The first issue of the MSUD Newsletter was dated February '83. The second issue, November '83, included an article sent to us by Sue Ann Fredericks from Wisconsin. She was 17 and had written the paper for her senior psychology class. First, she described MSUD and then gave her personal history. A brief summary of that history will give you some background for her story which follows.
Three years prior to her birth, her parents had a son who died undiagnosed at four months. When Sue Ann was born, her mother noticed the same sweet smell and similar symptoms. Sue Ann was in a coma when she was diagnosed at 11 days.
She spent most of her first three years in the hospital, facing death twice. She refused to drink her formula, so her mother mixed it with baby rice cereal until she was five. Sue Ann writes that her worst years were between the ages of six and eleven. She was in the hospital at least three times each year with summer being the worst time. She would feel dizzy and lightheaded during recess, stagger, and talk without making sense. She would see "things," not recognize people, and then start vomiting. She needed to be in air-conditioning.
Sue Ann's early battles affected her coordination and balance so that she could not ride a bicycle. She did well in school, graduating from high school in '83. She received a diploma in Child Care Services from a technical college in '84 and has been steadily employed since. We announced her May 1988 marriage to Lon McKnight in our June '89 Newsletter.
In her history, she made this interesting observation, "My body chemistry may not be able to handle all the changes of pregnancy, so I may not be able to have children." She proved herself wrong with the birth of her first child, a healthy 5 lb. 4 oz. baby girl born November 17, 1990. She shared an account of her pregnancy and delivery of Amanda in our December '90 issue.
I think it is it is very commendable that Sue Ann is again willing to share by relating the following details of her illness in '94, her pregnancy in '97, and the birth of their second child. (For medical details see page one of this Newsletter.) Adversity can be a refining process and I trust these trying experiences will make Lon and Sue Ann stronger persons.