Andrea's Page

Hi :>) My name is Andrea Gartner. I am a 19 year-old who was born with Apert Syndrome. I am currently in my final half of my freshman year in college. The first semester was a little tough for me, but Iím sticking with it and hanging in there. I'm planning to major in experimental psychology. They study the behavior of animals and study certain aspects of human behavior. Specifically, I'd like to study how people with birth defects or the disabled are treated in society socially. When I'm not studying, I enjoy playing with my cat Bear, taking a photography course, writing short stories and poems, doing research on Apert Syndrome, and reading about cats and animal rights. I find growing up with Apert Syndrome to be quite challenging. It is much harder for me to get a job. find loyal friends, and be accepted. Throughout my childhood, and still today, I get my share of giggles, finger pointing, staring and rude comments. For every stare, giggle or comment I get, I often feel humiliated, but I tell myself that I am quite comfortable with the way I look, and noone can tell me different. After all God made me this way for a reason. All the support I need comes from my family and my best friends Jamie and Chris. I find it so frustrating that we live in a society that judges people by their looks and appearances before anything else. At the time, I am quite comfortable with my facial appearance and the way I look. I do not plan to have any severe craniofacial surgery done in the future. I feel it wouldn't change the person I am on the inside, just leave me with scars on the outside. I was born in January of 1978. I have had several surgeries throughout my life. It seems surgery is my middle name! At seven weeks, I had a craniofacial surgery done. The purpose for this was to allow my brain to grow normally because the soft spot on my skull was closed at birth. I had two finger separation surgeries, one at six months, and another at nine months. I had a finger and toe separation surgery at 14 months, and another at 19 months. I am grateful for these surgeries. Although my I have limitations in my hands, I am amazed at what they can do. I encourage this surgery. When I was nine years old, I had a left foot, toe separation surgery. The results of these surgeries were interesting. It helped my walking on my left foot, but on my right foot it didnít. At 15, I had another right foot toe separation. I have also had teeth extracted. However, the big problem throughout my life has been my ears. I have had persistent ear infections. I also wear braces. I'm finally getting used to them. At least I'll have a nicer smile. According to my mother, her pregnancy was quite normal. I came out weighing 6 pounds and 11 ounces, and only 19 1/2 inches long! I have a very loving and supporting father and older brother as well, and a cat named Bear. We named him bear because of his appearance and friendly personality. I am a big cat lover! I am the only one in my entire family who was born with Apert. I presently live in Cape Coral, Florida, and have lived here for the past three years. I'm originally from Illinois. Northbrook to be exact. I was amazed to find that there were so many others from all over the world, who were also born with Apert Syndrome. At times, I felt that I was the only one who was. It is a big relief for me to know that there are others out there young and old. Teeter's Page provided great help and encouragement for me. (Way to go Cat and Don!) If you have any questions, please ask. I would really love to hear from anyone with Apert young or old, or even parents!

11394 Royal Tee Cir.
Cape Coral, FL 33991

this page was updated October 27, 2002

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