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August 6, 2013

Plattsburgh woman overcomes odds

PLATTSBURGH — After many years of struggle, Lisa Buppelman has turned her suffering into success.

Last year, she earned her GED certificate, and earlier this year, she was named a Student of the Year by the New York Association for Continuing/Community Education.

It was an eight-year journey for Buppleman, now 37, to earn her high-school equivalency diploma.

But her troubles started long before that.

RARE DISEASE

When she was 3 years old, Buppelman, who is originally from Long Island, was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that required extended hospital stays, some almost a year long.

She had behavioral problems and was regularly treated for ADHD, manic depression, anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, starting medication therapy when she was 7 years old.

Her father wasn’t in her life, and she and her brother lived in fear of their mother, who, Buppelman said, had multiple personality disorder and severe mood swings.

Buppleman didn’t attend school until eighth grade, when her disease went into remission.

“Mentally, I was not prepared (to recover).”

DIDN’T FIT IN

Immersed among her peers, she felt like she didn’t fit in.

“I resorted to drinking,” she said. “I just didn’t know enough to keep myself on track.”

Buppelman fell behind in class.

“I was considered a child that couldn’t learn.”

She often compared herself to her older brother, who always did well in school.

“I envied him so much. I tried so hard to compete with him, but I couldn’t.”

Coupled with the drinking was drug abuse. Buppelman said she would try anything that didn’t involve needles since she had been exposed to them so often as a child for the treatment of her disease.

She cycled in and out of rehab until, following an arrest at age 21, she was placed on probation.

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