Finding Myself

December 3, 2007
By Brianna Porter, Blissfield, MI

At one point in time I did feel sorry for myself, I’m not going to lie, but as I’ve grown older and matured things have changed for me. I was eight when I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. Like I knew what that was. It turned out to be a condition where my spine was curving to the left. Of course I had to have a rare condition and make it more complicated.
My first surgery was that year, when I was eight. I was so young, so scared. You know, I didn’t even care that I was having surgery. I was upset because I was missing my friends Halloween party. I was young, I didn’t know. It was a complicated surgery. At that time my surgeon hadn’t done many of its kind, but everything went well. I can pronounce the name of the surgery, but I’ll be honest when I say I can’t spell it. In simple terms, it was brain surgery.
After the procedure, it seemed like everything was going well. I returned home and continued to recover, until I became extremely sick. My parents rushed me to the hospital. I still remember the ride there. The University of Michigan was an hour away from our home. My parents laid me in the back seat surrounded by pillows. My head was throbbing and all I could do was cry out in pain. When we reached the hospital, tests were done and the doctors diagnosed me with Bacterial Meningitis. The normal person is supposed to have between a five and eight thousand white blood cell count. Mine was 56,000.
It wasn’t until about a 2 years ago that I found out how serious it was. Bacterial Meningitis is a life threatening infection. I was eight and no one wanted to scare me by telling me. My dad was talking to his friend about it and told him that I nearly died. That was news to me and this was seven years after my surgery.
After a long stay in the hospital and an extended recovery at home, I finally returned to school. I finished my 3rd grade year, but in a back brace. I was different. The steroids I had to take had caused me to gain weight and I had to wear a back brace everyday both in and out of school. I cut my hair to reduce the heat of sweating from the brace in the summer and I became the ultimate tomboy. The only clothes that would fit over my brace were boy jeans and baggy t-shirts. You can only imagine how that went over with the other kids in my grade. Whoever said that kids can be cruel wasn’t lying. I was teased a lot the rest of elementary and even some of middle school.
Just when life was starting to look a little brighter, it happened. The doctor told me that since the back brace hadn’t worked my spine was curving even more. He told me I had to have back surgery to straighten my spine. I was 12 at this point and I knew what was happening then. I wanted a second opinion, so we got one. We drove all the way to Chicago to see my old spine specialist. Unfortunately, he said the same thing.
The surgery was scheduled and I began to prepare myself for the long haul of recovery. Too bad I kept getting sick. The surgery was postponed at least 2 times and I finally had it in April 2003. Another back brace was worn and more ridicule took place. Luckily I only had to endure it through the last month of school and then summer came. After that I began eighth grade and things were different once again. I was angry at the world and not happy in the slightest. My friends didn’t want to hang out with me and I felt so alone. I began swearing and just put myself into a miserable place. No one wanted to be around me and my attitude got worse. This continued through all of eighth grade and then I decided it was time for a change. That change came at the beginning of high school.
I was a freshman at this point and I met the two people that would make my life so much better, Ryan and Jenny. They were my salvation from the bad memories in my life. They were there for me and never left my side. The two of them were the best thing to ever happen to me. I finally got to the point where I fit in and I knew who I was. I found myself through all the pain and complications I had had. Jenny and Ryan helped me reach that place. They graduated and it brought me here. It brought me to my senior year of high school. I have never been happier and even though Jenny and Ryan aren’t with me in school I still talk to them every week. They haven’t been replaced, but two more people have entered my life, making it even better. Even though I have known them for years, Jake and LeeAnn have entered back into my life with full force. LeeAnn is always there to make me smile, and Jake always has the boy perspective on things for me. Even though I may have not gone through the hardest things in life, what I have been through has been tough for me. These very events have shaped me into the person I am and want to be. The people that have always supported me, like my parents and my sister Vanessa, have helped me overcome all of my obstacles. My friends, Jenny, Ryan, Jake, and LeeAnn, know me and care about me. Like I said before, I did feel sorry for myself at one point in my life, but I have learned that the important thing is living life to the fullest and spending time with the people who mean the world to you. I’ve realized that no matter what life throws your way, you can always catch it and throw it right back.

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