« on: November 29, 2010, 03:20:32 PM »
I've written my ps about my struggle with a chronic illness and really need some feedback. Thanks in advance for any help.
The flight home had been rough. My head was spinning. My mouth was dry and my skin was burning up, painful to the touch. I had just returned from yet another consultation with a yet another specialist, this time in Phoenix, in search of an explanation for the mysterious illness which had slowly debilitated my life over the past few years. The doctor had offered no answers, no relief. My parents and little brother met me at the gate forcing cheerful smiles. As we headed to baggage claim, my dad, ever the diplomat, gently held my arm, signaling me to hang back.
ďWe got the results of your lip biopsy earlier today.Ē Using the tip of my tongue, I gingerly massaged the spot on the inside of my lower lip where they had extracted the tissue. It was still sore, the stitches a reminder of a diagnostic procedure I undergone shortly before leaving for Arizona.
ďThe test came back positive for Sjogrenís.Ē My heart pounded. I had read about Sjogrenís Syndrome. It is an incurable auto-immune disease in which the bodyís white-blood cells attack and destroy its moisture producing glands. I was twenty when I was diagnosed on January 8, 2008, one of only 150 registered cases worldwide for my demographic.
Coping with the diagnosis of a chronic illness is much like grieving a death. Life as you previously knew it is gone. Everyone grieves differently and the process was particularly challenging for me. I told no one other than my family of my diagnosis, fearing that my friends would view me as weak. I lost my focus. I mentally threw myself to the floor, flailing my arms and kicking my feet. I saw only one side, the apparent hopelessness of my condition. I have always thrived on control, and being unable to affect my health left me consumed with frustration. As far as I was concerned, this was a black and white issue- no cure, no hope. I was finished. I took a leave of absence from Hopkins, not knowing when Iíd be returning.
Months passed. My physical condition became manageable and I returned to school but still floundered emotionally, feeling angry and cheated. This adversity led to a process of intense self-examination. My conclusion was that things werenít so cut and dry after all. I needed to address the situation of my health from another angle. I realized that, in spite of my struggles, I had actually accomplished a great deal. Even after taking a semester absence I graduated from Johns Hopkins on time and with honors, had become the president of the Mock Trial Team and was a member of the Teach for America program. Most importantly, I had the same mind and spirit, even if my body didnít always want to cooperate. I stripped my conception of the perfect life down and rebuilt it, step by step to fit my new reality.
We live in a world of maybes, a sea of uncertainty. My experience with illness has reinforced that sometimes in life there is no finite answer to a question- every situation is open to examination. The analysis of this gray area attracts me to the study of law. I enjoy researching issues, finding different ways to look at a situation and crafting arguments. I understand the power of positive action and optimism. I realize that life is too short and too fragile to do something that Iím not completely committed to. I offer a viewpoint on lifeís trials and tribulations which is unique to many of my peers. Iím stronger than Iíve ever been and my experiences have deepened my compassion for the struggles everyone faces. Since graduating from college Iíve had time to consider my goals for the future and am ready to pursue my career in law. My health challenge has brought me to a new level of maturity, understanding and determination to achieve this goal.