Enlightening Infirmity

May 23, 2009
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My body is a vessel for a civil war. Flooding in from hidden compartments, a surprise attack is launched on the most diligent and innocent of cells. The rebels were created in this “country,” but an unknown factor has resulted in their lack of allegiance towards their homeland. Their brutality can be observed in the pillaging of different regions and the depletion of any source of self-reliance. The vessel is controlled by a spirit of uncertainty and anxiety, as these random battles have become eminent but unpredictable. Still, the nation moves forward to accomplish the staples of any self-respecting land, but the land rather serves as a threat to the innocent, not the shelter that the fortunate can rely upon.

This battle began seven years ago with my diagnosis of Addison’s disease and Hypothyroidism, as my immune system attacked my thyroid and adrenal glands. Two years later I was bombarded with incredible pain, and later the inconsequential diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.
As I reflect on the prominent moments in this tumultuous journey, my mind floods with an ocean of memories. I think of a crowd of doctors swarming outside my hospital room to look at the “spectacle” that was me. I think of pausing after every two stairs and my mother carrying me into to the doctor’s office at the age of ten because I simply did not have the strength to continue. I see my mother trying to hide her sobbing as the doctors expressed their confusion. I hear the doctor’s painful words, asking if my symptoms were fabricated in a pathetic effort to evade school. I feel the salty tears flow down my face as I realized that I will live my life in an element of isolation that comes with having the diagnoses of one in a million.
For the past seven years my struggling body has proved the enemy of my aspirations and normalcy, but also the proponent of my adaptability and individuality. I have recently discovered that my family and friends will never fully understand my physical and mental changes. They cannot comprehend how I can maintain a playful personality when I am in that much pain. This somber fact is not based in their lack of effort, but rather their incapability to see my challenges through the filters of prolonged past purgatory.
Although challenging, my conditions have created a confidence in my potential, as I look back on what I have faced and overcome. I have developed determination and perseverance, continually reassuring myself that I can accomplish as much as someone without my challenges—that these diseases will not affect my future. They have transformed me into a more empathetic person who can relate to the pain in others and someone who has a deeper appreciation for the nature of life. Finally, my diseases have even allowed me to develop my goal of a career in medicine, helping other sick children.
Although there have been times that I have asked “Why me?”, they are rare because even in situations where I am barely mobile or having adverse reactions to medications I recognize that my accomplishments in the face of these challenges will define me as a person. Through all of these obstacles I have collected insight into myself and who I am as an individual—valuable knowledge that many others my age haven’t had the benefit of discovering. I can branch out into the world with the security of mind that no body—even my own—can stand in the way of my future.





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