Since I was less than two years old when my sister was born, I don’t ever remember not living with her. So when it comes to Alyssa’s story, I can only repeat what I’ve heard. And over the years, what I’ve heard has changed as we visited new doctors, tried new medications and treatments, etc.

But I want you to know a little bit about Alyssa and a little about our family and a little about the journey that has brought us to where we are today. After all, our journey is what led me to start this blog. So here is Alyssa’s story, from her sister’s point of view.

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Alyssa’s story starts before she was born. One of the many doctors Alyssa has seen over the years thinks it possible she had a stroke before birth. I remember my mom recounting how after Alyssa was born, it looked like half her neck was missing—everything was compressed to one side. The doctors at the time said it would ‘work itself out.’ Years later, when we saw how Alyssa benefited from chiropractic treatment, we wondered if things could have been different if she had been treated immediately after birth.

Another complication came after Alyssa’s birth, when the hospital staff insisted on immunizing her for Hepatitis B. The staff had mistakenly recorded that my mom had hepatitis and as a result, insisted that Alyssa needed to be treated. For many years, I heard my parents give this as the probable cause for Alyssa’s condition.

It wasn’t until Alyssa was 17 months old that she started having seizures. At that point, my parents knew that something was wrong, but once again, the doctors didn’t seem to agree. It wasn’t until my parents insisted the doctor view a video recording of Alyssa having a seizure that the doctor started to take things seriously.  And that, I assume, is when the ups and downs of doctor visits, hospital stays, various medications, traveling across the country for new treatments, etc, began.

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As I tried to summarize what I know about Alyssa’s ‘beginnings,’ I realized how often doctors stood aside or actively, but wrongfully, administered or prevented treatments that could have made a difference for Alyssa. And I couldn’t help but wonder… if they had responded differently, could it have made a difference? Could she have recovered from the stroke with the proper treatment? Would avoiding unnecessary immunizations have also helped avoid additional complications? How could things have been different?

The more I think about it, however, the more I realize it doesn’t matter. Because I cannot imagine life without the Alyssa we have today. Yes, she will have a life of medical ups and downs, developmental delays, and who knows what else. But she also has a life full of joy and wonder and marvel. She brings to life things that the rest of the world simply passes by. She brings perspective and laughter and thankfulness to those around her. She is a constant display of true unconditional love. She is beautiful the way she is… and ‘normal’ could never make up for the opportunities she gives us to glimpse the face of God.