Alice Ambrose Says Life Is All About Being Grateful For What You Have

by Allison
Alice maintained a positive attitude and had bright plans for her future.

Alice maintained a positive attitude and had bright plans for her future.

Editor’s Note: Bladder exstrophy is a rare congenital birth defect that causes part of the bladder to be present outside of the body. Treatment includes surgical correction, but often leaves the patient with long term urological issues.

Alice Ambrose was born with bladder exstrophy and was left with an ostomy. She hid this from her peers for 20 years, but eventually told everyone after reconstructive surgery and an extended hospital stay. Alice has learned to be brave and honest when it comes to her condition and sets a great example about living a positive life. Part 2 of a 5 part series.

When I was 20, I underwent a surgery that gave me a new bladder from a portion of my intestines. I told several of my peers, including my boyfriend at the time. I’m sure it was a bit of a shock for him, and he ended up breaking up with me. I probably should have told him sooner, but it was a challenge for me to let others know that I was different.

I started nursing school right after the surgery at the University of Washington, so I immediately became busy with classes. Sometimes, in the midst of classes and studying, I would ask myself, “I wonder if anyone will ever love me again?” or, “I wonder if I’ll ever have kids of my own?”

Alice Ambrose is a role model and peer supporter for the ABC community nationwide.

I decided to have a positive attitude about my life and was extremely grateful for my supportive family and friends and my education. I was excited to become a nurse and was happy with my life.

When I had a positive attitude, my whole world changed for the better. I believe that being incredibly busy in nursing school and realizing that I would have to study hard if I was going to get a 4 year nursing degree helped me forget about any sadness I had. I studied hard, became active in my church and was always helping others.I’ve learned to stay positive, be friendly and smile a lot. I always try to help other people with their problems, rather than focusing on my own. As a nurse, I realized that many people have bigger problems and challenges than me. Something I really enjoyed through the years was working with the family campout for bladder exstrophy in Seattle. Since I had my surgery, I could do many things I never thought I could – like camping and living in a dormitory.

Here’s a poem that has meant so much to me.

“Today” (author unknown)
Outside my window, a new day I see
and only I can determine
what kind of day it will be.
It can be busy and sunny, laughing and dreamy,
or boring and cold, unhappy and dreary.
My own state of mind is the determining key,
for I am only the person I let myself be.
I can be thoughtful and do all I can to help,
or be selfish and think just of myself.
I can enjoy what I do and make it seem fun,
or gripe and complain and make it hard on someone.
I can be patient with those who may not understand,
or belittle and hurt them as much as I can.
But I have faith in myself,
and believe what I say,
and I personally intend to make
the best of each day!

What’s outside your window?


Next: Alice Ambrose’s Honesty Lead To Love

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at


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