Sick of Being Sick This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

October 13, 2008
I woke up this morning like you, took a shower, and brushed my teeth while planning my homework. I got a phone call around noon and spent an hour of joy telling my girlfriend how much I love her. I ate a bowl of ramen, started my homework, and took my pills. Three, actually, to combat the side effects of the shot I injected myself with last night. Why, you ask, did I do that? Simple: I am a teenager living with multiple sclerosis, or MS, and I take my shots knowing that if I don’t, my body’s defenses will destroy me.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the nerves and restricts the signals from flowing in the brain, if it ­allows them to transmit at all. It attacks seemingly ­randomly, from one area to the next, anything from sensory perception to control over legs and arms. Though the disease took away control of half my face and reduced control over half my body, I consider ­myself lucky. It could have targeted my respiratory or ­circulatory systems.

Ironically, MS is most common in older people. Though rarely fatal, MS can steal your life away in a coma, or drag you into a vegetative state. Breathing through tubes, living only thanks to machines. Living, but not living. A fate worse than death. A fate only staved off by the injections I administer every week, which serve to slow the disease though not cure it. Did I mention I hate needles?

When I heard my diagnosis, to put it simply, I was crushed by my sickness. Crushed by the idea of such an uncontrollable disease looming over me, able to strike at any time without mercy or pity. Crushed by the thought of my bright future now dimmed prematurely. Crushed by the terror of my own body turning against me, and me not being able to do anything to stop it. I couldn’t help myself or stop this disease from taking over. I was paralyzed by my fate.

But people may pass me today and think nothing except Why is that guy wearing all black in the Texas summer? I don’t look sickly, and people balk when I tell them I have MS. The same disease is there, still incurable and malicious, but now I am a brighter, ­happier individual, boldly looking to the future and living the high life. What happened?

It’s simple. I was sick of being sick.

For years I knew I could not change my fate, yet I dwelt on it. I still do, sometimes. It’s human nature. But I realized there is more to life than fear. Worrying about things you can’t control only wastes time. What kind of life would you rather live? One fraught with worry about impending doom only to see your fears realized after an eternity of dying. Or a life lived in the moment, reveling in the here and now, with eyes full front, ­appreciating the past and accepting that there is an end to every party.

It’s quite simple, really. Live in the moment. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. My own life is full of imminent dangers, potential horrors, and fates even worse than death, as is yours. Yet some things will happen, regardless of how much thought we put into them. What’s the point of using life to fear death? Enjoy the life given to you, while you have it, and know that when you die you have lived a life worth living, using every breath to do, not just to think.

My happiness still prevails. I have loved and continue to love. I laugh. I smile. I walk with a spring in my step. I revel in my life, despite my affliction. I cherish the time given to me, knowing that it could be cut short at any moment. I live despite my disease; in fact, you could say I treasure my life all the more, knowing that time only comes once and is gone in a flash. I savor my life while I still can. To do any less, in my opinion, is to live by dying. Which sounds ­better to you?

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

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the January 2009 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.

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HereSheIsThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 10 at 9:40 am
You are pretty wise
Absjfksa said...
Jan. 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm
Please stop romanticizing a mental illness. Depression is not beautiful. Getting out of depression is beautiful.
Ned Stark said...
Jan. 15, 2016 at 2:33 pm
What an eyeopening article this girl is on to something. I hope the Boston public school system is keeping an eye on this student she's going places. I just hope her peers are able to keep up with her stellar work.
AmazinGracey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 1, 2015 at 5:57 am
Im in love with this; outstanding job. My mother was diagnosed with MS when she was 18 years old. After she gave birth to me and my twin sister, her health started to decline rapidly. By the time I was 5, she was in a wheelchair. She passed away last year at age 40 from a severe stroke that the doctors were not able to treat soon enough due to her complications of MS. I've spent my whole life so far dealing with MS, it wasn't just my moms battle but mine as well. Instead of growing up, being tak... (more »)
nerdyfish said...
Oct. 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm
I love how your memoir was written. It touched my heart in many ways that I can not describe. Kepp up the great writing, and soon you will be an author with many newberry medals.
hanajun said...
Sept. 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm
Wow, this memoir really inspired me. I can't imagine preserving such resilience.
Preston said...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm
I could not of said it better myself, everyday of life is a gift and to often do people take it for granted and i hope that your're still living your life to the fullest, a life worth living
kbj7 said...
Jul. 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Your story is inspiring, and remindes me of how important living in the moment is. I don't know if MS could be classifyed as an Invisible disease, I guess it depends on the case. You should check out .

You might like it. It's just a site I go on to deal with having an CP. (Chronic pain) Thanks for writing this, so wonderful to hear a story like this. 

angel2011 said...
Jun. 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm
Thank you for writing this.  This is really inspirational.  I have an autoimmune disorder and I understand how terrifying it can be to have your body turn again.  You will do well in life :-)
Fantasia80 said...
Apr. 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

What admires me the most about this writing piece is that you fight through whatever challenge you face.  I have challenges too.  In fact, everybody has to go through challenges!  Just remember that you're a great person just like everyone who is logged onto this website.  :-)

5 stars

sithukorale This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm

i'm so sorry- i meant to give you a 5/5 but clicked 4/5 instead!

thank you for writing this- it really inspired me a lot. reading this, i know you will be a very successful and fulfilled person in your life.

CautionwetPaint said...
Apr. 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm
Wow, this is very inspiring! I love your way with your words and your whole outlook on life. :D 
youchoose said...
Apr. 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm
I love your outlook- to see people overcome the obstacles life has thrown at them with so little remorse is what makes the word "people" sound beautiful. Now I'm a bit of an inspiration junky, and am a huge fan of TED talks. Although you may have already seen this and may be well aware of all the treatments available for MS, there was this one TED speaker named Terry Wahls who cured herself of MS by adopting a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. I thought her story was really inspiring, and her ... (more »)
vazenitran98 said...
Apr. 1, 2012 at 10:58 am
This was a beautiful true story.I hope you feel better. You have a way with words despite everything else.
BrickByBoringBrick18 said...
Mar. 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm
You are very, very inspiring! Great job writing this :)
Bballstar98 said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm
Omg, that is so beautiful and true. I admire your outlook on life and I hope everyone in this world has this set of mind sometime in their life. :D
Lashonti said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm
This is great. Your inspiring.
Bandana56 said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm
That was awesome, your advice is really inspiring, and i liked the voice in the article.
DarknessForever13 said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm
This was amazing, and very inspiring!! Keep up the good work! I'm glad you don't let the choices of Lady fate drag you down. As I sometimes say, just give a smile, and take what she throws at you. *Huge Smile*
JJ K. said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 10:53 am
This really hit home for me, as my mom has MS. It's great to see that you're living your life to the fullest despite your disease, your story is truly inspirational. There needs to be more people with your outlook on life.
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