Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lovable Labels BlogHer’ 11 Getaway Contest

Normally, a teenager's high school experience lasts for 4 years-Each school year starting roughly on, or around the end of August and ending on, or around the beginning of June. Each child has to attend high school all 4 years, and ideally, they achieve the end result: A diploma that universally states, "Hey, I did my 4 years and now I'm outta here!"

Normally, 4 years is the requirement. I only did 1.

How could that be possible you ask? I have chronic Lyme Disease. I was diagnosed when I was 14 year old in the middle of my 8th grade year at the beginning of 2004. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lyme, it affects each person it hits differently-we all have some of the same 'normal' symptoms like fatigue, joint, muscle, and nerve pain, brain fog, weakened immune system, food sensitivities, and many other things, but ultimately, we all experience it differently.

I was hit neurologically, and a great deal of the time, my legs didn't work; I was too weak or in pain to walk. Added to that was my immense global body pain, draining fatigue, weakened immune system, brain fog so bad, I forgot how to read, insomnia where I would be up for days at a time without any rest, hopping from doctor to doctor, treatment to treatment...

As you can see, that can make it difficult to get up and attend school on a regular 8 hour basis.

It was a very long, grueling, emotional journey-Yes, I WAS in school for 4 years, but cumulatively, I only physically attended about 1 regular year; the longest I was physically in school was a whole semester my Junior year. Besides that, I was put on homebound status for all 4 years, which basically means someone picked up my homework and dropped it off.

The rest was up to me.

Because most of my teachers wouldn't be able to meet me while I was taking their class, to them, I was a delinquent. I wasn't in their class, which automatically made me not worthy of their time, so even gathering up the homework that I was required to do was an obstacle in and of itself.

Of course there where those teaching and administrative angels who took time out of their busy schedule to help me get through, and to them, I am truly and eternally grateful. My biggest supporter, aside from my mother, was my homebound tutor, Judy. I couldn't have made it without any of them!

That doesn't diminish the constant uphill battle that took place for 4 long years. I had to work ten times as hard as any other student because of my limitations. The person teaching the material was me with the text book, notes, and internet. The person making sure everything was done and turned in on time was me. The person trying to figure out a problem when she didn't understand the material and the teachers wouldn't email a response to her question was me. The person who had to fight a failing grade on a test due to the fact that she was too sick to complete it at the time was me.

I did it all with a fiery determination though. That diploma was going to be mine no matter what I had to do!

High school was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life thus far, but looking back, I KNOW it was my greatest accomplishment; who else can say they completed high school almost singlehandedly and graduated on time with a 3.4 GPA?

That was 3 years ago. Yes, to this day I still have health problems, and yes, because I was restricted from taking certain classes in high school due to not being there, I'm very behind in college. None of that really matters though-If anything, I've learned if I have the will and drive to do something like complete and graduate high school on my own, I can make anything happen.

This post was written as an entry into the Lovable Labels BlogHer 11 Contest.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Heart wrenching to hear your struggles...not only about the disease, but as always I'm let down by how uncooperative your school was. Makes me sad and mad, dangerously mad. I wish I was there to fight for you and I'm glad you found at least someone who did. You have to always remember that you can do whatever put your mind into, 'cause you're awesome like that.