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Fortitude and what it means in my life

over the last couple of years,
I use the word fortitude a lot. I will tell yall why:

Back in 2017 I had subbed for my mom’s CCD class and they were learning about the virtues and the one for that week was fortitude- doing it in fear. It was my first time doing the CCD class by myself so I was nervous- nervous the kids would try to take advantage or not-take me seriously. Which it went fine.

The next day– I had been on an online dating site and got a message from someone who would now be my fiance. asking to go on a date. Again, I was nervous and scared. But again Mom reminded me of the virtue of fortitude -doing it in fear. (and yes we did go on a date, public – La Hacienda.)

So now anytime I do something outside my comfort zone and I’m nervous as heck–what word rings in my mind. Fortitude. And if it doesn’t on its own, Mom is right there to remind me of the word.

The latest thing I have had to do with fortitude is I started public speaking. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been times I have had to public speak before learning about fortitude. Even though I was nervous about it, opportunities continually pop up as if it is like God saying “HELLO THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO.”

In the past, before learning about fortitude, I would still do the things but I didn’t know what “doing it in fear and nervous” was as far as virtues, and after the events I did, I never pursued or looked at public speaking as a career, further.


The first time I ever did any type of public speaking was in college for my Communications class- I made C’s because of nerves and read off my cards too much.

The next time was when I was asked to do what’s called “familiarity visits” with patients coming into Shriners for Halo traction- while I was in halo traction. Familiarity visits are telling the incoming patient what to expect: pain-wise, the routine during the week, how to do “pin care,” etc. That was easy because it was just like chit-chatting with peers; was I still nervous? yes! I worried I’d forget something important to mention or something, but still, I did it.

Another public speaking opportunity while in Shriners hospital during the time I was in halo traction was when the Respiratory Department Director asked the different patients to come to say a few words at the conference about how Shriners Hospital, the Halo traction, and especially the respiratory department affected us and helped us. I was nervous and with no filter, I told everyone there about my first weeks in traction and how I compared the respiratory department director to “Hitler of Respiratory” and the consequences once word had gotten back to her about me saying that! I had the entire room in giggle fits. The director and I may have had a rough start, but now we are best buds, and it’s our inside joke now.

In 2013, one summer while my godson was down from Texas, I happened to be wearing a tank top and he saw my scar sticking out from under my straps; he then proceeded to play “20 million questions” and I answered most of them until I got tired of answering and said “okay, that’s enough. go play, you’re giving nanny a headache!”

In 2015, one of my cousins at 4 years old noticed my spine sticking out during family Christmas eve and he was sitting behind me. I feel him feeling at my spine that was sticking out (The hump) and then suddenly feel him starting to punch it. His mom freaks out “_ Don’t hit jamie!” to which baby boy replied tearfully “I’m trying to push her back back in!” So that Christmas, he got the gift of learning about Scoliosis and why “cousin Jamie’s back sticks out.”

Also in 2015, I “tested the waters” of my comfort zone when LSU-Eunice hosted a talent show, where I read an original poem titled “Don’t judge by disabilities” and got a standing ovation as well as many compliments in the halls the following week. I was so proud that I had conquered my stage fright and even placed 3rd, which I don’t blame them poetry is nice, but music always wins!

Years passed and in 2021, I was a guest blogger on someone I only know online @Ami Ireland who has a blog “Undercover Superheroes” and talked about my disabilities there and it was posted in May 2021.

Now we are in 2022, and more opportunities have popped up without even really trying to get them. In March, I went to a church function and the CCD director’s granddaughter who I taught in kindergarten for VBS had finally noticed my back and how I was shorter than many adults, and she asked questions, so I explained as best I could at a 2nd-grade level and showed her pictures, she was shocked and just hugged me “Miss Jamie I had no idea. I remember you were always smiling for VBS and you spoiled our class!”

Next came when I was talking with Guns down Power up founder and director, Eric Williams. He had mentioned he was in special ed and had mental problems or something and I messaged asking if he minded talking about what disabilities/ why he was in sp-ed. I told him I had physical disabilities, and thus he asked if I minded coming to talk about my disabilities at his program. Which will take place on May 28, 2022, at Opelousas Police Department from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.

From there, I was just talking to another program founder, the founder of BullyBox A passion Project to combat bullying in schools and such, Ms. Shauna Sias and she asked me to go on her and her co-host Nina Irving Williams Podcast/Live TV Livestream thing on Weds nights (Which Mine was April 13- I attached my segment of the show on my Youtube.)

So God keeps giving me Opportunities and in the past, it was just “one and done” but lately they have been more frequent, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and do this more. These opportunities could open more doors as I have lots of passions and ideas but don’t know who to talk to or how to implement them. Who knows what God has in store around the corner for me?

God is good all the time. Sometimes we got to practice fortitude- doing it in fear!

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Life update: Passed my College Class of Leadership Communication!

I am not sure if I put on here that I was taking an online class for the Fall 2021 semester at UL Lafayette. I decided to take Leadership Communication thinking I would learn how to speak like a leader; Instead it was reading news articles and writing case studies, and learning different leadership styles; which can be helpful too I guess.

I was disappointed at first that it wasn’t what I expected, but I still tried my absolute hardest in it. In fact for my first case study, I didn’t understand the directions and was overly anxious about it: constantly emailing my professor and asking “is this right? am I on the right track?” Eventually they told me “you are doing fine, stop doubting yourself so much!”

For the end of the semester, we had an extra credit assignment where we studied 2 cases of Hate crimes against People of color (blacks) and against Asians in regards to Covid pandemic. I emailed my professor, asking if I could also include hate crimes against disabilities, they emailed back “While thats a great idea, I’d prefer we stick with the ones I assigned, but thats a great idea to include for my future classes. Thank you for bringing awareness.” I felt extra proud in that moment.

I managed to make A’s on every assignment. I made an A average through the entire semester! something I had never ever ever done in my history of college (maintain straight A’s through the course, sure I had occasional A’s in some assignments and my end grade was sometimes A’s, but never maintained/constant through the entire course!)

So apparently, I need to go into Communication! LOL. Im just so proud of this accomplishment!

#Medical, ADA, Adult, adulthood, Adulting, Advocacy, appointments, Autobiography, Back Pain, BackPain, cardiovascular, Chronic illness, Chronic Pain, Chronicillness, collagen, College, College student with disabilities, College with Disabilities, CollegeStudentwithDisabilities, CollegeWithDisabilities, Connective Tissue, ConnectiveTissue, Deformity, Differently Abled, DifferentlyAbled, disabilities, disabled, Disableds, diseases, disorder, disorders, doctor, Doctors, drs, EDS, Ehlers Danlos, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, EhlersDanlos, EhlersDanlosSyndrome, future, genes, geneticist, genetics, genetics doctor, genetics dr, Handicap, Handicapped, Handicaps, HealthCare, Heart, heart conditions, heart disorders, heart health, heart issues, heart problems, hospitals, illness, Inspiration, inspirational, Joint Pain, JointPain, Joints, Joints Pain, KyphoScoliosis, Kyphosis, Life, Louisiana, Lungs, marfan Syndrome, MarfanSyndrome, Medicaid, medical, medication, medications, memoir, Motivational, Pain, Pain Doctors, Pain management, pain meds, PainDoctors, PainManagement, Physical Disabilities, physical Handicap, physical handicaps, physically handicapped, rare, rare disabilities, rare disorders, rareDisabilities, rareDisorders, Respiratory, Scoliosis, Special Needs, Spinal Deformity, Spinal Fusions, SpinalDeformity, SpinalFusions, Spine, Spine Pain, SpinePain, Spoonie, Spoonies, students with disabilities, StudentsWithDisabilities, support, Syndromes, Uncategorized, Zebra, Zebras

Genetics update: I DO NOT HAVE EDS; I Have Marfan Syndrome! 

 Talk about turning my world upside down!! LMAO..30 years thinking I had one diagnosis ( Ehlers Danlos syndrome).. Come to find out it’s a different connective tissue disorder, Marfan syndrome. LMAO 🤣🤣

My life is never dull.. it’s a roller coaster.. another loop de loop, turn in my life lol 😆
I just got the diagnosis from the genetic testing, today!!! I am still in shock..30 years of lies! LMAO.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QC4vfqgw-UddjMb-HZU29fi16j9oWARK/view

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Life update: 30th Birthday!!!

 So yesterday, May 5, I officially turned 30 years old! Gosh how am I already 30?! time flies! 

We really didn’t do much to celebrate it. The weather was rather ugly outside, my mom’s knee was bugging her, Bae (David) was working, etc. My parents got a sign and a banner to put in the front yard, Bae (David) came after work, Dad made one of my favorite meals (it’s called “greasy chicken”- basically a chicken in a gravy type thing..It is really good and yummy!) 

Earlier in the week, Mom and Dad had invested in a really fancy office chair for me since I do a lot of computer stuff and sitting at a desk; it was highly recommended for people with Scoliosis and back problems for good posture. They also got me some Fine-Tip ink pens in various colors since I do a lot of journaling and note-taking while doing my daily religious readings and such. Those surprises were before my birthday: For my birthday, They invested in a Cricut Explore Air 2 in my birthstone color: Emerald! The day before my birthday, one of my best friends, one I been friends with since we were in preschool together, came to drop off a 30 wine glass and a “cheers to 30 years” purple shirt for me to wear on my birthday (which I did wear, and it’s the shirt I am photographed in the slideshow video down below).

Today, May 6, Mom was feeling better so she made up the fact she couldn’t make me a special birthday breakfast by going to Waffle House while I was asleep and ordering what we usually split together- The all-star breakfast: Pecan Waffle, Country Ham, Hashbrowns, etc. and brought it home for me! I am so spoiled, but I am the youngest child and I have had a rough life, so I deserve a little spoiling every now and then LMAO! 

This weekend, our local performing theatre is doing a talent show- so we will go to that, maybe go do a little shopping and go get my “birthday freebies,” from stores and stuff I have rewards memberships with. Don’t know, Time will tell what we actually do; Having disabilities kill my stamina levels so I gotta just see how I am feeling and “play by ear,” but oh how I wish I could “be Normal,” and have normal stamina levels and such, but eh, Tis my life- can’t change it so might as well accept it. *shrugs* 

But anyway, Overwell, it was a pretty good birthday. 🙂 

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Life Update: Resuming College, Registering Fall 2021 classes

Based on my current stamina level, I decided to only resume college part-time: 9 credit hours-3 classes scheduled: I will be taking Eng359:Advanced English writing for social sciences class (Monday and Wed. 1-2:15 p.m.), Socio364: Juvenile Delinquency (Because I feel like that would be interesting- on Mon, Wed., and Friday 10 a.m.-10:50 a.m.), and CMCN307: Communication in leadership class (online). I still have many many many choices in classes I want to eventually take but they were either full or not available this semester. I am just so eager to start back in the fall and I hope I don’t get burnt out, able to keep up and try my best and get something out of these classes 🙂 I’m very optimistic and I think I chose some pretty good classes. Let’s see how long that optimism stays. 😛 haha.

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Life Update: Fall 2021 Resuming College, Close to Bachelors Degree!!!!

What girl is resuming college in the fall semester and only 28 credits from bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration in behavioral studies…? 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️ this girl, right here! Woot woot.

However, being I have 28 hours left: All I have left is an Advanced English writing class, some general electives, and enrichment (concentration) classes. While I think if I do 2 semesters of full time-each one will be about 15 credit hours, (which is about 5 classes if its a 3-day class)- more if its a 2-day class.) that will be 2 extra credit hours in the end run, but then I will be done by end of next spring if I am able to keep my grades up.

However, I been out for a while and I get stressed and overwhelmed easily, so maybe Instead of setting myself up to fail and burned out, I only do a few part-time, even though I am thinking these will be “Easy” classes.

I don’t know what the workloads entail for these classes. Plus my stamina isn’t great right now. So looking at my energy level now, it’d probably be safest to do part-time in the fall, and then in spring, I can work my way up to more credit hours. (although maybe not, since spring starts in January and that’s still cold…unless it’s mostly online during that time. I don’t know. Time will tell.) Any advice is greatly appreciated. 🙂

Many people on my Facebook suggested only taking 1-2 other classes besides the advanced writing class because for most people, advanced writing classes take up a lot of time.

The next biggest issues while registering for classes:

1.) When going to the course description, some descriptions only say “will have an additional cost,” It doesn’t say anything about what the course is about or the workload expectancy: Like how is a student supposed to figure out if that class is a good fit with another class they are taking? UGH!

2.) Most of the classes I am looking at either is full to capacity, not a good fit with the advanced writing class, and some just aren’t available/an option for this semester.

So right now, the only class I can schedule is advanced writing: Could that be a sign from God? Like “Hello, all you need to take is this one class for right now.” Only time will tell.

College, History, School, Teaching

World’s greatest college professor; Dr. B!

When I first began my “adventure” as a college student, during my second semester I met a professor that would change my life for the better. It isn’t very common that students become friends with their professors and the professors’ families, but that is exactly what would happen to me.

This professor was a history professor at LSU-E, Dr. Tony Baltakis. When I first started his class, I just went to class and loved it because he made history interesting; I also liked how “if you tried,” he’d “work with you,” and try to help you as much as he could. Other than that, we were just a student and professor, nothing unusual. Until one day, the elevator was out of order and I needed it due to my physical limitations and the fact I used a rolling backpack (which doesn’t mix too well with stairs,) “Dr. B” as we often called him, saw me as he was heading to the staircase and asked if I needed him to “carry my bag and me,” to which I laughed and told him, “I got two working legs, Dr. B, but if you could bring my backpack for me, that’d be great.” Turns out his wife, Mrs. Donna, had Polio and had limitations as well, so he seemed to have a “soft spot” for those with special needs. After that, when he’d see me around campus, he’d joke and pick at me, “there’s my girlfriend,” to which I would pick back, “you better watch out, Dr. B, I’m gonna tell Mrs. Donna on you,” hile laughing.

His birthday was the end of the fall semester in December, and I got my mom to bake him some yummy treats (to share with his family if he chose- after all, it was mainly for his birthday) but Mom put in extras for Christmas treats, as well (Yes, I know, My mom is pretty awesome LOL.)

Dr.B’s teaching methods involved putting his powerpoints up online for the students to print out or to use their computers to add in notes he gave in class that wasn’t included in the power points, he also would review what material our tests would cover, he’d go over the guidelines to the way he wanted our book reports done, and he had an “open door,” office policy- if students had questions, he’d allow them to ask in class or if they were “Easily embarrassed,” after class/ during his office hours. As long as he saw students giving effort, he’d “work with them,” offering bonus points for certain things that encouraged learning (museums and such,) or for attending the performing arts performances through LSU-E that He and his wife were in charge of.

He only had a couple of “pet peeves”: playing with phones during his class, heads down on the desk, or some falling asleep during his class. I only saw one or two students get tossed out of class when the pet peeves happened. Dr. B would often say that he didn’t mind students debating if they had a difference of opinion, but I saw plenty of times he’d get on his “soapbox,” as we called it; I think some students would debate him just so he’d get on the soapbox and waste the class period.

Whether it be him on a “soapbox” rant or his actual history lesson, it kept my attention either way. He wasn’t like some professors who try to force their views down their students’ throats; being a professor of History; he’d present both sides and the history behind them. It was really interesting. 

To Be completely honest, before college, I wasn’t at all fascinated with history, but after the first history in college, with Dr. B as my professor, I went on to take 2 other history courses that he also taught(1 of which wasn’t required for my degree.)

A year or so later, I had to go up to St Louis, Missouri to have halo traction and back surgery

for my severe Kypho-Scoliosis (159-degree curve, 18-20% lung capacity, and my ribs had twisted around my spine.) I spent 7.5 months in halo traction and 2 or so months for surgery and recovery in St Louis; Miles away from my home, family, friends, and loved ones. Dr. B and Mrs. Donna often wrote to me either letters in the mail, email, or through Mrs. Donna’s Facebook; following my updates on my health progress and such, sometimes they were also my “pick me up” when feeling down or upset and would give me encouragement or advice. 

When I got home after surgery and resumed my college courses, upon seeing me for the first time since I had my surgery, Dr. B, hugged me and was amazed at how“straight” I looked now and that I had “gotten taller.”

Even though I am no longer at the college that he teaches, we still keep in touch. Even when I struggle with courses and have moments of doubt and wanting to give up, he and Mrs. Donna, are there to encourage me, support me, and remind me that maybe I can do my dreams differently. I am pretty sure (actually I know for a fact,) if I straight up quit college altogether, he and Mrs. Donna would be on my case like a lot of my family and friends, to which I appreciate and love them for. Mrs. Donna often asks about me and college and reminds me, “Dr. B and I want you to get that degree!” I just love having my own little cheering section in my life outside of family (Family kind of has to support you. lol.)

Dr. B, about a year ago, got into a motorcycle accident and got badly injured. Upon seeing that on Facebook, I was instantly heartbroken and upset that something like that could happen to such a loving, great guy like Dr. B. 

When I had time and a ride to bring me (even though I drive, I been having more increased pain lately due to some rods from my surgery being broke-since then have been fixed with new surgery Aug. 2019,) I went spend an hour or two visiting with him. It was so good to see him, even though he had a cast and looked like he was in pain.

If anyone is deserving of a Teaching Excellence Award, it is Dr. B.(Actually he deserves alot of awards and praise not just for teaching!) He not only makes history enjoyable and interesting, but he taught me a lot of other things too: compassion and empathy for others, to help your fellow man or woman, not to “count myself out,”/ to have confidence in myself despite my limitations, the list could go on forever, but you all get the idea; he’s a dang-great professor and an even greater family-friend.

I love you, Dr. B and Mrs. Donna! Thanks for being such an amazing part of my life. PS we are due for a catch up visit. Lets do a dinner get together soon; My fiance and I can cook and we can just chill out and catch up! It’ll be fun! ❤ Anyway Love yall so much and have a great day and hope this makes yall day ❤ Hugs!

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Lost… Who is Jamie Elizabeth?

My Mom used to say, that as a child, I had “a smile that was infectious and could brighten others days,” and I was an inspiration with how I handled my disability with a smile. However, over the years, between trying my best to fit in with society’s ideals/standards, trying to live up to what I was taught by my parents or CCD Religion classes, relationships with people I thought of as friends who turned out to be toxic (only to discover my true friends), relationships romantically, stress from struggles as a college student, and the struggles of living on and off with pain or other medical problems, I seem to have lost a sense of myself.

It’s like a constant battle between my heart, my brain, and the outside forces of voices from people around me. I am 28 and enjoy childish things like dolls, stuffed animals, playing games at the local fairs, I enjoy cartoons and childish movies, tea parties, parties, I get separation anxiety and sad when my friends have to leave; it is like I am still a child trapped in the biological fact that I am 28 and some people point it out and judge me and tell me, “You are 28, act your age.” But my question is, “Is it they are just jealous that I am trying to find joy in the things I have always enjoyed?” I am just trying to block out the darkness and cruelty of the world going on around me. It may make me ignorant, but I refuse to watch the news because it’s depressing and angers me, I rather “stick my head in the sand,” and tune it out, and leave it to God. When the world is so sad and depressing, who wouldn’t want to go back to the simpler times of innocence of childhood?

Don’t get me wrong, I still know some things I enjoy: Spending time with friends/family, parties, dancing, theater, crafts, creative writing, etc.; however, lately, I been really tired a lot and seem to stay in front of screen watching movies/tv or YouTube videos. It’s like I have no motivation or anything right now. I have wanted to do more blogging, more YouTube, more artistic and creative, but I just can’t get myself to actually do it, or how to put words out there.

Hopefully, I can rediscover myself again.

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another sleepless night; chronic pain and tears.

A bad storm passed through Louisiana this week so it has been quite a bit of sleepless nights for me lately and then add in the dreaded once a month bullshit us females have to deal with, adding in stress, anxiety, hormones, emotional roller coaster, all that (sarcastic tone) “fun.” Tonight, I tossed and turned for 2 hours while my fiance’ just lays next to me snoring; sure, I could wake him up and make him suffer with me, but that is selfish plus he works to provide for us, so I guess he needs the sleep more than I do, but it sure would be nice to be able to talk these things out instead of blogging them.

I have a mattress that can elevate the head, it helps with migraines and sometimes my upper back (then I gotta deal with my lower back and hips hurting), but tonight my upper back is hurting and I am not even gonna use the head-elevation because lately it has been making my fiance’ back hurt in the morning; which sent me down the dreaded “rabbit hole” of the uncertainty of a future together: What if I become bed-ridden, what if he has to help me with everything more than he does now? That isn’t what he signed on for! It isn’t fair to him. I know he made a commitment to me and he constantly reminds me of it anytime I start crying and freaking out about how much pain I am in and the fears that sends into me about how uncertain my life and future are; I just don’t want him to have regrets or resentments. I love him, I really do, but when these fears kick in, I go into flight mode and tend to push him away, thinking I am saving him from being stuck in a sucky future with me and my damn disability. How can I expect him to accept it and what it does to me, if I cant even accept it completely myself?

If there was a pill created to make me “normal,” like everyone else in society, I would take it! Even though I also feel like having my disability has made me a well-rounded, wise, empathetic, compassionate, supportive, loyal, passionate person. Does it make me a bad person? Why is it I can be a support system and cheerleader for others with disabilities but yet I cant even accept myself completely? Does it make me a hypocrite? Maybe its just the pain talking; well the pain and the damn devil. I need to really work on myself and loving myself for me; whole-y and completely. Maybe after my surgery to fix my rods, maybe my pain will be better, and I can start being happy again. One can only hope.