Hello, my name is Kristin Carroll. Thank you for
visiting my website. I am so happy to be able to share my story with you. I was born with Spina Bifida on August 15, 1969 in Monterey,
CA. Let me share with you my journey and what it means to have Spina Bifida. I had many surgeries
before I was three years of age because I had multiple problems at birth . For example, I had a
shunt, which no longer is functional, inserted in my neck that goes from my right ventricle to my
heart. Some of the symptoms of having a non-functioning shunt are as follows, nausea, dizziness,
fluid on the brain, most commonly known as Hydrocephalus. Having hydrocephalus can cause learning
disabilities in the area of math and science and/or being attention deficit. Children with Spina
Bifida may also have bladder and bowel problems. I had to wear a urinary bag from the age of 2
until I was 17. I was then a candidate for a new surgery to correct this. I had a Koch pouch made
from my large intestine and part of my bowel. Therefore, I now, use a catheter that I insert into my side.
I also have had several hip surgeries to correct my standing. My hips
were dislocated when I was born. The most important surgery that took place, was the one to close my
spine at birth. If they had not closed it immediately, an infection would have set in and I would have died.
When I was age 3, we were sent to Silver Spring, MD. My family moved around
a lot when I was younger because my dad was in the Navy. I attended a school which had a program for
the physically challenged. I had many friends at school and continue to still keep in touch with a few of them.
At age 5, I attended Kindergarten and 1st grade in Charleston, SC at an
Easter Seals school for the physically challenged. Here, I was the Easter Seal Poster Child and
involved in Girl Scouts in the afternoons at school. Eighteen months later, my family, once again,
packed up and returned to Silver Spring, MD where I attended school up until the summer I was to go
into 5th grade. In Silver Spring, I was involved in horseback riding and Girl Scouts. I was mainstreamed
into classes that had able-bodied students as well. My mom always wanted me to feel as normal as possible.
We were then transferred to Neptune Beach, FL in the summer of 1981,
where I went to private school. I was the only one on crutches and used a wheelchair for long
distances. While living in Neptune Beach, at my elementary school, I was assigned as a school
crossing guard. My last two years there were the best. I loved going to school. I liked where we
lived and I also had a boyfriend. I had the opportunity to go to Spain and France to visit my father
while he was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. My mother and I took a friend as well as a
companion for me while they attended navy functions. We had a blast going around town by ourselves
and trying to stay out of trouble. After 2 years at that school, I went onto attend a college prep
school during my 7th grade year. It was very tough there and I was either at school or doing homework
in the evenings. I later attended public school, where I remained until the end of my 9th grade year.
I finally ended up in Norfolk, VA where I have
lived in the Downtown area for almost 15 years. I graduated from Maury High
School in 1989 with an Associates Degree. After graduating, I attended Tidewater
Community College and took many art classes. And, in 1997, I graduated with a
Computer Graphics Degree. I have since worked for a Property Management firm in
my condominium as a receptionist. I then took an internship at a radio station for
one summer. It was a lot of fun. I got to do many interesting things and I learned
a lot. The most fun part of that internship was when I had the opportunity to sit
in with the DJ's while they were doing work on their shifts. I was then hired on
at a defense contractor as a part-time receptionist and also had the chance to
work on my graphics ability. I worked here for 2 years and then got a position
with the civilian side of the navy at the Human Resources Service Center East,
formerly the Office of Civilian Personnel Management as their receptionist for
a year through a temporary service. After a year of working there, I was hired
on full-time as a Personnel Clerk, AKA, receptionist, working in the training
department. I greet students who come in to take our training, and I do other
various receptionist jobs and occasionally, I have the chance to work on some
of my graphics work. I love working at this job. I have many friends, have a
lot of fun and of course, many challenging days. My dad retired here in 1997,
and moved back to Florida. I am happy, so here I am in my own apt., going to
work every day working 40 hours. I go to the YMCA 2-3 times a week and have
my own personal trainer, Michael. I currently am involved in a Christian Introductory
Service where I have met a few nice people and continue to have a few lasting friendships.
Today, I still live in Downtown Norfolk, VA where,
during the summer, there is a lot to join in on. We have tons of restaurants and
a mall 2 blocks from my apartment. My apartment sits right on the Elizabeth River.
We have museums, a park that has year round events, such as, art shows, concerts,
movies, picnics, fireworks, and so many other festevents. In Downtown, we have
McArthur Mall that has also many places to eat and to go shopping. We have 2 boats
in the area that have boat tours of the river and a history of the area that go out
at various times a day. There is Williamsburg/Jamestown about 45 minutes from here
that includes Busch Gardens and a lot of history. We are the home of UVA in Charlottesville,
which Thomas Jefferson designed and built a few of the buildings and also had his
home "Monticello" designed after. I also was involved in taking a course called
the Landmark Forum. It is a course on how to live your life fulfillingly and powerfully.
I have taken a seminar on Commitment, Creativity, Relationships and Integrity. My
biggest hobby is to design my own personal greeting cards. I design cards for
birthday, baby announcements, sympathy, Christmas and Hanukkah, Halloween ,
Thanksgiving and one's just to say, "Hello, I am thinking of you". I also have
computer programs that allow me to create my own cards as well. Another hobby of
mine, that I just started, is to do scrapbooking. I love to attend church and go
to the many festivities at Town Point Park, go out to eat, go shopping, travel
is a big part of my time, and I love to go to movies.
In closing, I am a healthy, happy and active 31 year old. I believe that life is a joy to live and God has blessed me with so much.