The True Importance of ... This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I learned the most about my life when I thought I was going to lose it. Ilearned about myself, who my real friends are and what is reallyimportant.

Last November I was sick again with my chronicillness: cyclic vomiting syndrome.* I had dealt with it often, but thistime was different; it was worse. After lying on the couch for a fewdays because I didn't have the energy or coordination to walk, I startedto believe I was dying. I couldn't keep my eyes open, feel my body,distinguish time or remember the past few days. I hadn't been able toeat or drink anything for days. Finally, I used all my energy andwhispered, "I love you, Mom," and passed out.

I wassurprised to wake up in the hospital, and terrified because I didn'tremember going there. I had already been hospitalized for two days. Icouldn't eat and could barely drink; I lived on ice for a week. Some ofmy friends and family called or sent flowers and candy.

I stayedin the cancer and terminal illness section of the hospital for fourdays. I visited with two boys my age who had been there for months. Theyknew they were there for the rest of their lives, which probablywouldn't be much longer. One of them didn't even have any contact withhis family. I wanted to cry, but realizing they probably didn't want mypity, I didn't. Being there and seeing them made me realize how valuablefamily and life are, and how unimportant other things are.

When Iwas discharged I spent two days in bed at home. I forced myself toreturn to school, but with a very different attitude. I quit being sohard on myself and trying to please everyone else. Now, I just want tomake myself happy. I may not be quiet and make 110% in every classanymore, but that's not the best part of life. I still work hard, but Idon't take on more projects than I can handle and instead do more formyself. I don't concentrate on the quantity of friends I have; instead Ilook for quality. I try harder to get along with my family. Even thoughit's very difficult, I know it's worth it.



*CyclicVomiting Syndrome is an uncommon, unexplained disorder of children andsome adults that is characterized by recurrent, prolonged episodes ofsevere nausea, vomiting and prostration with no apparent cause. Thepatient is generally well between episodes.

- from the officialhome page of the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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