As a Pediatric Nurse, Alice Ambrose Helps Others With Bladder Exstrophy

Alice is a pediatric nurse and enjoys working with children.

Alice is a pediatric nurse and enjoys working with children.

Editor’s Note: Alice Ambrose loves children, and because of the profession she’s chosen, she enjoys being with children every day. Part 5 of a 5 part series.

I was a pediatric homecare nurse for a while, and now, I’m a pediatric nurse at a doctor’s office. I assist with patients and triage phone calls for three pediatric urologists who see between 20 to 25 patients a day. I’m amazed at how many different people and children I come in contact with each day.

I’ve also organized a one weekend, summertime campout – the Great Lakes Exstrophy Campout - for the Great Lakes region, like I went to in Seattle, for families and people who have exstrophy. The campout provides an opportunity for them to meet each other, have a good time and share experiences.

I think the campout is especially good for siblings of people who have exstrophy as well, since they’re often the ones who feel somewhat left out of the family with the focus on the one with exstrophy. These families learn that you can go camping and swimming with exstrophy.

Dr. Michael Mitchell, the one who did my big surgery for an Indiana pouch that allowed me to get rid of my bag and instead be able to use a catheter, started a support group for exstrophy patients and their families, which included the campouts in 1989 in Seattle. When I moved to Michigan, I wanted to start a campout like the one that had been a part of my life, because I knew I had really benefited from it.

Four years ago, I got involved in ballroom dancing, and it has really done a lot for me physically and emotionally. In my late 30s and early 40s, I had problem with self confidence. Ballroom dancing gives me a chance to dress nicely and feel good about myself.

Brad and Alice look like they should be on Dancing with the Stars!

Brad and Alice look like they should be on Dancing with the Stars!

When I look to the future, I hope I’ll still be a pediatric nurse and I hope the campouts will be even bigger than they are today. I hope that 5 years from now, Brad and I still will be ballroom dancing and that I’ve been able to get my certification as a urology registered nurse. I want to continue to connect with other people who have exstrophy. I have Facebook friends now from all over the world, and even though I’ve never met them, we’ve connected. I want people with exstrophy to know they’re not alone. I hope that in the future, I’m still enjoying life like I am now.

“My 10 Commandments” by Elodie Armstrong - these ideas have helped to shape my daily life.

1)  Thou shalt not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.
2)  Thou shalt not be fearful, for most of the things we fear never come to pass.
3)  Thou shalt not cross bridges before you get to them, for no one yet has succeeded in accomplishing this.
4)  Thou shalt face each problem as it comes. You can handle only one at a time anyway.
5)  Thou shalt not take problems to bed with you for they make very poor bedfellows.
6)  Thou shalt not borrow other people’s problems, since they can take better care of them than you can.
7)  Thou shalt not try to relive yesterday for good or for ill – it’s gone. Concentrate on what is happening in your life today.
8)  Thou shalt count thy blessings, never overlooking the small ones, for many small blessings add up to a big one.
9)  Thou shalt be a good listener, for only when you listen do you hear ideas different from your own. Learning something new is difficult when you’re talking.
10) Thou shalt not become bogged down by frustration, for 90 percent of it is rooted in self-pity and only will interfere with positive action.

Here’s a video from the camp that Alice coordinates:

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

Brad Ambrose Asks Alice To Spend Forever With Him

Brad admired Alice's honesty and knew she was the one for him.

Brad admired Alice’s honesty and knew she was the one for him.

Editor’s Note: Brad Ambrose was focused on getting his Ph.D. in Physics. He admitted that he hadn’t dated very much, and then from out of nowhere, he met a girl named Alice. They talked and met for lunch, and both agreed that there was an attraction between them. Before Brad went home from graduate school to Massachusetts for Christmas, he got the news that the woman he was interested in had bladder exstrophy. What would he do, and what would he think? Today, he answers those questions. Part 4 of a 5 part series.

When Alice told me she had bladder exstrophy, the first thought that went through my mind was, “This is really brave of Alice to share with me about her condition, knowing we’ve only met a few months ago.” I knew that telling me was very important to Alice and deciding to share it with me took a lot of courage on her part. The only thing I could think to do at the time was to give her a hug and say, “Thanks for telling me.” I really didn’t have a question of whether or not I should enter into a relationship with Alice after she told me about her condition. I didn’t feel like Alice having bladder exstrophy closed any doors at all.

After that lunch date, I went home to be with my parents over the Christmas holidays. I realized how much I missed her generous heart and positive outlook on life. Those attributes not only impressed me but also drove me to her. I gradually realized that I didn’t want to be without Alice.

Getting my Ph.D. in physics was taking longer than I’d anticipated. When I learned I wouldn’t be finishing as soon as I thought, I really started focusing on my studies. We continued to date. After about a year and a half, I decided I wanted to be with Alice forever. I wanted her to know before I finished my Ph.D. that she was the person for me. I think one advantage I had was that I got to know Alice before I got to know about her condition. I realized that the person Alice was far more important than her having bladder exstrophy.

Editor’s Note: Brad proposes, and Alice picks up the story from here.

Brad and I were at a restaurant, and after we’d finished our meal, the waiter brought out a custom made carrot cake that had the words, “ALICE WILL YOU MARRY ME?” printed in icing on top. When I looked up, Brad was on one knee and was holding up a ring. When I finally realized what was happening, I thought to myself, “Do you really know what you’re asking me?”

When I looked at Brad, I said, “Are you serious?” He answered, “Yes!” However, in the back of my mind, there was this big question mark about whether Brad truly realized that I didn’t know if I could have kids or not. This issue was the problem between me and my last boyfriend. He told me, “I don’t think I could ever ask you to marry me, because we don’t know if we can have children or not.” Hearing someone say that was hard for me to hear, but I appreciated his honesty.

Of course, I said yes when Brad asked me to marry him. However, Brad and I had a conversation later on, and I told him that I didn’t know if I could have children or not. Brad assured me that he understood, and that if we decided we wanted children, we could adopt them. Right now, 14 years later, we’re both happy with our lives and very busy, and we’re not sure how children would fit into our lives if we had them.

Brad and Alice on their wedding day in 1998.

Brad and Alice on their wedding day in 1998.

Something that has meant a lot to me is a book my high school Sunday school teacher gave each of us in her class when we graduated from high school, “Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am?” by John Powell. This excellent book talks about dealing with the human condition, growing as a person, understanding interpersonal relationships and dealing with emotions.  Little did I know when I was given this book upon my graduation from high school in 1988, that it would serve as such a comforting resource 2 years later, in 1990, when I began to tell my friends for the first time about my bladder exstrophy and later as I shared my condition with others, including Brad.

Next: Alice Ambrose Helps Others With Bladder Exstrophy

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.