Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Living and Thriving with PWS



Latham Centers is proud and grateful to announce a new monthly blog column by Derek M., a 24 year-old Latham adult resident with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). Derek has resided on Cape Cod for over three years in a home managed by Latham Adult Services with fellow residents also diagnosed with PWS.  Read his first column “Living and Thriving with PWS” here:



January, 2015

My life at Latham Centers’ Adult Program



Coming from Rhode Island, I never would have imagined that I would one day have the opportunity to participate in a residential program specifically designed for individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome on Cape Cod. After graduating from high school with a diploma and 3.25 GPA, many people speculated on what my future would hold. I tried college like a “normal” graduate would but found out that it was not the proper environment for me. 

I then moved back home to live with my parents while attending a community college. This started out really well, and I completed three college-level classes, but as the year went on, my temptation around food began to spiral out of control.

I began taking money out of the ATM with my own debit card which resulted in buying extra food at the cafeteria.  Eventually that led to me becoming severely depressed and feeling like an outcast. I ended up going to the hospital quite a few times to handle my behavior. I was then placed in a residential facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities when the hospital visits became too numerous. The problem was that this facility was not qualified to work with individuals with PWS.

Over a span of 2 years of continuous hospital admissions and a near death emergency room visit, I was up for immediate placement into the Latham Centers’ Gilbough program for adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome on Cape Cod. Immediately I began to fit it and in the short span of one year and a half I lost a total of 142 whopping pounds!!  I went from a high of 280lb to settling in at a comfortable 168-lb weight. This was an amazing transformation. 

Today, I now enjoy many activities, such as bowling in Special Olympics, acting and singing with the Latham Players, learning to care for animals and exercising.

So how did I do it, you ask?

It was possible because of my own commitment but also that of a compassionate and caring team of support staff and community inclusion at a job I love!  I hope that you can see that living with Prader-Willi Syndrome is quite the journey…. but more about that in my next post.  




Derek M., 
Adult resident at Latham Centers 

                               

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