Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Growing Up Too Fast

Have you ever imagined what it's like to be sick as a teenager or even child? What if you had to grow up with doctors, hospitals, needles, and more? Let's just say life is different than the average. We probably spend more time in the hospital than we do at school or with friends. While we are young most kids learn the basics like how to read, learn their abcs, or tying our shoes. While sick kids learn how to pronunciate their rare disease correctly(which most adults can't even pronounce), learn the names of their medications, and what their doctors name is not what their classmate's name is! It just doesn't seem fair to me.

Kids who are sick grow up too fast. Suddenly we aren't worried about the little things we are worried fighting to survive. Most kids have dreams of growing up to be a fire fighter, police officer, or a princess but most of these kids you see in the hospital may not even have the chance to grow up and be something. Sadly that's the cruel reality. 30% of children with rare and genetic diseases will not live to their fifth birthday. These kids grow up as fighters and it makes them stronger than you could ever imagine. They have this willpower to survive and beat the odds. I think it's the most beautiful thing in the world.

Life is just different when you are sick. Not necessarily in a bad way but just in a weird sense of way. We don't always experience normal childhood events and could probably rattle off more medical information than you may know. We aren't normal. At least like I know in my sense I feel more mature and exposed than my classmates at school. I am just always around adults. I don't spend all my time at school. I spend my time at the hospital more often than not. Nurses and doctors become your real friends. They are obviously quite older than me. So now I've just naturally stuck with that.

It gets weird with those who are my age. They ask me something about my disease and I probably go off on this long medical education unit in which they have no clue what it means. I try and keep it simple but it's still over their heads a little. And their understanding on why I can't do something sucks! No I can not eat food or drink anything. Well could you have ginger ale (or insert other eating product here)? Of course I can't! And how about we talk about dating....I can't eat food. What is the number one thing people do for dates? Oh yeah dinner dates! You know were you eat food and have a conversation around the dinner table. While both complimenting on how amazing it is. Yeah I kinda have this thing where I can't eat food so...that's out of the question. Chronic illnesses brings it's challenges when it comes to growing up! We are just mentally older than them. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. In the end it only makes us stronger but it also sucks. Yeah it sucks a lot! You just don't feel the same as everyone and sadly a part of you just feels left out from everything that was supposed to happen. But you learn to live with it and move on because you realize this chronic illness is just gonna be there forever and you just have to make the best of it.

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