice to where we want to eat.

Growth hormones!  Oh, the memories of growth hormones!  The daily shots of hope!  They are really not that bad, but if you have your child go on growth hormones, do not miss a dose, because every dose truly is our only hope for a few inches.  Parents, I don’t care if you went out and popped some much deserved bottles, as soon as your Uber gets you home, give your kid the shot – if you’re too lit then be on the safe side and have dad do it.

Some of us RSS kids don’t each much and when we do, we take FOREVER.  So, please be patient.  You should chew your food at least 30 times before you swallow; so yea, practice that eating habit.

Last, but not least, for the exception of treats after doctor’s appointments…Do not give us special treatment – this is especially important if there are siblings.  We can do almost anything an average size kid can do.  If you want us to do chores, then you make us do chores; if this includes washing the dishes, then pull up a chair kids!  There are no excuses for us RSS kids to get out of learning to be responsible and respectful at home and in life period.

I hope these words help you a bit and give you a little insight on what is to come.  Being a parent of a RSS child is not easy, but then nothing amazing like raising children is ever easy – no matter what size.