In 2007, I found out that I had Asperger’s Syndrome, and in 2010, I developed Cushing’s Syndrome, and tumors on each adrenal gland. I had surgery to remove the tumors and had a lot of medications to take as a result. My sister found Meridian Services on the web, and the services that they provided to me after the physical and mental trauma of being in the hospital and having surgery helped me to get past that. I get help in managing my medications, and work at Orion Associates (the parent company of Meridian Services) three days a week. I work six to eight hours a week, and they send a van to get me there and back home.
Before I was diagnosed I was living in an apartment on my own, which was really stressful. Meridian helped me to find a group home, and now I live there, close to a bus line that allows me to get out into the city. I like to go to coffee shops, and to see live theatre. I went to see Wicked and Chen Yun at the Orpheum, and the matinee of the Sing-Along Sound of Music at the Ordway. The trip to the Ordway was a little too far on the bus, so the staff drove me there and picked me up when the show was over. I like to go to the movies at Southdale, and can get there on the bus.
I am very close to getting my college degree, but right now I am really focused on getting more work. I have a big, outrageous goal: there is another trip that I want to take! By September 8, I want to earn $5,000 for an end-of-the-year vacation to Mexico with a group that I know. It is both a vacation and a class, in a popular resort town that I’ve seen in magazines. I am a hard worker and have been thinking of ways to raise money. I can do simple sewing, file work, or simple food preparation. I volunteer at Open Arms, working to prepare vegetables and pack, seal and label meals for homebound people. I grew up on a farm and helped my parents to mow the lawn and tend the flower and vegetable gardens, so I could do that for someone else. Custodial work is another thing that I would be happy to do. It would be great to find something on the bus or light rail line.
I stay as active as possible, and work out three days a week. That has really helped me to get my physical and mental strength back, and I am so much more positive since I started going to the gym. I have three brothers and three sisters who have been very supportive of all of my plans. Only one sister lives in the Twin Cities, but we all get together for holidays. And once a year we go to the cabin where we’ve been going for 40 years, near Brainerd. It is a chance to be together and get reacquainted.