Thursday, January 24, 2008

Eight to High School

My History - Chater 4

After I understood what CF meant, my life returned to normal. I stayed healthy and out of the hospital. Besides the occasional bout with a lung infection that required oral antibiotics, I seemed perfectly normal.
I spent nearly every summer playing softball. I was never the best, but I knew the game and often was put in by the coach. I found my niche at pitcher and shortstop. I was fearless with the ball coming at me and would dive on the dirt to catch it. I taught myself to pitch, and prodded the coach into watching me. While I wasn't fast, I was very accurate and had good control over my pitches. Because I had this degree of control I pitched often, even though it seemed sometimes to take an hour for my pitch to get to the plate. I also played basketball for awhile, but I quit in early middle school as the girls began to grow taller, and I, already short, stayed behind. Because of the digestive issues with CF, we often experience delayed puberty and often do not reach our growth potential because of malnutrition. I already come from a short family, so having those issues kept me as one of the smallest and shortest in my grade.
It was also during this time that I started to develop a love for theatre. I always loved attention, so it seemed like a natural step. We have videos of me from when I was a young girl demanding people pay attention to what ever little song I happened to be singing... bowing after a group performance like it was all about me. I did my first play at the community level when I was 11 or 12. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". It was a mostly kid production, but as being one of the older kids, I took a leadership role and relished being the first on stage each night. I was hooked. Theatre continued to define my life for many years.
I struggled some socially in middle school, as so many do. I've always been a little social awkward, and at an age where that is exacerbated, I felt like I struggled. I had a few close friends, Wes, Julie, and Jessica, and they helped me through. While we are no longer close, I thank them for keeping me from drifting off into social oblivion.
CF wasn't a huge factor in my life for those years. I started doing my first medical trials, taking medication that they were trying for CF care. While people questioned rather a kid of my age should be on trials, my parents and I agreed that we needed to do what we could to improve my health and other CF patients. Life is inherently risky. While on a medical trial, your health is more closely monitored than normal. Also, all the trials that I have been on have been different formulations of proven medications, making it be very little risk to me.
My weight issues, that got me diagnosed in the first place, started to show back up as I went through middle school. While I was always skinny, I started to fall further and further behind for my height. I began pushing in as many calories as possible, snacking through the day, and being very vigilant with my digestive enzymes. Middle school gave me the freedom to carry my pills with me and take them as I needed. Despite being very open about having CF and not hiding it from my peers, a few rumours started to crop up that I was bulimic and taking diet pills when I was really taking my enzymes. I mostly ignored these rumors, but would set people straight on the facts if I knew they were thinking incorrectly. This only lasted a short time though, because soon after the rumors started, a popular boy, a year ahead of me, came up when I was taking my pills at the water fountain. He asked me what they were for and if I was bulimic. I told him the real story, and he told me that he would make sure that the rumors would stop and they did. My peers were always pretty good about handling my CF, but some of my teachers were not. That's a story for another day when I talk about teaching.
I am going to stop right before I enter high school. There is a reason for this that will be revealed in the next chapter.

1 comment:

Leatha said...

Talana, I really enjoyed reading your history and I look forward to learning more. You've already answered so many questions for me that in the past I was too afraid to ask you. I admire your braveness. It's people like you who inspire me to live my life to the fullest everday because it wouldn't be fair to you and others with life-long deadly illnesses if I didn't take advantage of the healthy life I've been blessed with. I would love to walk by your side and help you raise awareness for CF this year. - Kendra