After a Canton mother underwent brain surgery that altered her abilities, her two young children helped write a book to aid other children going through similar experiences.
Yvette Pegues was diagnosed with a brain malformation in 2011 after experiencing migraine-like symptoms and numbness, and underwent immediate brain surgery.
“Honestly, there wasn’t much time to feel, once the diagnosis had been given and the consequences were described,” Pegues said. “Our family turned to our faith and church family for support.”
Pegues said she believed she would “return to normal” after her surgery, but was unable to receive traditional therapy because of uncontrollable, full-body tremors after the procedure.
Pegues underwent specialized rehabilitation therapy at Shepherd Pathways Brain and Spine Rehabilitation center, and did everything she could to remain involved in her children’s lives.
“Shortly after being discharged from the Shepherd Center, I was feeling and believing that I could function in my new, limited capacity,” Pegues said. “In attempts to re-engage my parental position in the home, I found myself at their school events, at which time their classmates had a lot of questions about my appearance (with a) wheelchair and neck brace.”
Pegues said her involvement at school “led to some bullying,” and the bullying led to a book.
“The boys never asked a question that we didn’t have an answer for,” Pegues said. “They had hoped that, by writing a book, they could help other children that live in families where an adult was disabled, and they had hoped that their friends would understand and accept their situation.”
Her children, Isaiah and Elijah, were 5 and 7 years old when they helped write the book, “My Mommy had Brain Surgery & I’m Okay.”
“We sat down as a family and listened to their heart. They shared all the questions they asked, changes made in the home and what they learned about the brain, and we just wrote it all down. We took their questions, answered them, and the result is a nonfiction book by children for children. It’s in their language and offers a perspective that would otherwise be untouched. It makes learning about the brain fun,” she said.
Pegues said the process of writing the book with her children was not just good for them, it was therapeutic for her, too.
She’s learned a lot through her experience with brain surgery, and Pegues said she uses the knowledge to advocate, educate and inspire others who suffer from a disability or brain injury.
“We created the Your Invisible Disability Group to be the example that life does not end at the point of injury and offer tools and training to help people rebuild and live forward after an injury or illness renders them disabled,” Pegues said. “I work with children with disabilities, their family, teachers and stakeholders to help them transition from school to the marketplace with self-advocacy skills and peer community engagement.”
Pegues also serves on the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, as well as the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University, she said.
The family’s book for children, as well as other books by Pegues, are available online at www.YourInvisibleDisability.com or through Amazon.com. The books are also available online at the CreateSpace eStore and in ebook form.