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Living a normal life when your life is anything but normal

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:05pm
Living a normal life when your life is anything but normal is not only a physical challenge but it is more of a mental challenge. I know growing up I was in a constant battle with myself, the one I showed to the world, and the person I really was inside. I know this sounds sad, I and I assure you it isn't something that I like to talk about, but as I talk to more and more adults with congenital heart disease, especially ones that never knew anyone like them we all have some degree of being two people.

I think I was aware of portraying a person I wasn't in grade school. I know most of my classmates knew I had a sickness, but of course they had no idea to what degree. I remember making up excuses for not doing certain things, like running around the playground saying silly things like; " I don’t want to get dirty" things like that. When the real reason was I couldn't run. The older I got the more I told the truth, I guess I lied when I was younger because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t run, or do things the other kids could do I just knew that I couldn't do it. However the truth sometimes hurts more then the lie, I remember many times being excused of using my "condition" as many people like to call it for my advantage.

I remember my freshman year of high school I just had my Glenn shunt done, and got out of the hospital less then two weeks before school started, I had spent 23 day in the hospital, and 16 days of that in the ICU. I looked at myself in the mirror, and didn’t physically or emotionally recognize myself. I was told by the doctors not to write on a chalk board for at least a month, due to the scar that went from my breast and curved all they way to my back and stopped between shoulder blades. So there I was sitting in class, just trying to be normal, and my teacher called on me to come to the board. Explaining to her that I just had major heart surgery, and couldn't write on a chalk board, was like trying to convince someone the sky was green. Even though all my teachers were told ahead of time what had just happened to me, she somehow thought I was making it up, maybe years of teaching high school students that dont really want to be there, slowly turns teachers to believe we are just giving then excuses not to do what they want us to. Truth was I didnt care about what I was doing, I had just fought a war against my own body and barely survived I was physically still there but who I was before left no trace.

With every teenager I think there is a part of not really knowing who you are, and doing what your friends do just to fit in. I was 14 but I had been through things ,and saw things that I shouldn't have had to face till I was old and grey. That is how I felt old and grey, but I managed to spend my freshman year trying to be upbeat, social, and interested in things I could careless about. I just wanted to go home sit in front of the TV, or disappear into my room, and just be left alone. I was tired, and I know I was deeply depressed only finding joy in what I could imagine or what I could write or draw. Art was my haven from reality, and my therapy to deal with all that had happened.
Teri (HRHS)
To be continued.....
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