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To My 14-Year-Old Self, Sitting in the Doctor's Office


Dear 14-year-old me,

This is not the birthday you had in mind at all. You did not expect to be sitting in a doctor’s office reviving your first inhaler, but here you are. You have been home since Tuesday when you ran a fever of 104.5 and threw up. You are fairly sure that nothing can be worse than today, but you are wrong.

Before your 16th birthday you will get pneumonia three times, bronchitis twice and end up in the ER in respiratory distress. (Next week you will be diagnosed with bacterial for the first time. Once bacterial and once viral still to come.) It will take five different inhalers and two oral medications before you find a medication that keeps you from constantly coughing. Every minute of it will suck completely, but eventually it will get better. You truly won’t understand how good you have gotten until you have a high pollution day and feel like you did before when you are once again that 14-year-old girl sitting in the doctor’s office gasping for breath.

Your friends and teachers you call friends will become your greatest allies in the next few years. They will learn how to tell if it is a good day or a bad day, but also how to tell just by looking at you if you are running a fever or having trouble breathing.

Currently you are scared and really sad, but it will get better you will make friends in the spoonie community and also make really good friends at school. Just don’t give up because it does get better.

Sincerely,

Your 16 ½-Year-Old Self

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