To The Teenager Recently Diagnosed With A Chronic Illness

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A photo of some of the many medications I need to keep my heart beating and body running everyday.
A photo of some of the many medications I need to keep my heart beating and body running everyday.

To The Teenager Recently Diagnosed With A Chronic Illness,

I know it was quite a shock to you, having been thrown into the world of chronic illnesses. I bet the first day you woke up sick it never crossed your mind that you wouldn’t get better, but soon days, weeks and months went by and your health never changed. It seemed like you would never get well again.

You probably went from doctor to doctor to try to figure out what was causing havoc inside your body. If it was anything like my fight, you spent months trying to find a diagnosis. Suddenly your days will be consumed with hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, medications and procedures. However, don’t let this become your life because it’s not your life.

Cherish the days when you get to enjoy your teenage years. Take the opportunity when given to go out and enjoy the typical teenage milestones such as Friday night football games, high school, prom and parties. You won’t get to experience many of these events again. These are going to be the days that help you carry on this fight. When you’re at your worst and it seems like nothing will ever get better, you’ll want to remember the times when life was at it’s highest because those days will show you life does get better.

Amidst the failed treatments, painful procedures and hopeless nights you’ll find that this rose surely has its thorns, but it also has its beauty and you can’t let the thorns of this life distract you from the beauty lying within it. No matter what type of chronic illness you are facing ,this fight will be difficult beyond compare. There will be days when the symptoms plaguing your body will be too hard to bare but I want you to know you aren’t alone. Many other teenagers out there in the world, including myself, are facing the same struggles. I know just how hard it can having to fight your own body like it’s a civil war, but I know you will be able to do this. I believe in you.


Michaela Shelley

A Chronically Ill Teenager

Suffering The Silence: Portraits Of Chronic Illness