News from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla.

Winning my battle with endometriosis

April 18, 2017

UPDATE: Last week, I would’ve told you that there’s no such thing as “second chances,” let alone any other chance after that. Not too long ago, I opened up about my battle with endometriosis and my journey through the years as I grew sicker.

Between now and then, things have changed. Two weeks ago, I left after school to go take another projection test. Things were not looking good for me. Each time I went to see how much time I had left, my string of fate shortened.

However, in every story, there is a catch. The doctors nervously presented me with an option that could very well be my last chance. Here is where I answer your question: “What changed her mind about second chances?”

Two weeks ago, after they told me that I was increasingly running out of time, the doctors presented me with a last chance to save my life. An experimental drug, that if it worked, would neutralize the toxins that filled the cyst-like “bubble” so that when they are released into my system, there would be no effect. The risk, because there always is one, was that if my body rejected it, my days would be seriously limited- a week at most.

For most, this is highly troubling news, but I’ve been sick for six years, and I’m 16 now, so it was a sign of hopeĀ for me. I was willing to take the risk and chance to not have to worry about how much sand was left in the top of my hourglass.

Since opening up, my best friend and I had fallen out of our strangely unique love and I had stepped in to love with someone I didn’t know could love me the way he does, but that’s a story for another time.

Last Thursday, I went for yet another projection test so the doctors could examine the experiment I was facilitating for them. For years, I was the metaphorical field day for my doctors; they were intrigued by my case and how I had made it so long, the whole six years. This time, there was not observation as much as celebration. The drugs were accepted by my body.

What would have been one of the riskiest options for me had been reduced to merely a simple surgery. Six years of thinking about an eventual, undetermined end had become thinking about the possibilities of the future because of one decision to take the second chance.

Six years has taught me a lot. The biggest lesson being that there is no definition to time, and life doesn’t end with bad news. Life, will simply always continue to be.

When you find out you don’t have much time left your outlook on life, those around you, and the world as a whole changes drastically. You begin to look at things differently, seeing the beauty in them and appreciating the smallest things, ones you didn’t appreciate before. At least, that’s what I did.

About six months before I was diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of endometriosis, I met the person who would soon become my best friend. We connected immediately and our friendship grew stronger each day, faster than most friendships do. When I was diagnosed, I felt like I couldn’t tell him about the diagnosis. At the time, our friendship was at a high. We were both happy, and we spent every moment we could with one another.

Then, just after I was diagnosed, another person I was extremely close to passed away after a year of fighting osteoporosis. I started to pull away from my best friend and isolated myself from the world. I eventually decided I was going to end my own life, thinking if it was going to happen eventually then why not now.

I downed almost 5,000 milligrams of an over-the-counter drug in about two hours with water. At some point, something clicked in my mind that told me I had more people to affect in this world, and I thought about my best friend, and my heart broke. I ran to my parents’ bedroom and told them everything that had happened. I was rushed to the hospital where they fought for hours and days to lower my dangerously high core temperature and my heart beat.

“You’re lucky,” the doctor told me, “if you would’ve waited another thirty minutes or so, you would’ve died. But there’s still a lot of fighting to do because your life is still at risk, and your kidneys are no longer functioning.” What I did would permanently damaged my immune system, causing me to constantly be sick for the rest of my life as I knew it. I now also cannot take any pill medications.

I was in the hospital for a month, and when I got out, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house for two more because exposure to outside bacteria at public places easily made me sick. The next time I saw my best friend, I told him I was busy with school, and he never thought anymore about it.

At that point, we had already been friends for a year. Today, three years later, I went to the doctor to get a projection test, which tells me how much time I have left. They told me that I had increasingly less time, a year at the most, because the medications had stopped working. They also told me there was one way to save me: a high-risk surgery, that if I lived through, could cause more than a handful of complications afterwards. So, we set a date well within my projection time for the surgery.

I had no option but to tell my best friend. I drove to his house, and he was surprised to see me there. I was shaking before I even said anything. For two years now, I had been in love with this kid, and I didn’t want to lose him. My heart broke again when I saw the look on his face after I had explained everything. His eyes penetrated my soul. He sat in a chair and me on his couch, then he stood up and just hugged me. He held me for several minutes, and I broke down. The only thing I remember him saying is, “You can’t leave me like this. I love you.” I told him I loved him too, but thought that is was nothing more than a ‘friend’ thing to say.

Then, I went in a week later for another projection test. It was getting rapidly worst. My new projection period was now well before through just after the surgery date. The chances of me not making it were higher than making it, so the doctor told me I should prepare my will and make my ends with those I felt I needed to.

I told my best friend this new information two weeks later. In my will, I gave half of all of the money I would inherit at 18, 250 million, to him and the rest would be divided among my family and another person I felt dearest about.

I am very quickly approaching the starting date of my projection period, and for a long time, I’ve lived my life as if I wasn’t dying. I made plans for the future and smiled everyday, no matter how much pain I was in. I had almost convinced myself that I’d be okay. But now that I’m so close to that date, things are changing.

I’m looking at things differently, and I’m beginning to prepare to say my goodbyes. When I’m with my best friend, I study him. I take in every detail about him that I can and hope that I can remember it all when I pass. I’ve planned a trip at the end of the year, just before my date, for him and I to spend a week at the beach. And I plan to tell him that I’ve loved him for almost three years now, because if I survive the surgery, I’d like the opportunity to build a life with him.

I leave you with the lesson I have learned through life: death forces you to view the world for the beautiful thing it is and show you how you can affect change. To value everything you have the opportunity of experiencing and the people you meet. My best friend has the kindest heart and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to love him during the time I have had. I know that I am loved and that is enough for me.

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