Post: March 3, 2016

This year I have really pushed myself. I am currently finishing up my sophomore year. Last semester I made dean’s list for receiving high honors. I owe a lot of my success to the failures I experienced my freshman year. Its very hard figuring out how much you should and need to push yourself without getting too sick. It was a very proud moment to achieve high marks because I felt that not only had I proved people that I could in fact attend college with my condition, but that I could also academically surpass the average.

This year I experienced a relatively scary health event. I had an aniphilactix reaction to Chipotle. Luckily, my best friends are nursing majors so they recognized what was happening to me and called 911. This lead me to see an allergist in hope to find out what had caused the reaction. Unfortunately they where unable to find what the allergen was, and as I result I have an epipen. However, doctors do not think I will have another reaction because they think it was a fluke. Ive had to become a lot more cautious and strict about what I do and do not eat. Im currently working with my cardiologist to manage my swelling. I had to have a ring cut off my finger because of swelling. I find that I swell whenever I do “too much”. Too much often means staying up late studying or even walking across campus. I definitely have become much more sensitive in my joints this year. Ive had a few falls/injuries that have taken me a long time to bounce back from. My immune system has caused me to catch a lot of nasty viruses. I got bacterial bronchitis that developed into whopping cough that last from thanksgiving to winter break. At one point I coughed so hard that I puked in my dorm shower, and I decided to text the duty phone (the phone for whatever resident assistant is on duty) to tell them that I had puked in the shower and that housekeeping may need to come by. And in my text I specifically said that I had whopping cough and had coughed so hard that I puked rather than I puked because I was drunk. But I was so sick I managed to text the duty phone the wrong thing, texting that I was drunk instead of I am not drunk. This caused the most comical mess up to occur, but luckily I was able to convince the RA of my mistake (as normally I would have been forced to have the proper authorities come and inspect me).

I started a work study this year on top of occasionally working at rite aid. I plan on leaving rite aid and finding a job this summer close to home that will be a better fit for me. I haven't been as active in the Mito community as have been in the pass, a lot of this has to do with me putting all my focus into being successful at school.

My biggest struggle I think I have faced since going to school is people’s inability to understand what my condition is and means. I don't sleep through my 8 am because I am lazy or partied hard the other night, instead I wake up and physically cannot move my body because it is so exhausted. Its hard because I look completely normal from the outside. So even when I explain my health conditions to others they are unable to fully grasp my condition because my appearance contradicts societal concepts of illness. My hope is to educate individuals, and eradicate the barrier of those with invisible conditions. That is the pre conceived societal notions of what illness means and looks like. From a logistic stand point I for advances in treatments, and a cure. By bringing awareness to Mitochondrial Disease more people will be aware, care, and want to act.

I just graduated from high school, and will be attending UNH in the fall. I can’t even describe what graduating high school means to me. Last year I missed three months of school, lying in a hospital bed with a GI hemorrhage while my friends where at prom. The year before that my legs swelled up to the point where I could only wear dresses and Birkenstock with my own holes punched into them. I had to wear this outfit combo in winter. It was very painful to walk, and I missed several days of school because of the inability to move. A few months later I had a complex migraine, which is similar to a stroke. All parts of my brain shut down for over two hours, and when regained my consciousness I found myself in a hospital bed with no recollection to how I got there. This year I dealt with frequent gallbladder attacks, which would land me in the local ER for pain management. So in that moment, when I crossed the stage to receive my diploma words where absent. I graduated, and not only graduated, but missed several days of school, graduated top fourth of my class, with high honors, and several extra credits. In that moment I had proved everyone who told me I couldn’t do it wrong.

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Name: Christopher White
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