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 its highest because those days will show you life does get better.

Amid 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 challenges. I know just how hard it can be 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.

From,

Michaela Shelley
A Chronically Ill Teenager

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

To the Nurse in the Pediatric Ward Who Went Above and Beyond

Dear Marinor, You probably don’t remember me, but I was the 13-year-old recovering from a burst appendix right around Thanksgiving in 2007. It was my first surgery, my first experience in the ICU and my first long-term hospital stay. I had a lot of nurses during that month, but you are the one I remember [...]

6 Questions I Wish People Would Ask Before Judging My Illness

I often feel as though I am being pre-judged by my chronic illness without someone even taking the time to understand my illness or bothering to ask questions to understand it before making their judgment. I’ve heard everything, like “You’re lazy, you’re stronger then the pain, you can push through, it can’t be that bad, [...]
woman sitting at a table drinking through a straw

7 Things I Didn't Know Would Happen When My Health Got Worse

In the beginning of my illness, I had more good days than bad days, and I never really thought that one day it would be the opposite. There were things that I didn’t know would happen once my health got worse. 1. I didn’t know I’d have to be my own health advocate. I’ve spent the past [...]

5 Things That Helped Me More Than 'Thoughts and Prayers' After I Got Sick

As I’ve learned to navigate my new reality, I’ve grieved for the aspects of life that have changed and things I’ve lost. Like a lot of people with chronic illness, I’ve lost friends since I’ve become sick, and it’s been one of the toughest things to handle. Some people are only friends on the most [...]