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A Rainbow After the Rain

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There I was. Kicking, hitting, and crying while the nurses and my parents tried to hold me down. Why was I fighting them? I didn't want to have my blood drawn. I mean I really didn't want to have my blood drawn. Now, the question is why did I need to have my blood drawn? Simple. Graves' disease.

Around Easter of that year, I had managed to cut open my big toe on a drain in my backyard and required several stitches, a rather traumatic experience for someone who had never broken a bone or needed stitches before. The summer following this experience was the worst in my life. That summer, I could hardly go anywhere in a car without getting sick. I remember sitting in the passenger seat, crouching over with my feet up on the dashboard, and turning the air conditioner on all the way in the mistaken hope that that would make me feel better. My family believed that I was getting sick simply because of the heat, and they were partly right, but there were other problems. I also suffered from insomnia, sudden weight loss, severe irritability, and lack of energy.

After a good deal of complaining, my mom took me to a doctor. He had his suspicions and conducted tests to see why I was feeling so horrible. From him, we learned that I had somehow contracted Graves' disease. Graves' disease is a form of hyperthyroidism, which occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to overproduce the hormone thyroxine. This can cause quite a number of symptoms, such as an increased heart-rate. Although there is no known cause for Graves' disease, it is believed that a traumatic experience, like the one mentioned above, can spark it.

That's how I ended up in the Children's Hospital, kicking, hitting, and crying while being held down by nurses and my parents. But had I known how my life would change, I probably would not have struggled as much. Although I complain about it quite a bit, it has positively changed my life, such as morphed me into an expert pill swallower and gave me the ability to calmly have my blood drawn. However, it has also impacted my life in bigger ways.

My dancing improved after being diagnosed with Graves' disease. My previous recital had not gone very well due to lack of energy from Graves', so it was wonderful to see myself back on track. I was also more serious about dance. The previous year, I would try and miss all barre stretching by asking to go to the restroom. I would just sit in there, waiting for a change in the music, which indicated that the class had moved on to a different exercise. After Graves' disease, I seemed to mature and viewed dance more seriously. It was no longer just another social hour for me, and that change has become evident in my dancing. Without this change in maturity, I wold not have made the strides I have.

Another way that Graves' disease has impacted me is self-view. Before the disease was discovered, I rapidly lost weight. I wasn't just skinny, I was stick skinny. My arms and legs looked like twigs that I could easily break in half. So, I have been there. I have been ridiculously skinny, and it wasn't enjoyable at all. It didn't make me feel good that I was underweight, even though I was at the point that society pushes young ladies to be at. That is why I am more immune to media. I feel better about myself now than I did then. Although many young ladies wish to be stick thin, I can tell from experience that it's not fun looking in the mirror and seeing a twig.

I wish that I could go back in time and talk to that scared ten-year-old girl, the one kicking, hitting, and crying. I wish that I could tell her to calm down and not to worry, that everything will be alright. I wish that I could tell her that although there will be some hardships, everything will be fine and that she will become a better person for it. That she will be a rainbow after the rain.





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