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!

akkay said...
Dec. 26, 2010 at 2:36 am

fantastic.....this is the way u hav to live life......cherish every beautiful moments that u hav

coz life is short and u hav to live ot up

Chanchie said...
Dec. 26, 2010 at 2:27 am
You have such a great atttitude even though all this is happening to you! I wish everyone in what they think are bad problems would be like you...:)
jade-lynn15 said...
Dec. 26, 2010 at 2:20 am
I believe that if you keep that positive attitude, you may just live longer than you, or any doctors may think.
Novelwriter14 said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Wow, I love your postive attitude. I wish that there were more people out there like you who believe in the whole 'live in the moment' thing. Keep going, keep living!
RemmiWrote said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 3:57 pm
Amazing! im sorry about your disease. I hope you write a lot of stories that are this inspiring:)
MG743 said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm
I, out of alot of people, know what it's like to be different, it's good to know there are other people out there who know to.
InsaneKitten said...
Oct. 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm

T.T this is o sad yet happy at the same time..... glad ur living ur life ur a very brave person.... idk the serenity prayer comes to mind

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.

GabiiiGIG This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm
That was commendable. I'm sure it's already been said, but absolutely amazing. I wish i could look at life as you do, but sadley, somehow, you are a happier person than me. You can see the sun in the middle of the storm, and for that, kudos.
BlindSamurai said...
Oct. 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm
A really upifting article, truly so, and I wish you the best with all you do. Don't stop writing!
jmklqwty1524 said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 11:16 am
You really know how to look at the glass half full not half empty
mandygale77 said...
Sept. 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm
Wow, that was really good. I totally know what you mean though, about being sick of being sick. I got swine flu last November, and one of the complications ended up being reactive arthritis, which is also an autoimmune disorder, so...yeah. It's so cool, how strong you are about it! I'm a bit of a wimp, LOL.
Miza said...
Aug. 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I have MS. Was diagnosed about 1 month ago. Apparently I've had it for the past 10 years.

I know what you mean.

I know how you feel.

Great writing paper, congratulations!

And remember, the happiest people in the world are not the ones who have everything. Are the ones who make the most of everything they have.


HotTeenWriter24x7 said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 7:12 pm
wow...this is an awesome message for teens who have other diseases...its really well written and totally inspires us to live life to the matter what life gives us to deal with...god bless ;]
GodsStudent said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm

5 stars, this is expertly written and uplifting!


How long have you been writing?

penandpaper67 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 10:28 pm
Wow. This article is so well-written, and it's amazing that you find so much joy in life. It especially touched me because one of my teachers and mentors who is very close to me has MS, and she is an extremely vibrant person as well. 
SharpieChance said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm
that was so sad I only read half of it and tears were welling up in my eyes. Touching.
Someone_Who_Is_Loved said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I have a PACEMAKER so I know what it's like to have a different life from other people. (A pacemaker is a small device that was inserted into me when I was a baby to help my heart beat.)

You're a good writer too!!!!! :P

fair246 said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm

my grandma has MS so this is really touching to me. i'm at a loss for words...



palakThis 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...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

i am totally at a loss for words....i'll pray for you


Julia. said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

This made me cry. Really. That's rare...

I'm totally at loss for words.

My prayers are with you.

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