Julia’s ABS Story

My name is Julia, and I was born with ABS in 1979. I am 23 and have had a wonderful life so far. The ABS affects both of my hands. I have both thumbs, and my left pinkie. The rest of my fingers are stunted and or missing. I do not have either middle fingers or my right index finger.

I was three when I had my first surgery and four for the second, and these are my earliest memories. They removed the webbing between my pinkie and ring finger on both hands, as well as the removal of excess tissue in most my fingers. Also they removed a band from around my thumb. They did one hand at a time. All of my surgeries were done at Shriners Hospital in San Francisco.

I recently graduated from CSU Chico with a B.A. in Anthropology, and now I am working through the school as an Archaeologist. I am a belly dancer with a local troupe in Chico, and I practice Tae Kwon Do. I received my black belt when I was 17, and I was on my high school dance team. Unfortunately, because of my hands I was not able to play an instrument, but I focused on my martial arts and that gave me so much confidence growing up. My parents were also a HUGE help for me when I was in high school. My mom especially was wonderful, and was always there for me and told me that I could do anything I wanted to do and the words “I can’t” were not in my vocabulary.

Junior High and High School were hard for me because the kids would always tease me, but that just made me more determined to succeed in everything I did. My mom always tells me that my little brothers and sister look up to me as a role model as an example that they can do anything that they want to do. People often ask me if I ever wished that I had fingers, and I tell them no because I would lose my individuality. I love my hands.