My name is Markus and the following sentences are a little sneak peek of my life story…
I was born in 1999 in Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria. Born with clubfoot was not easy, especially when I grew up and every other child could play football or some other sports and I couldn’t. “No, Markus you can’t do that – it’s too dangerous”.
I always asked myself: “Why? Why it is so dangerous – I have the same feet as the others, I have the same hands as the others?” I couldn’t understand why everybody was saying that I couldn’t play with the other children. When we played football/soccer I was always the referee so that the risk of injury from a foul was reduced or minimized. In my early years, I could not understand that, and I want to be a part of the team of course.
As soon as I went to school, in 2005, I realized that something was different. My grades weren’t bad (except Math haha) but that wasn’t the thing. I always felt that everybody was watching me. Is it because of me? Somehow, I got the feeling that everybody is laughing at me (what a weird thought).
In 2009 I finished primary school and went to middle school. Well, that was a whole new thing. Again, I thought to myself: everybody is staring at me – why is that so? I spoke with my mum about this and she said: “well, maybe because you’re an interesting person”. In school, some classmates began ignoring me: not directly in the beginning, they said: “Ahh, you can’t come to my place, someone else is coming today” or I wasn’t asked to go to the public swimming bath. My only real friends were my cousins and they took me with them so that I wasn’t alone.
I learned to deal with disappointments very quickly.
The compulsory school years passed and then I had to decide what I want to do next. I began an apprenticeship as an administrative assistant in governmental authority. Once again my past caught up with me and I was reduced to my disease/illness. In that part of life, I thought “Okay, I accepted I have a disease but physically not mentally.” In fact, that was the new motto of my life (after 15 years I accepted my disease… well, better than never).
This apprenticeship was a combination of working and going to school. Once a classmate asked me why I have such cribbled hands, it scares him, he said. I’ve always tried to swallow such statements, but I found it buried inside me.
After school, I went to my workplace and whatever went wrong in the office, I was the first to be accused. “Markus you must be more careful”; “Markus, you made, once again, a mistake,” “Did you even think about work when you do that?” – I was always the scapegoat. My grades were really bad in my first year of apprenticeship and why? Yes, right – once again, because of EDS. I can’t write as fast as other people (well, the synonym for my disease is adducted-Thumb-Clubfoot-Syndrome but surprisingly the teachers didn’t care about that). I had to take a repeat exam in informatics, so in the subject where I had to write a lot, and as you know, I could not write fast.
I did pass the exam and I swore to myself that I want to show everybody my illness shouldn’t be an obstacle in life. I said: “I want to go to university to study law”. Everybody laughed about that. After months of planning this project, I call it, I began to study for the entrance exams. So, four years after I had this repeat exam and thought I want to break up with everything, I got a letter from the University of Linz, which said I was accepted. I can’t describe these feelings – it feels just amazing to know everything is possible in life.
So now, March 2021, my second semester began and I am excited as I never was and I am very motivated for the next years. Sometimes I even forgot about the musculocontractual EDS (mcEDS) – what a time. Although I don’t have the fullest quality of life due to heart failure and restricted lung function, I’m still very happy at the moment. The strong tendency to hematoma currently doesn’t play a major role in life (the main reason for the many general anesthesias) I haven’t needed a general anesthetic since 2019 – so it can go on like this. I wish you all the best and stay safe and healthy! Markus