25 thoughts on “Illness

  1. Through the past four years I have worked with elderly people with a variety of different illnesses. From the relentless and unforgiving Alzheimer’s Disease to the crippling Parkinson’s Disease, I have been able to experience a lot just through working at an Assisted Living community. I have had the absolute pleasure of helping these residents in their Activities of Daily Life over the past few years, because unlike many CNA’s I have worked with in the past, I care for the PERSON AS A WHOLE. Considering their emotions and physical well being through the last few years of this person’s life can bring people together in a variety of different ways.
    Because I have holistically cared for all residents for the past four years, it makes for a reason to come to work. I was able to form several close relationships with terminally ill residents, and because of them I always looked forward to going to work. For example, I currently care for a resident in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. She very rarely will speak in real words, however when she does it is with purpose. Every time I take care of her though, I can tell she somewhat remembers me because I am the only CNA that she opens her arms to give her a hug. One day, she even called me her prince, and she almost never speaks real words!
    Not only has illness brought me closer to residents, but it has allowed other CNA’s as well as myself to form tightly knit relationships with the resident’s family. I always make it a point to formally introduce myself to a new family member. I do this because as they come to visit their loved one, they know that someone they can trust is taking care of both the resident and the family. I have even gotten so close to families due to their loved one’s illness that I have attended services that the family has had. It makes me feel complete when I am able to make an impact such as this in one’s life, especially a person who was a complete stranger to me until I started caring for their loved one.
    I look forward to becoming closer with other patients and their families in the future while I complete my clinical work at UMASS Dartmouth. The more complicated illnesses that I will care for will be more difficult to handle, however, it opens up much more of an opportunity to grow closer to the patient and their family in their turmoil.

    Like

    • Jake, this is so sad and so beautiful at the same time. I want to first thank you for your hard work and love you’ve given these people. It’s inspiring and restores my faith in humanity. My mother suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and I try to help her whenever she lets me. I know it’s different but I want you to know that I understand. I had diabetic grandparents growing up, my stepfather has multiple herniated disks in his back, and as stated before, my mother. I stretched myself thin trying to help everyone I could, and I admire and respect you for your hard work. You’re strong and patient and I am so in awe of it. I would be too sad and scared to work with terminally ill folks, so the fact that it’s something you enjoy to do and have made countless friendships with your patients and their families is so beautiful. To be able to find happiness in such a bleak part of life is so healing. I hope all goes well with you when you come to UMASSD. Thank you for this blog post, you are an inspiration.

      Like

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts in regards to illness. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of experience involving your field of work, but I admire the care you have for the patients there. Not a lot of people, myself included, would be able to participate in a job that they knew had a sad ending, but I think your reasoning is valid. You emphasize the moments the patients have while they are still here instead of focusing on their passing.

      Like

    • I love this post! I also work at an assisted living and can relate to what you’re saying. When you care for a resident/patient, you’re also caring for their family, especially the family of those who are going through such a difficult time. I had a resident who had lived at the facility with her husband long before I was hired last year and just a few months ago she was put on hospice due to her cancer diagnosis, and passed just a few weeks later. She was such a bright light at work and I looked forward to seeing her. We cared for her and her family during her time here and we still have a close relationship with the family, as her husband still lives there. He has dementia and is slowly forgetting little details about his wife and it’s so heartbreaking. He remembers he had a wife, but I don’t think he knows too much else. Caring for people and their families is so important!

      Like

  2. I honestly do not know where to start with the word illness. I never thought that word would affect me until I got older, but little did I know I was going to be diagnosed freshman year. I was finally breaking out of my shell and making new friends, I was becoming a new version of myself, until my world came crashing down. The doctors are still unsure of what happened to me, they believe it was an illness called HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis). To make it easy, my body thought I was sick when I was not. My immune system was attacking itself and it began to make my organs shut down. I know all of this sounds scary, but I do not remember most of it. I got admitted to the hospital around March 13th and I did not start remembering anything until March 23rd, which is coincidentally my birthday. The best gift I got that day was knowing that I was winning the fight against my illness. I am not telling this story because I want you to feel bad for me, I want you to know how much I have grown from it. After I got out of the hospital, I thought my life was over. I was out of school for a couple of months and I had a crazy amount of work to do when I got back. But here I am, a freshman at Umass Dartmouth. I just want to let everyone know that when life hits you negatively, you just have to hit it back. Even though that happened to me, I do not let it control my life. I am not the person I once was freshman year. I am finally happy with my life and I have moved on from that chapter in my life.

    Like

  3. I honestly do not know where to start with the word illness. I never thought that word would affect me until I got older, but little did I know I was going to be diagnosed freshman year. I was finally breaking out of my shell and making new friends, I was becoming a new version of myself, until my world came crashing down. The doctors are still unsure of what happened to me, they believe it was an illness called HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis). To make it easy, my body thought I was sick when I was not. My immune system was attacking itself and it began to make my organs shut down. I know all of this sounds scary, but I do not remember most of it. I got admitted to the hospital around March 13th and I did not start remembering anything until March 23rd, which is coincidentally my birthday. The best gift I got that day was knowing that I was winning the fight against my illness. I am not telling this story because I want you to feel bad for me, I want you to know how much I have grown from it. After I got out of the hospital, I thought my life was over. I was out of school for a couple of months and I had a crazy amount of work to do when I got back. But here I am, a freshman at Umass Dartmouth. I just want to let everyone know that when life hits you negatively, you just have to hit it back. Even though that happened to me, I do not let it control my life. I am not the person I once was freshman year. I am finally happy with my life and I have moved on from that chapter in my life.

    Like

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story! This must have been just such a scary thing to process and go through at such a young age. Things like this truly show us that we can’t take anything for grated and should always live our life to the fullest. You should be so proud of yourself for getting where you are today!

      Like

  4. Of all honesty, I was hesitant to post this to the blog. However, I believe that my experiences can shine a light on anybody that can relate. Think of this as an amalgamation of a brief narrative and a poem:

    What does it mean to be “good enough”? Is it when you finally get that new iPhone that everybody else fancies for? Or rather can it be an achievement that you’ve worked hard to accomplish? For eating disorders, the thought and desire of being “good enough” is manipulated beyond one’s control. All of them can seem to be inconspicuous to the naked eye, like the bacteria that causes your flu during the cold months. Except these illnesses don’t last for a week; they can last for years.

    It all started with an obsession. To begin healthy eating habits, reach fitness goals, to lose weight… to lose weight… to lose weight…

    I can’t get it out of my head.

    The fixation of being thin keeps getting into my mind. My thoughts begin to cave in on me. The voices return when I thought I’ve won. I’ve decided to keep fighting against them though.

    Because I have a desire to live…

    …To live my life and be free of these thoughts, the thoughts that have been controlling me, compelling me to do as they say. “It’s what’s best for you,” the voices tell me. “People will like you more if you were a few inches smaller,” they say. My friends don’t think that of me. My peers don’t think that of me. Deep down, I don’t think that of me. So why can’t I escape my bedroom that’s filled to the brim with dejection?

    To me, being good enough means to have a willingness to live and feel free from what tries to bind you from the experiences that life provides. I’ve discovered that creating art sets me free from these tethers. I strive to follow this philosophy today, because I now know that I am good enough.

    I’ve escaped.

    Like

  5. I know it began when I was in second grade. My dad was diagnosed with cancer in his eye. He had this growth, which he had always called a “special birthmark.” I found out when I was older that this was the start to slowly losing my best friend, my hero, my advice giver, and my dad.

    The growth was removed, and my dad refused to undergo any chemotherapy. As a truck driver, there was no way my dad would be able to work while going through chemotherapy treatments. Instead he agreed to having checkups to ensure the cancer did not return.

    A couple years later my dad had a sore throat that would not go away. When he finally went to get it checked out they informed him he had cancer in his tonsils. He had surgery to remove them and after two weeks he felt a lot better. Not long after that, my dad was diagnosed with cancer in his lungs. This really took a toll on my dad. You see a not so fun fact is my dad’s father had passed away from lung cancer. My dad became very upset. He couldn’t believe he was going through all this, especially when he watched his father get ripped away from him at such a young age.

    After surgery and removing a piece of my dad’s ribs, he was cancer free yet again. This didn’t last long of course. My dad found out a little while later that he had cancer in his stomach. Since he just had surgery it wasn’t safe to put him under anesthesia once again. He decided to agree to chemotherapy treatments, and was going twice a week. He started to feel sick and just wanted to stay in bed. He didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want to talk, and he didn’t want to move. He wanted to die. ILLNESS overtook his body. CANCER, decided how he was going to feel and what he was going to do each day.

    I slowly lost my dad each day to illness. But I fought it. I didn’t give up with my dad. I tried to make him laugh every day. I would cry with him and reminisce about everything we did together. When I was younger my dad was my role model. To this day he still is. If he can go through all this and wake up each and every day and try to fight for his family, then I know I can do anything. He teaches me how to be strong and how to be resilient in any situation, no matter how much I want to give up.

    Illness is just a word. It might affect the body or mind, but this doesn’t last forever. My dad also had brain surgery because of tumors that were causing him to have seizures and strokes. He had them removed, but the doctors told my family that these tumors were most likely going to return. They did return. On March 1, 2019 my dad had a stroke right in front of us during his birthday dinner. He was rushed to the hospital and they told us he had three months to live.

    It is now August and my dad is still here with us. He is defying the odds. He is fighting. He is beating his illness. I believe I can overcome anything because of my dad. I just hope I get to make him proud.

    Like

  6. When people hear the word illness they instantly think physical. But what about mental? I believe mental illness is just as serious as physical. I also believe going to a therapist/counselor should be just as important as going to a physician. Most people don’t understand mental illnesses. They cannot comprehend that they affect the body the same amount, if not more, than a physical illness. Mental illnesses like anxiety and depression can cause unhealthy eating and other habits that can lead to serious harm. There are ways to treat mental illness like therapy and medicine for extreme cases, but both are viewed negatively in society. It should be done often, and everyone should feel confident in going when needed. Going to a therapist when feeling down should be just as common as going to a doctor when feeling sick. If left untreated, mental illnesses can interfere with all aspects of life. They not only increase in severity; they also can cause frequent panic attacks and other mental breaks. Going to a therapist often would help lessen these issues because they advise you on ways to regain control of your life as well as prescribe medicines that can help those who really need it. People should go even when nothing is extremely wrong, like a check up. It gives people a place to vent, cry, or just talk with someone who knows how to listen and knows how to help. For a very long time, I didn’t believe this. I heard the same thing most people hear: that it is a waste of time, that it is for crazy people, and that it is a scam for people to make money. It wasn’t until I actually sat down and talked to a therapist to figure out it helps. I have had to overcome a lot in my life. I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and PTSD, I thought I could get over it by myself but I couldn’t. I needed a space where I could speak freely and not be judged for what I did to try to calm myself down. Mental illnesses affect many people and I want to make sure that they know you are not alone. We have therapists that can help us through these issues, and no matter what happened to you they won’t judge. They understand how bad it can truly be and will try everything to help you overcome it. We can overcome our illnesses, and we can change how the world sees mental illness. All it takes is that first step towards breaking this stigma.

    Like

  7. I remember asking myself so many times, “why is this happening to me”? I used to ask if I could have somehow magically avoided this unavoidable illness. Of course it was not my fault but I couldn’t help but feel guilty. When I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis I was a sophomore in highschool and did not understand how much this disease would change my life. Ulcerative Colitis causes inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. I know youre thinking its gross and it is, but I am not ashamed of my disease. My junior year of highschool I slowly began to feel sick and I knew something was wrong but I denied it. I did not realize the power of my disease until I ended up in the hospital for weeks at a time. I began to lose hope for the future and college and I never thought I would make it through the eight months I was sick. Sitting in the hospital I watched as my friends lived their lives and I felt like my life was on pause. When I was finally better I worked very hard to finish my junior year and now I am going to college. While I was sick, I never thought college would be an option for me but here I am going to Umass Dartmouth. As crazy as it sounds, I am thankful for my disease and I cannot imagine my life without it. I believe that having a serious illness will make you a stronger person and I believe that telling your story will help other people. Going through this I have become a more kinder and more understanding person. I have learned to embrace my illness and not hide it from my friends and family. I have found a community of people just like me who are loving and supporting. Although this disease is not curable, I believe it has made me a better person.

    Like

    • Alec, thank you for sharing your story. I am really proud of you for posting this and for what you have fought through to be here at UMass. It must have been scary and hard to understand but I am really happy for you that you have allowed it to make you a better, kinder person.

      Like

  8. Growing up, I seldom had experience with illness of any kind until fifth grade when a peer of mine named Zoe was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Zoe, her identical twin sister Avery, and I grew up playing at the same summer camp and going to the same church on Sundays. The pair were inseparable and always smiling and laughing. Their cheery personalities inspired the phrase “OpZOmism and BrAvery” to be used widely in the North Attleboro community. OpZOmism represented Zoe’s positivity and constant optimistic outlook on life even as she lived with an illness as serious as brain cancer. Her bubbly personality made it hard not to smile when she was around, even during her long battle. BrAvery represented Avery’s strength and courage as her sister was diagnosed with and fought brain cancer.
    Through middle and high school, Zoe endured surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and endless physical and occupational therapy to minimize her tumor. She often missed days, weeks, and months of school. Her absences in the community were always felt, especially in classes at our high school, Tri-County.
    During our sophomore year of high school, Zoe stopped showing up to school. One Sunday that February, the priest at our church asked the community to keep Zoe, Avery, and their family in our prayers as Zoe had been diagnosed with another tumor. At school, the energy in the air felt noticeably different with the news of Zoe struggling once again. This time her condition was worse, and she passed away just a month later.
    The line for Zoe’s wake was down the street and there was not a single person without tears staining their cheeks. She truly touched and inspired ever person she met with her kindness, generosity, and love. She inspired me to pursue my future career in neuroscience, and will continue to inspire me to be a better friend, classmate, student, and person daily. Zoe was the kindest person you would ever meet and those around her, including myself, are lucky to have experienced her extreme compassion and love for people. The impact she left on the community was one that will last a lifetime and longer.

    Like

  9. To this day I still remember sitting in the Doctor’s office not understanding or comprehending what was happening. All I knew that it had to be bad because I saw the tears in my mother’s eyes. Soon after I found out that I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I hated having to prick my finger to find out my blood sugar or wearing a pump (a device that gives me insulin automatically). I didn’t want to be that person that people stared at or felt bad for. Then with diabetes, came scaring. For a long time, I wouldn’t wear bathing suits and I would always choose the baggy clothing over fitting outfits. When I would have to eat snacks in school because my blood sugar was low kids would always say “Why do you get to have snacks?” or “Its not fair that you get something,”. It would make me feel guilty and ashamed of having diabetes. Throughout the years of finding myself, I begun to embrace my diabetes and not have it define me. It’s even taught me how to care and love better. Diabetes has helped me take care of myself and want to be healthier. Diabetes began to give me confidence instead of taking it away. Now I’m the happiest I’ve ever been with myself and diabetes. I have so many people around me who truly care about my illness. I have a sensor that continuously monitors my blood sugar, so I don’t have to prick myself anymore, and my blood levels have been the steadiest since I got diagnosed. That’s why I truly believe that Diabetes have made me an even better person for myself and others.

    Like

  10. When people hear the word illness they hear a plethora of stigma’s put behind the word, they don’t see the person behind the word.
    I, Taelar Forcier, have Epilepsy. If you don’t know what that is, it means I have seizures. Though I’ve only had five, it’s safe to say every time I wake up I never want to have another. The first time I found out was in middle school, I was new and I had come from a small school. Including myself I knew six kids, yes you read that number right. Meaning when I had my first seizure in front of the whole school, only six people knew who I really was and the rest formed an opinion on this alone. When I woke up in the hospital and found out, I asked if I could transfer because kids are ruthless and I knew what was coming. When I got back I was bullied a lot and it didn’t matter what kind of personality I had I was labeled a “weirdo.”
    I’m glad I can say that I’m okay with that now, because I had so many bad experiences I ultimately got stronger. I found people who accepted me, and I didn’t change for them. I knew that to live with who I was, I had to accept what I had, because it was a part of me. It’s odd to say now that I am grateful for my Epilepsy, because it made me, who I am.

    Like

  11. Before last year I would say the expected that having an illness is a devastating thing but after October 24th when my mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer I never realized how heartbreaking it can be to watch the person you love go through hell in front of you. As if through my whole life I’ve been so oblivious to just how terrible all of it really is. I never knew I could hurt that much and it not even be my sickness. For my whole life I have been blessed with a very healthy family with all of my grandparents still alive, This made us all feel invincible. When we found out that my mom was diagnosed with this terrible sickness it really hurt everyone. Her pain was ours. There were times where I would skip school to go with her to get chemo treatment and although it hurt even more to see her like that it made me feel so much better to hold her through every step. There were times you could see how tired she was in her eyes. I soon took the stand as the leader of the house, taking care of my younger brother and my niece and her. I got in to a mindset where I felt like I could not feel sad or atleast show it. I had to be strong for everyone. I needed to have the positive mindset that she was going to make it through all of this. My grades began dropping in school and my teachers noticed. The began asking so many questions and of course I did not want to let them know what was happening at home because it felt to personal and i didnt want a pity party. As harsh as it may sound i did not want anyone feeling bad for me, I did not want any of the teachers giving me the easy way out because my mom has cancer. But soon enough they called home and my mom told them everything.
    The rest of the year you could all the eyes on you cause after teachers found out students did as well. Everyday became a constant “how is your mother ?” “how are you ?” “how are you dealing with this ?”. To anyone outside it might have been seen as a great thing a friend does but when school was your escape from all the heartache at home and now you have lost it because you are constantly being reminded that while you are at school your mom is home helpless, it stings. I soon learned that my friends just wanted to be there for me. I learned to speak on my feelings and express when im hurting. When she started to lose her hair that is when i think it really became my reality. I spoke to a counselor and my friends crying sometime saying why my mom. I learned that it was okay to feel this pain and its normal to carry this weight around cause you feel like if you say something people will think your trying to gain attention. Seeing her have such a big smile on her face showed me that I have to believe that she will make it through this.
    This whole experience showed me that my mother is the strongest person I know and that during times like this you need to hold the ones you love so close to you and never let go. My mom is currently beating and will beat cancer. Dealing with this has taught me to express my feelings and that doing so does not make me weak or an attention hog. It just makes me human.

    Like

  12. Growing up in the Dominican Republic has played the most important role in my life in terms of what I am today and how I see life. Being a lucky girl to grow up playing outside my house in the garden, arriving from school to eat my hot food and then go out to play without worrying about anything, made me a happy person who appreciates the little things in life as if they were nothing. My mom teaching me how to cook and my dad how to make bread or even how to change a tire from a car were unforgettable moments that I’d like to repeat again. By maintaining a good connection with my parents I have been able to learn to acquire the best things of both, the sensitivity of my mother in her actions and the love she gives to everything she does and the way of thinking like my dad. I use both ways continuously to the point that many times I don’t even notice it but it is something that I like enough, knowing that I can honor his name in everything I do. As a Latina woman who traveled to the United States of America, I want to show myself and the world that the standards should be destroyed by the effort we put in each day. I strongly believe that raising your backgrounds is the easiest way to paint the world of others in colors and make them remember the signature of your art.

    Like

  13. In our American society we often think of illness as perhaps strep throat or the flu. I mean, after all, It’s so easy to overlook a word that is so overused. An illness, by definition, is something that affects either the body or mind.

    For my parents, it affected both.
    Substance Abuse is an illness that the majority of society likes to put the blame onto the victim suffering for it. For if they had never tried this substance in the first place, they would’ve never gotten themselves into this mess that they’ve made, right?

    Wrong.
    I watched my parents, good people who I know had so much love in their hearts, turn into people who I didn’t recognize anymore. We had always been low-income, but reality never hit harder than when we had to move into a homeless shelter. All of the stability that I had in my life up to this point had vanished.

    It was hard to believe at first that this whole scenario could possibly be caused by an illness that took over my parent’s body and my parent’s judgement. Over time I had realized that the only way to “cure” this illness, was to give my parents something that no one up to this point had given them before.

    I gave them some of my faith. I gave them encouragement. I gave them the resources they needed. I gave them a reason to get clean.
    I believed in my parent’s sobriety.
    After all, if none of us ever believed in something, we wouldn’t be here posting or reading this blog at this very moment.
    It can be so easy to assume that every illness must be treated with countless doctors visits and endless prescriptions.
    But sometimes we all need to give some love to heal.

    Like

    • Kylie,
      I think that you are so brave to be willing to share this. I know that what you had to go through at such a young age must have been extremely hard to do and I thank you for being so willing and open to sharing your story. While I have never experienced substance abuse so close to home, I have seen the effects of substance abuse/addiction first hand at work. I work at PAACA (Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction) where they are dedicated to helping individuals and families looking to overcome addiction. I have seen how addiction can take hold of such amazing people and tear them apart right in front of our eyes. I am deeply touched by your story and hope that you and your parents are doing well.

      Like

  14. Illness has impacted my life in many ways. My entire life, I was overweight. This was never a problem, and all my doctors always said that it was just how my body was “built”. However, it bothered my mom. She raised me and my sister to be active and live a very healthy lifestyle. Both my parents were in the army, so staying fit is very important to them. She couldn’t understand why I was overweight, despite all my efforts and determination to lose weight. She could see my frustration, and she had a “gut” feeling that something was wrong. Finally, after 16 years, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). This is a fairly common condition, and I later found out that 1 in 10 women has it, but most do not find out until they are trying to start a family, because it makes it very difficult to get pregnant. I won’t get into the exact details of PCOS, because I could go on forever. Once I was diagnosed, so many of the difficulties that I had been dealing with my entire life finally made sense. I started to do research on my condition, because I wanted to take care of myself the best that I could. I have learned so much about my health and made so many changes to my lifestyle. One and a half years later I am healthier, and happier than I have ever been. Having PCOS made me realize how interested I am in learning about different illnesses and diseases, and how much I want to help other people who may not have the education or knowledge about it. This is also why I have chosen to go to UMass Dartmouth as a nursing major. I feel that my illness is a big part of who I am and has made me stronger and more educated.

    Like

  15. Having to watch someone you love go through something so difficult and painful is awful to witness. Three years ago my twin sister had a brain aneurism. It was a normal day, but that night, she started acting odd. She lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital where they found she was hemorrhaging from her brain. She was in a coma for two weeks. During those two weeks, we had no idea what she would be like when she woke up and how much damage her brain had suffered. Brain aneurisms are rare, and surviving one is even rarer, and almost anyone who survives one has irreversible damage. She had a couple more surgeries and finally, woke up. It was not good though. She was very different. She could barely speak, couldn’t walk, and didn’t recognize me and my older sister at first. We had hope though that she could get through it. And after months of therapy, she made almost a complete recovery. It was hard for everyone, but especially my sister. She would get very frustrated during her recovery process, and take it out on us. It’s almost like it made her more angry all the time. It was also very hard for my dad, who became even closer to her during this time and he got upset watching her struggle. But, three years later and you can barely tell she had any trauma at all. She even graduated high school on time with perfect grades, despite missing over half of sophmore year. Now the only thing she has left to remind her of what happened is a scar on head.

    Like

  16. My whole life I have watched my mom suffer various medical conditions and illnesses. It all started when she cracked her neck on a ladder railing used to get out of a pool. When that happened, doctors put a morphine pump in her body to help ease the pain. Every seven years that pump needed to be replaced with a new one.

    Once the first seven years had past, my mom went into surgery to get it replaced. She came out of surgery fine and was discharged from the hospital. A few days later, my mom was rushed to the hospital because she had spinal fluid leaking from her back. My mom was in the hospital for nine weeks, because the surgeon had messed up her surgery. From that point on, my mom always had constant back-pain.

    Except over the past few months my family found out it wasn’t just the surgery that left my mom with back-pain, it was also because she had developed Renal disease (kidney disease).It started back in February when she thought she was throwing up from the flu. She decided to go to the hospital when she wasn’t able to hold anything down anymore, including water. She went straight to the ER and from there they checked her in and started to monitor her. Many tests later the doctors broke the news that she was suffering from End Stage Renal Failure, which means both of her kidneys have failed. My mom is now on dialysis, which helps her not be in as much pain as she use to be and she is on the list waiting for a kidney.

    Illnesses impact everyone differently, whether it’s you suffering or you having to watch a loved one suffer. For me watching my mom go through all of this has allowed me to discover my passion for helping people and my desire to become a nurse. Observing how helpful the nurses were made me realize that I wanted to help people too. And now I am starting this fall as a nursing major, hoping to eventually become either an ICU nurse or a nurse practitioner.

    Like

  17. Sickness can manifest itself in many forms. Some deal with the struggles of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, etc. Others deal with physical illnesses like an autoimmune disease, or a bacteria. The worst part is when they coincide together at the same time. The summer of 2017 was painstaking for me. Although I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis five years prior, I had never experienced recurrent bouts of Clostridium Difficile or C Diff for short. Ulcerative Colitis, in layman’s terms, is a chronic disease that causes irritation in the colon, resulting in spontaneous outbreaks of uncontrollable cramps. On top of that, it also puts me at a higher risk of contracting C Diff. Now, Clostridium Difficile is a bacteria and in essence, is the flu on steroids. It causes extreme fever, diarrhea, and painful irritation in addition to a long list of harrowing symptoms.. By July, 2017, I had battled with C Diff three times. Every new instance was essentially getting hospitalized for a week restrained to a bed. The thought of leaving the house terrified me, leading me to another illness, depression. Staying inside with nothing to do besides lay in bed for a week is like staying in a room of carbon monoxide waiting to suffocate. My friends and family tried to encourage me to leave the house while I was on antibiotics but it scared me. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in public because of this illness. There was a point where it felt that I was the illness and nothing more. I couldn’t separate myself from it and any conversation I had was about it. Want to go to Movie night? I can’t go, C Diff. How about venturing to the Mall? Can’t, C Diff. Do you think you could go to the 4th of July family party? I don’t think so, C Diff. By that point, not only did my physical illness keeps me bed ridden, but also my mental illness. However, the story does end on a positive note. Due to the wonderful capabilities of the modern medical world, and the incredibly smart people at MIT. I was one of seven people to try out their new procedure of a fecal transplant via pills instead of colonoscopy. Since the procedure, I have been clean of C Diff and happy.

    Like

  18. I believe that an illness changes your view on life whether you’re directly affected by it or not. Illness is a very broad term it comes in many different forms it can be mental and physical. My view on life has changed completely after witnessing the effects of my grandfathers mental illness.
    My grandfather was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, the progression was slow and he was still himself, a very quiet private man. We grew close after I spent a summer in Cabo Verde with him and my grandmother since then we had a special relationship. In 2017, a few weeks before my birthday my grandfather suffered a really bad stroke which put him into a coma for weeks. When he finally woke up he was never the same. The dementia progressed so bad he started to forget who everyone was even me. Since then he gets very aggressive and scared of my family and I, which he’s very vocal about. It broke our hearts to see him the way he is now, he doesn’t remember any of my aunts or uncles at all. The only one he remembers is my grandmother.
    My uncle passed away May of 2018 the saddest part was my grandfather didn’t remember his own son , he looked down at my uncle in the casket and asked “Who is this man ?” This mental illness changed my family in so many ways. My grandfather will never be the same.
    I can’t even explain on how much this impacted my families life, but now we have more knowledge of the disease.

    Like

  19. It is so odd that the smallest injuries and ailments are the ones that look the most terrifying at times. Paper cuts for example hurt for a second, and then proceed to gush blood violently. Those who witness the small injury immediately rush to dress the wound, even though it is something so miniscule. However it looks so much worse than it is.
    It is the illnesses and injuries that nobody can physically see that kill. The ones that can be hidden with a mere smile, and fake laughter. These are the most dangerous illnesses, because they can be hidden so well.
    People always had told me that depression was a silent killer, but I always disregarded their remarks. In. my mind, people who were depressed looked gray, and sad. I was proved wrong when I witnessed depression silently kill someone I saw every day.
    He was a new boy my Sophomore year in high school. He was flamboyant, and funny. I had Algebra 2 with him, and he decided to come out to our class. No one had an issue with his sexuality , we were an accepting school. It was his home life that budded the depression no one could see. He came from an extremely conservative family, who never quite accepted his decision.
    Junior year rolled around, and he was the same. He was cheerful, funny, and he laughed. He became more quiet but nobody noticed. In my junior year English class, I watched him one day. I sat across from him, and noticed he was writing something very aggressively. It could not have been for class, we had a sub who was playing us a movie. I shrugged it off. It was not my business.
    That evening I scroll through my Instagram feed. He had posted something. It was a picture of a ripped out notebook page, placed on the very same English class desk I watched him write it on. I knew before I could even begin to read. It was a suicide letter. I ran downstairs to my mother, to call the police as so many of my classmates did. We were all too late. My mother was watching the news. A teenager from my town had ran headfirst into a concrete column at 90 mph. It was him.
    My high school acquaintance was taken by one of the deadliest illnesses America faces. He had no gushing blood, no visible wounds. He was taken like so many others, and no one expected it. This is why I believe in paying attention. Be present, and be aware of the small signs depression shows. It is most important to believe in being kind. You never know what someone is going through, and a small kind gesture could save a life.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Angie Ragosta Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s