What I like most about working with Shelly is she is honest, gracious and fun to be around! She is so knowledgeable about how everything works but breaks it down so you aren’t intimidated.
Focus, Work Hard, and Never Give Up!
My name is Luke. I was born with a cleft lip and palate. It was not something my parents were able to plan for in advance as they never saw this anomaly in any of the ultrasounds. However, we were surrounded by an amazing team who helped get us through all of the surgeries that laid before me.
My biggest surgery (in my opinion) was in 2016 when I had to have orthognathic reconstruction. I had developed a severe underbite due to my upper jaw not growing at the same rate as my lower jaw. After several weeks I was so excited with my new look as it completely changed my appearance. The problem was that when they moved my upper jaw 10 mm it created a much larger gap in the soft palate region. I knew I would have to start speech therapy again!
I had worked with speech pathologists when I was in school, but fortunately I met Shelly when I was in the second grade. I knew I would only want to work with Shelly again! She had made such a huge impression on me in grade school that I never forgot her. I knew I would not want to travel on this new journey with anyone but her!
During this time I was able to return to one of my biggest passions racing bicycles. Unfortunately, I was involved in a bad crash the summer of 2017. My Grams had given me a Nikon camera as a graduation gift. So, I went to the next big race but took pictures instead of racing due to injuries. I posted them on Facebook and started getting a lot of positive feedback from other photographers I admire. I was a little sad to not be racing but then I found out I needed another surgery!
I had been attending speech, but it was apparent quickly that I would not be able to continue until I had a pharyngeal flap surgery. This surgery is normally done when children are much younger, not when you are 20 years old.
I would need to start speech again following this new procedure. I was kind of depressed thinking about not being able to train for racing and having to start speech all over again. I think my parents thought it would help me if I could have another passion. They enrolled me in a beginner photography class at Francis Tuttle.
I have made huge strides since my surgery and continuing my work with Shelly. I was able to eliminate nasal emissions and nasality has significantly decreased.
What I like most about working with Shelly is she is honest, gracious and fun to be around! She is so knowledgeable about how everything works, but breaks it down so you aren’t intimidated.
So, when one of my photography assignments was to take a portrait, I asked Shelly if she could be my model. We had fun and my teacher was very pleased with the outcome.
I found my first passion through a trying time in my life and it seems I’ve found my other through a different, but equally difficult time. You never know what can cause you to become inspired!