Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dwarf: a memoir

by Tiffanie DiDonato, Rennie Dyball

This is the flat out, honest, intimate story of the life of a woman, a warrior in her own right, and it kept me glued to the pages from the moment I opened the covers of the book, 

Very shortly after her birth, her parents were informed, coldly and with no information that their newborn daughter suffered from a form of Dwarfism called Diastrophic Displasia. Her parents learned that is form of dwarfism causes a malformation of the joints, and cartilage. From the very earliest days surgery became a part of her life. First her feet and her joints, to enable her to stand. Later, elective surgeries that would lengthen the bones in her legs and arms. 

As a very young child, she was of course, not aware of her differences. She was with small children and was small herself. She was very good about learning to find ways to assist herself rather than always asking her parents for help. This was necessary because she was not only small, but her legs, and her arms were smaller than those of a typical child. Tong,s pencils and other household objects enabled her to do many things she would not be able to accomplish otherwise. 

Then, something happened on day.. that sent her mother, who by then had gone to school to study nursing, to seek out other and better ways to help her daughter. They found a doctor who could help. The fact that the painful surgery to lengthen her bones to make her legs and eventually her arms a bit longer was explained to little Tiffie and she made the choice to go ahead with it. She did this with the absolute support and untiring help of her mother. 

While the surgeries were indeed just as painful and the recovery as difficult as had been described, Tiffany thought it had been worth it. When once again an event in her life caused her to seek out further medical intervention and yes... more surgery, more pain. By this time in her life she had a friend, Mike. He was her friend, her sounding board, her unfaulty door. He was there for her in as many ways as he could be. 

Despite the fact that her original surgeon was not enthusiastic about further intervention, Tiffanie and her mom, the indomitable team sought out a way for Tiffanie to achieve her dream. This story is very honest and sometimes graphic in its descriptions of what she had to endure, first as a small child and then as an adolescent. It is an unflinching account of pain endured, humiliation and even isolation. But after her Dad, who at first was not as enthusiastic about her plans came on board, anything seemed possible. 

So this is the story of a young woman with more strength, than most will ever have to find in themselves in a lifetime, never mind during the years of their childhood and adolescence. It is a story that will make the reader stop and thing before complaining about the hand life has dealt to them. It is an inspirational and despite everything, it is a story of optimism and achievement. 

Read it.. you won't regret it. Recommended 

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