This will sound utterly terrible, but I don’t recall a hell of a lot of much importance from the years after my first surgery, leading up to my second. With as much that was at stake in those years, I know my parents have about a thousand stories to tell, but as for me personally, the things I can remember are sparse. With that in mind, and in the interest of skipping through the boring parts, I now present to you the Cliffsnotes version of my life in as close to chronological order as I can muster, from the ages of 1 to 7.5 years old. Basically the verbal equivalent of a montage. Hey, Jesus went from being a baby to 30 years old. I’d like to try and be a little more thorough.

* Began learning to talk around 9 months old, well before I was even able to walk, proving that even at a young age, I was going to be hard to shut up.

* Experienced my first death of a loved one when my Grandfather Foster (or “Fa” as I called him) passed away from lung cancer due to his smoking habit. I was only one or two years at the time and although it’s well-documented that children can’t recall things in their later years from that early in life, I will still swear on a thousand Bibles that I remember crawling into his room and asking him for candy. 

* Became best friends with our three legged black cat, Bart and began my love for damaged but affectionate animals.

* Became a fan of He-Man and the Masters Of The Universe. Had my mother sew me this costume, which won me a costume contest two years in a row at my old day care. 

*Ended up shouting “NINETY NINE CENTS, A DOLLAR CASH, COCAINE!!!” aloud and in the middle of a grocery store, much to my parent’s shock. None of us really know where I may have gotten that line, (although I did watch a lot of TV) and even for the early 1980’s, that’s clearly an incredibly good price for cocaine. I’m only shocked no one in that supermarket tried to take me up on the offer.

* Loudly accused my mother of “throwing me under the table” at an S&S Restaraunt, when she was patting me on the back in an attempt to dislodge a piece of food I had been choking on. 

* My younger brother Alex, who will be expanded upon later in our story, was born on July 25th, 1986. Being a fleshy pink ball of goo clad in a diaper makes for less compelling storytelling than his later years will.

* Developed my first childhood crush (Age 5) on Noel, who I first met in in my time at Prospect Daycare. After inviting me to her birthday party and becoming the first girl I ever met that I didn’t suspect of being covered in horrid, lethal cootie, I spent the better part of a year secretly planning to marry her. (Noel who is now happily married with a child, follows me on Facebook and Twitter, and chances are pretty good that she will more than likely end up reading this burning admission at some point. Hi, Noel!)

* Made my first “best friend” from childhood in the form of Seth Althaus, to whom I ended up taking on an Igor to his Dr. Frankenstein plots to blow up and escape from the walls of the aforementioned Prospect Daycare Center, and with whom I’ve mostly stayed in touch ever since.  

* Got bit on the ass by a goose and have had an irrational hatred for the horrible birds that runs deep to this very day.

* Got a Teddy Ruxpen doll, which would later go on to traumatize my fragile young mind, when one of his animatronic eyeballs caved into, and became trapped inside of his head, leaving the gaping eye hole filled with circuits to shatter my child-like illusion of magic. 

* Became horrified to the point of nightmares by my first encounter with pictures of African Tree Frogs in a nature book. Those horrible red eyes were something that kept me awake at night. 

* Met my lifetime best friend and self-proclaimed “body guard”, Jason Skees after moving into our home in Goshen, Kentucky. 

*Made my first “enemy” out of a kid named Matt, back when enemies meant things like playing pranks and throwing water balloons filled with pee. I don’t recall how we got off to not liking each other to begin with, but that animosity went on for a couple of years at least. (Matt and I later became semi-friendly for a time before he died tragically in a car accident.)

* I discovered my unabashed love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (More on that in a later post.)

* Completed the childhood “best friend” trifecta when I met Robbie Baar in Kindergarten. 

* Saw my first R-rated movie in the form of Total Recall. I only remember laughing my head off at the lady with the three boobs. (The same reaction I have while watching it to this day.)

Of course, all of these things helped to some degree to form who I am. My awareness of my illness was pretty minimal in those days, and my parents didn’t encourage any sort of measures to keep me from acting like a normal kid. Though I had my limitations, I knew them well enough to take a break when things got too taxing. A lot more can happen in a period of seven and a half years, but the real show is in everything that happened after.

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