Hi, I’m Kristen and I was born in Aspen, Colorado. Since birth I’ve had cerebral palsy, at the age of two I had my first seizure. Through out my school years I was always enrolled in Special Education classes to help me learn and understand better about everyday living. It was frustrating at times because I looked at the students that were in normal classes and I knew I didn’t have that much of a learning disability. So it really upset me that I was in Special Ed all 4 years.
After high school, my mom enrolled me into the Irvine Adult Transition Program. Just like high school, I was with people whose disabilities were worse than mine. All the years I was there, I felt like they looked up to me, because to them I was normal. The program was also frustrating, because I was being taught things I already knew. But the program taught me to love the people that were struggling more than I was.
I was having three to five seizures per week in school and outside of school. It was really embarrassing when I was in high school because everyone would look at me and god only knows what they were thinking. I’ve taken several different medications in the past. Some of them controlled my seizures but the side affects were annoying. I’m now only on one medication, I used to be on five different ones but in 2005 I had brain surgery. That was a interesting experience for me and my family.
For the first nine days in the hospital I was just laying there with nurses and doctors coming in and out checking on me. Finally they took me into a room where I was put to sleep. When I went into the room the time was 2:00 PM and when I came out it
was 6:00 PM. It only felt 10 minutes to me. After they woke me up I had a enormous pounding headache. I had that headache for 2 weeks straight with double vision the whole time. On the bright side I now only have three to five seizures a year and it doesn’t effect me as much. Surprisingly I got my drivers license at one point in my life, but it only lasted for a week, because I crashed in a pole at night. Other then only being on one medication, I have a Vagus Nerve Stimulater (VNS). Which helps control my seizures, and I love it. The only thing that annoys me is the constant tension I get in my neck. But I’m used to it now and it’s worth to deal with because whenever I have a seizure I love it.
Living on my own with a roommate is great. Knowing how it feels be a individual without my parents help, feels wonderful. Although I did enjoy going back and forth to my dads house to my mom’s house for awhile but eventually I got sick of living with
them and that’s when I got a place in Tustin. I’m living in an area where everything is in walking distance. So it’s easy for me to go places and get things without asking someone to drive me there, especially Starbucks.
Getting a job hasn’t been very successful for me. I have had jobs in the past but they were from in the program I went through. Although I did get the job at Diedrich Coffee myself, which was really exciting, but it only lasted 10 months. Other then that I’ve always had a job-coach walking around following me the whole time I was working. For me Bad Ass Sports has been a incredible experience, being their Assistant Manager is a great feeling. I love that my dad thought of starting a company knowing I was the inspiration of starting it. I finally have a steady job.