The Will to Run:

One Man’s Journey through Hydrocephalus and Pfeiffer Syndrome My name is Wesley Junior Batson. I was born in the Bronx, New York. When I was born, I would be a miracle baby because of many complications. Shortly after my birth, I was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus, a condition where there is water in the brain. As a result, I had a Ventricular-Peritoneal Shunt (VP) put in to drain the water out of the brain. I also have Pfeiffer syndrome. Every time you looked around, I was going in and out of Montefiore Hospital for surgery. Shortly after the surgery, I resided at St Mary’s Hospital for Children for four and a half years.
Man running
For as long as I can remember, the other kids in the ward were going home for different holidays. I was one of the only few left behind. But soon my life would change. My dad, who used to work at the hospital, received the call to take me in and raise me as his own. Every time I had an operation, I was terrified and would refuse to go in unless my dad was there. I have had multiple surgeries, but the three crucial ones were facial reconstruction, shunt revision, and maxillofacial advancement. For all of my young life, I would go to appointments to discuss the possibility of having facial reconstruction but never thought the day would come. But in 2004, I went into facial reconstruction surgery. Afterward, I would be sedated for two days in the Children’s ICU. I had screws put in back of my head to help advance the midface, which was very painful. As a result, I had to miss school for the remainder of my freshman year. Shortly after tenth grade, I went back into surgery to get the screws removed and was able to go back to school. Everything was going well until someone at school noticed I was bleeding at the top of my head one day. I was sent home and rushed to the hospital by my parents. There, it was discovered that I had an infection from the artificial bone that was put in to help smooth my head. This meant that I had to be operated on again to try and correct the problem. Keep in mind that during this time, my family and I went back and forth to the plastic surgeon constantly because I wasn’t getting any better. Finally, my parents had enough and took me to the neurologist, Dr. James Goodrich. He took one look at me, and before you knew it, I was in surgery and the problem was corrected! I was put on medication to help get rid of the infection. But that was an ordeal I’ll never forget. After that, I thought it would be smooth sailing. But one day in my senior year of high school, I started developing unusual headaches on a regular basis. I kept trying to play it off until one Sunday, it was discovered that I was in critical need of medical attention. So, my dad took me to the emergency room, and we sat there all day. I was taken in for a CT scan but vomited during the examination. Later that evening, the doctors told my dad and me, “Wesley, your shunt has a kink in it.” I looked at my dad and started to cry because I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. That night, the doctors came and did a shunt tap. The next day, I was in surgery. That whole week was an ordeal going in and out of surgery as I was unable to eat. Finally, the problem was resolved, and I was sent home to recover. I was able to graduate high school on time. In the summer of 2008, I had maxillofacial surgery to advance my jaw and was put on a soft food diet for a few weeks. That was very painful, but as I look over my life, I know I have a testimony! As a kid–and even now–people made fun of me without getting a chance to get to know me, judging me on my looks and disabilities. I have learned to have a big heart, and I would like to share it with you. If it were not for God, I wouldn’t the man of God I am today. I am still struggling in areas of my life, but I hope this testimony helps you understand a little more about me.