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When I was 13 years old in eighth grade, and my sister was a junior in high school, one of my sister’s friends moved in with us. She got kicked out of her house after being beaten by her father, and had nowhere to go. After living with us a week, when I was home without my family and my sister’s friend had just gotten up from being asleep, she had a gran mal seizure while I was in the basement playing X-Box. I heard and felt thumping on the floor and ran upstairs to see what the noise was. I found her lying on her back, aspirating in her vomit and turning blue, during a full blown seizure. I ran and got oven mitts, pried open her mouth, put her on her side so all the vomit and foam could come out, and called 911. The paramedics said I saved her life.
My dream since I was five years old was to be a professional baseball player. In eighth grade our Junior High baseball team went to state for the first time in the school’s history. Freshman year of high school, I was proud to be the starting shortstop on the High School’s Varsity baseball team. I was the only team member who did not sit out one inning. I was on my way to fulfilling my dream… or at least to getting a scholarship for college. Or so I thought.
Then sophomore year, my life drastically changed. I am medication sensitive. I have only taken 5 antibiotics my whole life and reacted badly to all 5. At a year old, I even went into anaphylactic shock and almost died from one. Well, sophomore year, a dermatologist put me on Solodyn for acne. It cleared my acne, but after being on it a short time I began to vomit for 21 days straight and couldn’t stop. I missed a ton of school. I was in the ER a lot for dehydration, and no matter what my doctor gave me to help the nausea and vomiting, it didn’t work. I was 5’8” and dropped to only 102 pounds. My parents took me to an alternative medicine doctor, who had helped my sister with a rare illness she had gotten and although he stopped the vomiting in three days with homeopathy, I remained nauseated for the next three + years. At times, it still returns, and I can easily lose ten pounds in a couple of days.
Weight loss continued to be a problem and my parents remained very concerned about me. I tried to force myself to go back to school so I wouldn’t miss baseball. Returning made my life even more challenging. The High School did not make it easy for my return. By not supporting me properly or listening to how much I was struggling, my parents, after advocating for me directly, went to the Federal Board of Education for help. According to their Federal Prosecutor, we had a valid case of bullying by two teachers and my guidance counselor for the way they had treated me and words they had spoken to me directly or to my class about me, behind my back, while I was absent. One particular day I was back at school, one of my baseball coaches said something to me that was so untrue, as sick as I was, I was so devastated by his untruth, I walked home from school that day even though I wasn’t supposed to, and I thought of walking in front of a moving school bus to kill myself. It’s only because of my family’s unconditional love that I didn’t act on it. I went into counseling and was diagnosed with PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and started to have panic attacks.
My parents met a zillion times with the school, and they refused to test me for special help, even though myself, parents and MD told them how much I was struggling being back in class. My doctor said the gut impacts the brain directly. I found myself unable to concentrate, had difficulty remembering, and had trouble thinking and reading. Since the high school refused to pay for me to be tested, my doctor ordered me to be tested using our private insurance. It was found I had dropped from an above average reading level to a fifth grade reading level. Now, by law, the school had to help.
However, by that time, I was still quite ill, and being back at school was miserable for me on all levels. And as far as our case with the Federal Board of Ed against the high school, since it was my word against the two teachers and guidance counselor, we lost the case and they got away with bullying me. The Prosecutor shared they were asked to put in writing their side of the story, and they did not tell the truth about what they had said to me. The only witness I had against one of the teachers speaking badly about me to the whole class, backed out on his testimony on my behalf due to the teacher being one of his coaches. And the FEDS said that was acceptable, too bad for me, it was my word against theirs. By then, I had experienced so much unkindness trying to return to school, that my parents made a decision to pull me from high school and eventually get my GED, which I did. Not only was my life drastically changed, I lost my lifelong dream of become a pro baseball player.
I continued to have panic attacks, PTSD, and was still way too thin and not able to eat due to nausea. That’s when I began to smoke pot, which was the only way for me to eat, keep food down and put on weight. I then was able to start to body build, as my doctor told me by doing so I could help the neurotransmitters in my brain get back to normal, and I would put on muscle. I worked out every day, no matter how hard it was or how miserable I felt, in order to help my brain and body heal. My doctor was right because when I took my GED at a local junior college, my reading level showed it went back up to above average for my age, and I passed my GED first try. However the challenge was that only by smoking pot was I able to keep eating and keep my weight on. Of course, my doctors didn’t know about the marijuana, but my parents did. They wanted me to live and the only thing that helped my appetite and stopped my nausea and vomiting completely was marijuana. Pot was the only thing allowing me to have and keep my appetite. Since eating again and working out was helping me put on weight and muscle, and helping my brain, my dream changed to becoming a Personal Trainer. I am currently enrolled in the NASM personal training school and I am working.
My dad ended up becoming extremely ill, which got our family in even more medical debt, (my illness started the debt as alternative medicine is not covered by insurance). It took four years for him to get properly diagnosed with three autoimmune disorders of his muscles. He had to have a G tube surgically put in his stomach and had to stop eating. I was very scared, which increased all of my symptoms again.
These life experiences have actually turned my life around and I plan to use my experience to help inspire others to change their ways. I no longer smoke pot and am rising out of the ashes and see that even though I have made poor choices, I am capable of turning my life around… and using my experience to help inspire others.
My parents have always said when God closes one door another better one always opens. They are right. I have found John, who is helping me become a professional fitness model. I plan to use my life to support and teach others how to become fit naturally, through the use of great nutrition and through body building without steroids and with hard work and taking great care of self. I am grateful for all of the valleys and mountains I have lived, as they have made me a better person. Even though my dream of professional baseball is gone from my plate, my new dream of becoming a personal trainer and going to college for nutrition will continue to help me to become the man God wants me to be… and to let my LIGHT shine, so I can inspire others to do the same. Thank you God. And thank you mom, dad, and the greatest sister in the world, who all support and love me unconditionally.