about me

This is me on the trampoline on  Apr. 9, 2000 Hi! My name is Justin and today I am:

(I was born on Oct. 1, 1996, if you want to check my calculations). My Mommy & Daddy were surpised when I was born because I had a unilateral cleft lip & palate. That means that when I was growing in Mommy's tummy my lip and palate didn't finish growing together like most people's do.

This was taken before my lip repair surgery on my first Halloween, Oct. 31, 1996. I will have several reconstructive surgeries as I grow up. I already had lip repair surgery when I was 11 weeks old and palate repair surgery when I was almost a year old. Other semi-related surgeries I've had are ear tubes (4 times), dental surgery, and a tonsillectomy. I had my fourth set of ear tubes inserted in April 2004. I will have to have at least one more 'big' surgery which will probably be done next year. Right now I have an orthodontic appliance called a palate expander in my mouth. When it's done with its job, I will have bone graft surgery, where my doctor will take bone cells from my hip and put them in where the bone is missing in my upper jaw.

If you want to know more about clefting, there's a really super web site called Wide Smiles. They have tons of info that helped my Mom & Dad learn about clefts and how to deal with some of the special problems I had. In the Wide Smiles Gallery you can see photos of me and over 100 other cleft affected people in various stages of their reconstruction. Wide Smiles also sponsors an email discussion/support group, called Cleft-Talk, that my Mommy belongs to.

Ok, now that I've told you my medical history, I've got to tell you I'm really just a normal and healthy boy. I like to play soccer, ride my bike, and play on my computer or Gameboy. My favorite foods are Chicken McNuggets and mac 'n cheese and I like to drink IBC Rootbeer. I even have two dogs and a cockatiel. You can see pictures of Banshee, Loki, and me taken this summer when we first adopted Loki. Merlin still doesn't have any pictures here yet, but maybe Mommy can use her new camera to get some soon.

Lego Snake
Mom and Dad were thrilled when I built this Lego Snake, I was only 4 years old. Mommy was impressed with my imagination, and Daddy thought I was beginning to show engineering ability. Actually, I just copied the picture on the side of my Lego bucket.

I am nuts about dinosaurs! I think I'll be a paleontologist when I grow up. Mommy & Daddy took me to see Walt Disney's Dinosaur when it first came out in theaters. It was WAY COOL! Mommy bought it for me when it came out on DVD and I watch it alot. I play my Dinosaur Adventure 3-D computer game for hours at a time. Mommy & Daddy even play with me, because it's really fun! A lot of my puzzles are dinosaurs and I'm even collecting a documentary series about dinosaurs called When Dinosaurs Ruled. (Yes, I actually watch them. They are very interesting.)

I am in fourth grade this year, and my teacher is Mr. Petersen. I got my first report card with real grades a couple weeks ago. It was a very good report, I got three As, two Bs, and a C. My best subject is math, and I love to read, but my favorite thing about school is recess. I hope you've enjoyed the story of ME so far!

This baby dino was adopted from: