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Julie Hemker

Julie Hemker
Julie Hemker was born with Sacral Agenesis 42 years ago. She has had over 40 major surgeries, her first at age 1. Julie likes to point out, she is not defined by Sacral Agenesis–her life is so much more than being a patient. Julie is the author of our most enduring series on TDWI, "Living with Sacral Agenesis."

My Life with Sacral Agenesis: Meltdown

Sometimes, life with sacral agenesis can be too much even for Julie Hemker who has had more than 40 surgeries and many more complications. Sometimes, you need a meltdown.

My Life with Sacral Agenesis: Memories from my Childhood

Julie Hemker was born with sacral agenesis and, as a result, has had more medical care in her life than most everyone else. Despite that, she is optimistic and happy. In this essay, she recalls childhood memories of her life with sacral agenesis.

What I Am Is What I Am (and, I am Happy)

Because Julie Hemker was born with sacral agenesis and has endured extreme pain and many major operations, her doctors assume she must be depressed.
living with sacral agenesis complications

One Tough Year in My Life with Sacral Agenesis

After 4 surgeries in 7 months complicated by infections, Julie Hemker, born with sacral agenesis, needs a break to focus on herself, rest, and get better.
sacral agenesis love marriage

My Life with Sacral Agenesis: Love and Marriage

For some, there may be a perception that if you have medical issues, limitations and so forth, you are less of a person or not worthy of love.

How Two Surgeries in One Week Challenged My Optimism

Being a "pro" at having major surgery (more than forty in her forty years), Julie Hemker found that two surgeries in one week was a major challenge to her usual optimism.

When Life With Sacral Agenesis Isn’t Fair: A Surgery Do-Over

When surgery for a fractured vertebrae had to be aborted, Julie Hemker, a veteran of more than 40 surgeries because of sacral agenesis, describes what it is like to face a do over.

New Challenges in My ‘Normal’ Life with Sacral Agenesis

New medical problems challenge the normal of Julie Hemker's life with sacral agenesis

Miracle Baby with Sacral Agenesis Turns 40!

Born with sacral agenesis and not expected to live, this miracle baby reflects on the wonder of her life as she turns 40.
Spinal cord stimulator (700 x 415)

When Chronic Pain is Relieved, Life is So Much Better

When chronic pain is relieved, life changes. Julie Hemker, a young woman with sacral agenesis, describes her life after a spinal cord stimulator.

Chronic Pain Wallops Even This Optimist

Even an eternal optimist who has smiled her way through life, despite 49 surgeries to correct problems related to sacral agenesis, can get beaten down by chronic pain

When I Am in Pain, Don’t Treat Me Like an Addict

Although in unbearable pain due to complications of sacral agenesis, Julie Hemker is treated like an addict when she visits a pain clinic thanks to a new law in her home state of Indiana.