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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This article has 109 comments. Post your own now!

SophiaCross said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 9:08 pm
This is poetic yet still gets the point across. I love it!!! Beautiful
AubreyD. said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 9:37 am
This reminds me of my mom. She has MS, and it's kind of torn the whole family apart. It's scary,you know. You wrote this piece really well. Congrats! :)
SeizeTheDay said...
Jan. 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm
It is truly a shame that people don't fully grasp life until they are faced with death. Beautiful article. Truly breathtaking. I wish that there were more people like you in the world - people that truly seize the day. Thank you for sharing your experiences, they do change peoples' ways of thinking, if only for a moment. Keep writing, and being an optimist; for you have made other people open their eyes. (:
bubblesrfun said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm
Loved this article. The last 3 paragraphs really got to me. Very thoughtful, as well as thought provoking!
jade.glinsey said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm

this was sooo touching I cried cause I think of my auntie cause she's dealing with the same thing but she keep herself strong and don'tn let this disease get to er and the way of her kids....

Keep your head up and God Bless You :)

ninja17 said...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm
Great work! God bless you! 
LazyDaisyLovesYou said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm
I lieterally don't even know what to say...except good for you, for being sick of being sick!
kairi.kaylyn replied...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm
I loved this article, it was filled with a lot of emotion and thought. It was great!
PoemLover said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm
THis is so touching. I showed my best pfriend and she cried... NOTE**** it takes alot to make her cry!! Good Job!!
crazy-ashbobash This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm
great message + good word choice + inspirational story = GREAT WORK!
SecretSasha said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm
You are so optimistic and inspiring!
Edgar said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm
You are so inspiring....this story is touching and Emotional :D
iamonecoolradiator said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm
this story really leaves me thinking about it.....I really admire you for you're bravery.
Pumpkinscout said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 11:42 am
You are so inspiring...this story is touching and emotional. You have such faith to "live in the moment" when the moment could so soon be for one have trouble with this though I do not have any affliction like yours, I have trouble not dwelling on the scary stuff happening tomorrow or the day after...pure wow!
BriarRose This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm
I take my hat off to you for both the excelent writing and the message you wrote about. This is beautiful and fantastic. 2 of the most important women in my life told me that you can't let medical stuff live your life for you. Bravo
RhythmAndRhyme said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm
This is such an amazing story. Keep on livin', bud! You're such an inspiration. Make sure you don't lose hope! :)
PorcelainValentine said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm
i used to have autism it wasn't bad when i had it but now i am slightly socially awkward
Bambi67 said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm
wow this is great thank for sharing. live your life to the fullest and enjoy every minute of it, you are an amazing inspiration to people that don't apreciate their life till they are about to lost it. god bless you
Brayaparis said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 11:40 am
whoa is all I can say....You are amazing, as well as your writing.(:
You made me cry (and I am NOT a cryer) and gave me inspiration that I haven't had in a long time!
I had a uncle  who had this, and contuinued his dream of duck hunting (: keep it up! i admire you!
steph95 said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 9:17 am
you are an amazing person , and this article is amazingly written. keep living and enjoying your life...... :)))))
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