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This is a picture of me when I was ten-years-old. Beware, fish!


    Hi! My name is Quinn. I am 12 years old and I have a twin sister, Brandy, and a 13 year old brother named Byron. Some of the time we have fun together and some of the time we don't. When we get mad at each other, we can usually solve whatever the problem is. For example, sometimes we decide to share stuff so that everyone can have a turn...like when we are playing the Nintendo we get the same amount of time when we share. Then we are all happy.

    Do I have a story to tell you!  I guess I'll begin  with the good parts!

    I like funny jokes and watching funny plays and movies. And goosebumps and worsdsearch puzzles. I also like to take care of our petsÖfour cats and lots of ants who live in their own farm. I love my Ant farm and I take very good care of it.  I have been known to make many potions using all my mom's stuff in the house, 'til she hid it from me...hehehe. 

    Going to Cub Scouts and earning awards is the absolute best. The other scouts are nice to me because they want to be nice. After scouts is over a lot of times we play tag outside or something. Now that's fun!
    I'm also really smart, according to IQ tests, and I love anything that hasto do with science. My family's great, and I know they're here to love and help me. Here's  why I need their help. I have two diseases: one called ataxia and one called bi-polar mood swings. Believe me, they are NOT fun!
    First of all let me tell you about my ataxia. I have to see a doctor called a Neurologist to take care of it. Ataxia is a progressive loss of Muscular Control. Luckily, I have a slow progression ataxia. Most kids with ataxia end up in wheelchairs, and you can bet that I'm hoping that will not happen to me. The ataxia makes me have tremors in my hands and fingers, so I take a special medicine to help stop the shaking in my hands. It is really hard for me to write, so I got to have a computer at school to type. Even though I type really slowly, it's better than my handwriting... just too hard when you have this ataxia problem. Try shaking your hand a little bit while you write. Weird, isn't it?
    It's also tough for me to speak distinctly. You have to listen really carefully because I have a slur in my speech. It's hard for people to understand me, but it's really difficult for me to talk clearly. Believe me, that is frustratingÖfor everyone!
    There's more, too! I tend to trip all the time and I fall a lot since my coordination is very bad. I do not like having ataxiaÖat all! Think about what it would be like for you. It is very annoying to me. 
    Now on to my Bi-polar Mood Swings. I take some more medicines for this problem...in fact, I take a whole handful of pills with breakfast and dinner every day. They get stuck in my throat sometimes and I do not like this, but they do help me a lot. Without my pills I feel like I am out of control and nobody wants to be around me. This disease makes me feel like I canít think. It's so very depressing! The thing about these mood swings is that sometimes I'm OK and other times I throw things, bang my head off the walls, and yell at everybody. I can't help it. Everybody yells back at me and things get even worse. On those days I have to stay in my room until I get in control again.
    Sometimes I even see things that aren't  really there. Once I thought there were spiders all over in the tub, even though there weren't.  I was VERY scared. Sometimes I think bugs are crawling all over me and I hit myself all over to get them off. My Mom tells me that they're notreally there, but they sure are real to me.  This seeing things in my mind is called hallucinating. I hate the hallucinations because they're scary and because they make me look like I'm stupid. I really feel bad about myself, because I do not have very much patience and I get very mad easily. Sometimes I get something called a panic attack, too. It feels like I canít breathe and I get really scared. I go to a psychiatrist for help with these problems, and I've learned that I just have to take it a day at a time.
    I donít like to go out for recess because I donít seem to get along withother kids. They just donít understand me, so I normally stay in and do extra assignments for extra credit. 
    I donít have any friends at school and this makes me very sad. I wish the other kids would understand give me a chance, but they donít. They call me 4 eyes sometimes and when I tell them 4 eyes are better than 2 they get mad and say no they're not. When they call me names I tell them that sticks and stones will break my bones but names can never hurt me. I just try to tune them out and ignore them and they hate that. At least I love to go to scouts, so that's good, right? 
     

    What do you think? Here's a newer picture of me...Thanks for visiting! 

    P.S. I hope that you'll write to me
     

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          Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
                   Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
            Bronx, New York 10468

         
                    Last updated: November 14, 2004