No Pity Parties Please! By Brianna Edwards-Moreno

BriannaMy name is Brianna. I am 20 years old, born on February 18th  1993. I live in Missouri with my parents, 4 sisters and 5 brothers. I’m a college student majoring in social work so I can eventually work with abused children.   I’m different than most people my age because at age thirteen while in school I passed out in P.E. I later went on to find out I had a stroke due to CNS vasculitis –meaning the blood flow to part of my brain wasn’t functioning correctly. Nobody can really tell you why this happened to me because I was a normal healthy kid. Because of this stroke I was left paralyzed on my left side. When I woke up, I couldn’t walk, no matter how many times I attempted to try.  When the nurses weren’t looking, I was able to move my left arm, but still had horrible slurred speech.   And so, I re-learned to walk and worked on my speech (which got a lot better).  But, I still have a crooked smile and my arm is something I probably won’t ever “get back.”  The doctor says that it’s one of the hardest things to get back after brain injuries. But it’s ok.  I don’t expect nor want a pity party.

I do things like a normal two-handed person would but I do it with one hand. I have adapted to the struggles of day to day tasks. From doing my hair to tying my shoes everything comes pretty easy to me now. I wake up put my clothes on like anybody else. Then I do my makeup put contacts on then after my jewelry is all on I manage to do my hair. I can’t do the regular ponytail quite yet but I have mastered a messy bun, a regular bun, and various other up-dos. Then after I’m all ready I take a cab to work. I honestly would prefer to drive however, with me not always paying attention to my left side I think the thought of driving scares my parents to death. I work at a kid’s hospital as part of the child life staff. So I’m constantly lifting toy boxes creating crafts and lifting young children but that’s also something I have learned my way around with just the one arm. My left arm is just there really. I do use it sometimes though to hold papers while writing things, carry things, pushing things, open doors or even turn on and off light switches. People do stare a lot and I do notice I don’t mind it anymore though it just comes along with being the way I am.

Despite what I have experienced, I love my life! And so, I dream of one day of being a motivational speaker (which is why I have started my very own Facebook page “Brianna Moreno”).  I want to travel to schools all around the USA motivating kids to never give up and encourage them to embrace their differences. There’s honestly no better feeling than somebody saying you inspire them. I would not change it even if it was possible to go back and stop it. My disability doesn’t choose what I can do.  In fact, I was always told I’m the only one who limits myself. So, I refuse to sit back and let my difference run my life. Instead, I live a pretty normal, fun and amazing life and I love it! It has been a crazy ride and I’m just holding on to the end.

There’s no reason to give up now when there’s so much more living needed to be done!


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