Under the Chiari

So far, all I’ve done in this blog is rant about the story behind my illness and how it affects me, but believe it or not there is a person under all of this medical drama. I’d like to take the time to write a little bit about who I am, what I’ve done with my life so far and where I intend to take my life after my surgery.

As you already know, my name is Ella and I am 23. This here is me:

I live in Sydney, Australia, which is a rather cramped and busy city in a beautiful country. I was born and raised here, although I was lucky enough to travel quite frequently in my childhood and teens.

From childhood I’ve been insatiably curious and a studyholic, although I’ve never conformed well to academia. One of my first favourite picture books, before I could even read, was a human anatomy encyclopaedia. I loved playing educational video games on science, history and mathematics, and I loved to read books about history and religion (with a special passion for the Tudor English period). I’ve also always loved music and art, and was a frequent visitor of operas, symphonies, museums and art galleries.

As a teenager my passion was music. I wrote a lot of electronic music and absolutely loved choral singing, being a member of several choirs. I eventually attended the Australian Institute of Music, which I sadly did not graduate from due to health problems.

I have a diploma in beauty therapy, although honestly I don’t quite understand why. I spend a while working as a make up artist but quickly moved on when I realised it was not the kind of career I could feel fulfilled in.

I’ve always had a soft spot for animals, if by soft spot I mean borderline obsessive love. The companion animals in my life have always been a source of strength for me, and I remember many of them as my closest friends. My current pets, a cat, a bird and a snake, are a great support network and I spend much of my free time interacting with them. I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade now, which is a decision I would never consider reversing.

I probably give a little more money to charity than I should. I currently support three: Amnesty International, World Vision and the Animal Welfare League. I’m looking forward to the day where I’m not only earning enough money to give more, but have the time and health to volunteer for charity. I passionately believe in equal human rights and animal welfare. Compassion is a big part of my life these days.

I’m also quite a bookworm, which I am currently still swimming in joy about since my Chiari affected my memory and concentration quite badly for a while and I found myself unable to read even small sentences of text without struggling. I read mostly non-fiction, especially on the subjects of history and religion.

I love to video game! I don’t know if I’d call myself a hardcore gamer though. My favourite games are Portal, Final Fantasy VII, Dead Space 2 and Skyrim. I’ve almost completely my full clear of all of Skyrim’s achievements, only six more to go! I used to be a hardcore World of Warcraft and Aion fanatic, but addiction makes me miserable so I quit for my own sanity.

I’m currently studying religion at university by long distance. It’s been amazing so far, and I really look forward to continuing after my surgery. I, myself, have recently found Buddhism and feel that I resonate with it strongly, although I have a great respect for many religious philosophies and beliefs and enjoy discussing and reading about all of them.

After my surgery I am hoping to become a veterinary nurse and work with birds, reptiles and exotic animals. I also want to spend some time as an animal cruelty inspector, and work for a while in conservation. Before I get started on my career, however, I have a list of many different animal hospitals and welfare societies that I wish to volunteer at. Looking after animals is the one job where I can see myself volunteering to work extra hours and walking into work with a smile every day.

I still dabble a bit with music and art, but I’d never pursue a career in either as I feel the modern industries tend to wash out some of the magic in favour of popularity and profit margin. They are hobbies that keep me sane, along with crafting, cooking and sewing.

Aside from my Chiari, I also have another neurological condition called Aspergers Syndrome, which is a form of autism. As a result, I’m a bit socially clumsy, but nevertheless its a part of me that I am proud of and I’d never change it for the world. If you don’t know much about Aspergers, you can have a quick read about it here. I speak out openly against the horrible “rude, loud and uncaring” Aspergers stereotype that has been filling the younger internet generation, and I speak out against the need for all people with autism to be cured.

So there you have it. Ella in a nutshell! Now we can get back to the topic of squishy brains and scary surgeries.

2 thoughts on “Under the Chiari

  1. Hi Ella, thank you again and this may i say is you in a nutshell as i feel you are still waaaay more complex than this nutshell.

    I would like to understand more as to how the condition affects you physically – most people may read this and think – ah i understand, goes about normal life – eat, drink anything, excersise as most (walking, cleaning, laughing, up and down stairs, gentle gym stuff etc), goes out to quiet venues for social things (resturants, theatre, movies, small music venues – usual things for folks) and then while normal life is happening, feel giddy, maybe pass out – bit like epilepsy – so hey, a bit disturbing, don’t drive cars or operate heavy machinary. Doctors think – hey a bit disappointed cant heavy drink and go to loud music venues – take a few pills and stay relaxed.
    I know the reality but i think for you to look back on how your life will open for you and you take control of not doing something just because you dont want, to rather than you fear the possible medical/pain outcome of attempting something – it would be good for you to tell list some of this “ordinary” stuff.
    Lov your Blog Ella.

    • That’s a really good idea Mary, thanks. I will certainly write up a post on how exactly my condition physically disables me. It’s something that I’ve always found hard to word because there’s so many aspects of it, so a blog with unlimited space to rant is probably the perfect place to get it all out!
      Thank you for all your comments and continued reading.

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