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Nathan is truly a living testimony of faith, acceptance, courage and determination!

The story of Nathan Struwig Living with #SpinaBifidaMyelomeningocele and #Hydrocephalus 27/09/2018

The story of Nathan. A living testimony of faith, acceptance, courage and determination, in the face of Spinal Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Without prenatal diagnosis, he was born on December 22, 2006. Spinal fluid was leaking from his lower back and his hips dislocated. We rushed to Cosmos Hospital and our new born had emergency surgery to close the opening. Uninformed about what #SpinalBifida was, we received a devastating prognosis. Life expectancy …Unknown, but we didn’t believe the Neurologist, neither did we accept, what was said to us. I guess you could say that we denied the prognosis and would do everything we can to help him. The first year was filled with challenges.

Becoming parents for the first time as well as having a precious baby with special needs. He was perfect and it was difficult to realize that he may never walk. Our priority was to keep him safe and happy. He was constantly monitored and within three months, the specialists confirmed that he has Hydrocephalus and that they must insert a #Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt (VP Shunt) to drain the #cerebrospinal fluid. The operation was successful, but he contracted severe

Pneumonia and almost died. We prayed. He survived. The following ten years was a game of chess. Fourteen surgical procedures, some very successful, some with complications. Rehab and physical therapy, tears and joy. After trying custom made callipers and exercise for 3 years, we accepted that he will not walk, but our son will live a normal life, as much as possible. He is a pupil at Julian Muller Primary School and adapted to the school environment, rather quickly. We decided to focus on other possibilities of freedom and swimming is a great escape form the restriction of a paraplegic body, but Nathan had #Aquaphobia. We had to encourage him and reassure him that he will not drown. After a few tries and a substantial confidence increase, he took to the water like a fish. This was his freedom and he loved it. We enrolled him with Louise Blignaut from Tuks Swimming and he started with his goals. He had to

participate in all the local galas etc.

Then he had to qualify for the eliminating rounds. It took hard work and dedication, but the results gave him a spiritual satisfaction and he exceeded all our expectations. He was awarded the Best Para-swimmer at the Limpopo Schools Championships. At SA School’s 2017 Championships he came 14th

from 165 boys overall, with 4x Gold in the multiple disability class and at the Regional Level 3 Championships 2018, he achieved 1x Silver and 1x Bronze. He also broke a few records and will be representing Limpopo at the nationals this year. Since 2016, when he started swimming he has grown into a well accomplished swimmer and a well-adjusted young man. We are humbled with what he has achieved. He truly is a living testimony of faith, acceptance, courage and determination.



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