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Similar to a first date, reading your first blog post from an author can evoke both excitement and hesitation. You know automatically in the first few minutes if there is a connection there, if you can see something long term developing, or if it will just be a one-time-thing. The brave of you would get up and walk out of the restaurant straight away if you don't see what you like, while other's of you will give it a chance to get better.

While we are both nervous, fumbling around and awkwardly undressing the layers of emotional walls that guard us, I promise I will make your first time worth it. I am sure most of us have heard that one before...

I have been one in a crowd for a very long time. The girl working in your office building, the girl who is so-and-so's friend, the girl who is always in hospital, the model or someone who is so insignificant to your life that it has not even crossed your mind. Well, now I want to introduce myself... Hi, I'm Anja.

Same as everyone, I spent most of the years of my life trying to fit in. I thought if I could believe I was just like everyone else, it would just happen. Well, the truth is I am far from it. I grew to realise that no one 'fits in'. Everyone's different. We all have our 'thing'.

My mum found out my 'thing' when she was pregnant. 28 weeks to be exact. She learnt that her baby may not be here for very long. There was nothing she could do. In just over ten weeks, she would need to place the life of her child in stranger's hands and she would need to keep doing this for as long as the child shall live.

I would not be able to survive without immediate surgery, and I would have medical conditions that would impact me every second, of every minute of each and every day. She did not realise the taboo nature of some aspects of the condition. It was not acceptable dinner party conversation.

The condition, VACTERL Association, was not a glitch on the sonographer's screen. It had an occurrence rate of one in 10,000-40,000 live births.

My survival in the hands of the doctors, I was born via emergency caesarean, prepped for surgery and wheeled across to the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane where I was anaesthetised at 5 hours old.

I was missing most bones in my sacrum, including my tail bone. I had hemi-vertebrae and an extra lumbar vertabrae as well (V).

I had imperforated anus - no anal opening - a cloaca to be precise (A). No need to google what this means, I will explain. I had my bladder, duplicated reproductive organs and intestine fused together high up in my body, appearing as one opening.

They had found a small hole in my heart that needed to be monitored closely (C)

My food pipe had no connection to my stomach, it was joined to my airpipe, flowing into my lungs (TE - tracheal-oesphageol fistula and oesophageol atresia).

I had only one kidney - the other was completely non existent (R).

What does all this medical jargon mean for someone's life?

I know you are thinking "yeah, but you are alive and seem normal enough now!".. that is not quite the case. These problems are never "fixed".

Before I innundate you with information overload - I'll leave the first date first, and let the bombshell sink in.

See you on our second date X


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