Mikaela Bradley: Consumer, Advocate, and Neurofibromatosis Warrior
Author: Mikaela Bradley, CDMRP
Published On: 03/05/2021
I was born with Neurofibromatosis (NF) Type I and am the only person in my family to be affected by this condition. One of the primary ways NF affects me is through tibial dysplasia in my left leg. From the age of 2 through 17, I wore a brace on my left leg to protect my bone from breaking. While I enjoyed picking out the pattern each year for my new brace - cheetah print and tye-dye were 2 of my favorites - having a bend in my leg made it more difficult to participate in sports and other activities. Growing up it was hard at times to see my friends participate in activities I knew were too risky, but overall I have been blessed with the fact my tibia bone has not broken. I learned how to adapt and find sports that I could participate in, such as swimming and rowing. I have also come to love travel and cooking. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen on the weekends and weeknights trying out new recipes and exploring different flavor combinations like apple cider pancakes & coconut thai curry.
Living with NF has given me a lot of perspective over the years. To start, I always use the word “condition” when talking about NF and how it affects me. I don’t think of it as a disorder or disease because I am still me, I am just living with NF. In other words, NF has changed the circumstances of my life and how I live, but I strive to not let it dictate or disrupt my life. I will always be living with NF, but I live with it on my terms.