Health Love and grace People

Teenage reflections on hope

Lillian at Pauanui beach

I am almost eighteen years old and lucky to be alive.

I was born at 26 weeks. I owe my life to my mother who almost died in the process, my father, my medical team, friends, family, supporters and God.

I suffer from a benign condition called paroxysmal torticollis, caused in part by being born prematurely.

As a youngster, I found it difficult to cope. My rare condition would affect me in many ways such as not being able to walk, extreme dizziness and nausea.

At age nine I was diagnosed as partly deaf in one ear and have had a hearing aid ever since.  I often forget to wear it and my family have to remind me to put it in, because I ask them to repeat their words.

At age 15 the paroxysmal torticollis condition eased but when I was 17 it came back more severe, causing me to visit the emergency department several times.

My condition developed into vertigo like symptoms and now, after a year, I am reminded daily how lucky I am to be alive.

I often think about how blessed I am and I want to give thanks.

I hear a lot of negative talk and I must admit, I too complain a lot about little things.

I am currently fighting a few dizzy spells and my birthday is in several days, not to mention Christmas.

This time of year makes me think of what I went through as a new born. I was fighting for my life and eating very little for a number of years. I was in the hospital for approximately one hundred days over Christmas.

But I survived and am truly blessed to be here today and to have only this condition.  Even though it is severe, it is not life threatening.

Hopefully someone will find a cure someday.

Right now I think the best cure for those who have illnesses like mine is love, support, family and kindness.

Kindness goes a long way and lasts a lot longer than coffee or cake. Leaving someone a kind smile or offering a polite hello may change their life.

The truth is I need hope, everyone does.

Hope, faith, love and forgiveness are key to a fulfilling and happy life.

If you have hope you do not give up and have faith it will all work out. Faith is ‘like sitting on a chair and knowing it won’t break’. It is believing.

There is no failure in love, love beats everything and always wins.

Forgiveness is hard. It is difficult to forgive others, especially if they have hurt you so bad. It can be more difficult to forgive yourself, but once you forgive you feel a whole lot better and it becomes easier to forgive more.

It is hard for me to say this because I struggle with my condition, but I do believe I am meant to learn a lesson from this, I know we cannot give up.

Whatever it is I will keep striving to learn.

I am grateful for being here and I think we should be thankful every day, even for the little things such as waking up in the morning. That is not a little thing, it is a huge thing.

My condition is benign and it keeps me out temporarily a few times a year, but it could be so much worse.

I believe I am blessed and being born was a miracle.

I know we are all here for a reason.

It may take our whole lives to figure out what that reason is, but I hope to find out what mine is and to live up to what God wants me to be.

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