Survivor | Teen Ink


December 22, 2009
By Anonymous

Horseback riding until the sun is no longer shining bright in the sky, trying to pick the highest berry off a tree, drinking water from a creek, and cheerleading with friends on Friday nights. Sounds like your average teenager, doesn’t it? Blond hair, green eyes, tan, and a caring heart made Kris just like most teenagers; she was just as healthy too. Little did she know, one day everything would change. Her life would never be the same. Surviving through Meningitis, Lupus, and Primary Immunodeficiency, is tremendous and makes Kris, my mother, a true everyday hero.

About two years after giving birth to her second child, Kris finally went to the doctor with extreme fatigue and joint pain. This had been going on since her daughter, Holly, had been born. There were multiple possibilities for causing this, and they were going to run some tests to try and figure out why it was like this. Almost cutting the doctor off, she asked, “Is this anything that could affect Holly?” All she could do was think about how her daughter was whisked away right after being born and she had been told she had a low white blood cell count. “Yes, she will be fine,” Dr. H assured her.

A week later, the doctor returned with some heartbreaking news. “We believe you have a disease called Lupus,” he revealed. “It is a disease where you have an extremely weak immune system and even the smallest cold can be dangerous.” Starting to cry, Kris replied, “Is it curable?” “No, a cure has not been found. But there are some good prescription medicines that can help to keep you healthy,” shared the doctor. “Oh my gosh,” was all Kris could think. She never expected to get anything like this, and wondered how she got it and how long she has had it. With so many questions, the doctor stayed with Kris for a little while longer to answer them all. Kris was prescribed a few different prescriptions, which helped tremendously. For the next couple years, she was in denial until something tragic happened that caused her to face reality.
A couple years after being told she had Lupus, Kris became very ill and was having trouble doing simple things such as walking and counting past 10. With a severe headache and vomiting, her husband, Scott, rushed her to the emergency room. Aching and crying out in pain, she was seen right away. “We’re not sure what is wrong; however, you have symptoms of Meningitis. We will need to further run some tests to know for sure though,” declares the doctor. Feeling the tension in the room, not knowing if she was going to be okay, everyone said a quick prayer asking for it to be nothing life-threatening or incredibly serious. Knock-knock, the doctor tapped on the door. “Well, I have good news and bad,” he starts to say. “The bad news is that you have Meningitis. The good news is that it’s viral, which is the better of the two kinds to have.” Scared and somewhat relieved, Kris, struggling to speak, replies, “So I will be okay?” “You should be. But this is not something that you get over quickly. It takes weeks, even months. We will keep you monitored and I will personally come back every day to see how you’re doing,” assures the doctor.

As the days progressed, Kris’ Meningitis got worse. But about a week after being diagnosed, the swelling started to decrease in her brain. Every day she got slowly, but surely, better. Three days later, Kris’ nurse spots her husband about to enter her room. “Hi, you must be Kris’ husband. I’m Nancy, Kris’ nurse. She is doing much better and should be able to go home tomorrow,” exclaims the nurse to Scott, Kris’ husband. “She will be very weak and tired, and rest is very important,” informed the nurse. “Hooray! Mommy’s finally coming home!” cheer Holly and Ashley, Kris’ children, overhearing the news. The next day, they are all finally able to leave the hospital as a family again.
Twice after being released, Kris had to go back to the hospital because of severe headaches. Both times a spinal tap was done, revealing there was still swelling in the brain. Over the next several weeks and months, she was very tired and weak. Having the Lupus along with Meningitis caused it to take her almost a year to fully recover.
Today, Kris still struggles with Lupus and Primary Immunodeficiency. She uses medication to help, and soon will get a full blood transfusion. A week after her transfusion, she will begin once weekly infusion therapy, which involves infusions that take three hours to do. These infusions give her antibodies and will hopefully keep her immune system up and healthy. She still has Lupus today, and washes her hands very often along with cleaning and sanitizing things to help prevent her from getting sick. A healthy diet, staying out of the sun, resting, and balancing daily activities also helps Kris lead a normal life.
“Having these diseases makes me live everyday to the fullest and not take things so seriously,” Kris shares about having Lupus and Primary Immunodeficiency. “You just have to be happy and smile!”It’s amazing how someone can stay so positive after going through everything Kris did. Everyone can learn a lesson from her. Even if you’re struggling with something, whether it’s a disease, schoolwork, or other problems, you just have to stay positive and everything will turn out okay. She will fight to stay healthy and get the best medication because a true hero never gives up.

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