World Arthrits Day 2017

Today is world Arthritis Day. I am one of the 300,000 children in the U.S. who has Juvenile Arthritis. I was the perfect baby and standing up by 6 months but then I was in a car accident and that changed everything for my mother (who was only 19) and I. After weeks of chronically projectile vomiting I went to see a rheumatologist who first diagnosed me with Kawasaki disease. Then after that they finally diagnosed me with Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. A lot of children get missed diagnosed which if not treated right can be dangerous. As I grew up with a great supportive family I was in and out of strollers, wheelchairs, scooters, powered wheelchairs, and walkers. As I was growing up with JRA I was turned into a Guinea pig trying medicines that only adults were being put on. Up until I was 8 my mom was taking car of 3 kids alone. She was not able to have a decent job where she wasnt fired with in the first month. By the age of 10 I was ready to start a new life I was supposed to be one of the first children in the United States to get a stem cell transplant. But course life doesn’t always go the way you planned. Two weeks before I was supposed to fly out to Seattle to get the stem cell transplant I had sepsis. Sepsis caused me to be in a coma for two months. While I was in a coma my heart was pumping blood to my brain to keep me alive but when that happens sometimes limbs can become necrosised which happened to me. I am very thankful that Sepsis only caused me to loose my toes and fingertips on my left hand when I was supposed to loose so much more. As my family was getting ready to say goodbye to their daughter/sister I was slowly recovering; it was a miracle I woke up from something I wasn’t supposed to survive from. I was in the hospital for another 2 months recovering and learning how to live my life as a new person. 

When I was 12 I was able to go to a camp for kids with Arthritis and I have been able to go every summer since. Since I am not a camper anymore I have been able to be on the planning committee for camp and be the camp photographer for two years now. Which I am so happy that I able to lend my help to them since they have helped me in many ways. Before going to camp I felt alone but since my first year I have built relationships that will never end and if I ever need anything they will be there. By the age of 13 I was receiving my first total hip replacement. My freshman year of high school I had 8 ear infections in a year which resulted in me having a mastoidectomy where they found out the infection had ate through my skull so once again I had to miss a month of school for. Being this was my freshman year of school and having to miss half of the school year; this resulted in me having a bad GPA for the rest of my high school career. In 2016 I graduated high school with a 2.9 GPA even though since freshman year I had only earned As and Bs. Last year was my first year of college at Edgewood College which I received a 3.4 GPA and having to go back and forth to Home and school every month for my treatments. This semester I had to take a break for health and financial reasons. Next semester I have to have reconstruction surgery on both ankles I hope I will be healed by the time I start school next fall. I am now 20 going on 21 I am glad to say I have had Arthritis since I was 6 months only because if I wouldn’t have had it then I wouldn’t have been able to meet all the wonderful people I have. As you can see my story has been a roller coaster but I could not have lived my life with out my family and friends. 
Thank you to everyone who has been there for me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you to my nurses and doctors who has helped me. Thank you to my teachers. And to anyone else who has believed in me. 

Remember, if you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.- Martin Luther King Jr.

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Standing Up to Bullies

29070-Robert-Frost-Quote-Never-be-bullied-into-silence-Never-allowMany people are bullied throughout their life, frequently people do not stand up for themselves. Morality can often depict people’s personality. Though people may be strong, but if they do not stand up for themselves, other often think that they are weak. Robert Frost once said, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” I did the exact opposite I allowed myself to be bullied into silence.

Throughout my school career, I was in and out of the hospitals, which made it hard for me to make friends. The reason I was in and out of the hospital is because at six months, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis has given me a roller coaster of medications, treatments, surgeries, infections, as well as hospitalizations. My family has always been there for me no matter what. Even when I was in a coma for two months and another two months for rehabilitation they were there every day. Once I was able to be at school again, people started to bully me. I have always been strong as well as fought through things in personal health issues and family aspects. When this happened to me, it was people I thought were my friends, I could not stand up for myself. Something I believe one should be able to do is love them self, which is a lifelong challenge in itself. I could not do that personally, and I could call myself a hypocrite.  I feel that my decision to not stand up for myself was immoral. Instead of sticking up for myself, I told only my mom, which was fine until she went and fought my battles for me.

It was around lunch time, in fifth grade, when people started bullying me. I was at home, recovering from a hip surgery, meanwhile I received text messages. At first, I left them alone. I was severely tired from all the pain. However, my phone kept buzzing, and I decided to see what was going on. On the screen, there were multiple messages from two or three of my classmates. The first couple of texts were talking about my looks, and the next few were about my personality. I now know that I am not that person who they were talking about, although as a fifth grader, I did not know that.

My mom could tell something was wrong just by looking at me and talking to me, and so she took my phone away from me. After I told her, she went to the school. The school took away their phones and called their parents to pick them up at the office. Over the course of the weekend it continued, the school then said they were not able to do anything because it was not their property. After hearing that, she posted on her Facebook wall that I was being bullied, and the school did not do anything about it. Somebody who had connections to a news channel contacted the news network, and there was a report done about this incident. The report did not help with the incident at school, however there was a lot of individuals across Minnesota who reached out to me in support and shared with me their stories of being bullied as well. When I went back to school after the program aired, I continued to be bullied even more. My past friends called me a “tattle tale,” a wimp, and that I should not be at school. I chose to ignore them.

That summer (after the incident), I was playing at a park with my three younger brothers, and some boys from school were there. As my brothers and I continued to play, we were harassed by a group of five to ten boys. They taunted me and once again called me a “tattle tail,” “wimp,” and to “run back to mommy.” I felt that my brothers did not need to be around that behavior. I wanted them to be respectful to everybody no matter how old they were, so we left.

When school started back up, one of the boys who bullied me had moved to a different state. He sent me a message saying, how sorry he was for all that he had done. As time went on, I forgave him. Throughout middle school, I was bullied, further, but not as severely as before. Again, I did not tell anyone what was wrong, or stand up to the bullies. My first two years of high school, I was ignored; which is worse than being bullied in itself. In classes, I would end up having to do group projects alone. I would go down to nurse’s office to eat lunch, or I would end up sitting at a table by myself. Even though, I did not have many friends in my high school, I had many outside of school. They would help to keep my spirits up, nevertheless many of them lived hours away.

I feel, not standing up for myself was immoral. Moral codes often keep us grounded. When one of our own morals is broken, everything else just unravels with it. Morality means, living by your standards of what is acceptable. It does not have to be exceptionally right or good, it just should be the standard. The standard of the golden rule should be upheld by ourselves. I think we should treat ourselves as we would want others to treat us. If we do not stand up for our self, then society will take advantage of that, and will kick us down when we are not strong. When we look into the mirror we will be disappointed in our self, that we did not stand up to the bullies. To be moral, I imagine, we need to be kind to ourselves, others, and the environment. individuals need to have empathy for others and contribute to society. If a person lives by their standard of love, respect, and compassion, for themselves, others, and the environment, they are moral.

From the experience of being bullied, I learned that it is best to fight your own battles. To this day, I still have low self-esteem and anxiety. If you do not fight your own battles, in my own opinion, it will cause pain to our loved ones and to others who are bullied, both now and in the future. By standing up and putting myself out there, I and others will gain a lot respect, which will help us gain confidence. I feel, if I would have stood up for myself, maybe less people would have been hurt, including myself. My voice could have been a voice for the survivors of bullying. I could have been the voice of encouragement instead my voice stayed silent and it was hard for me to ever learn how to stand up for myself. My mom was specifically more affected then I knew at the time. She saw the pain I was going through, even though many others did not. When she saw I was in pain, she would ask me what was wrong; I was persistent in not showing my emotions and held it all in, which resulted in me fighting with her. My mom and I have always been best friends, with the exception of this period, our relationship ended up getting bruised, either by stuff I said or did or vice versa. I started laying the bricks of the wall that surrounds me starting with not using my voice with the first bullying experience, and I have continued building my wall ever since. If I would have stood up to those children right when the bullying started, maybe I could have become an even better person, a stronger person, than I am today I could have shown others and my brothers, it is okay to fight back for yourself and what you believe in, not only is it okay; it is essential.

Being bullied made me learn to stick up for myself and for other people especially, when I am or they are being bullied. As cliché as it might sound, never judge a book by its cover; we never know what a person may being going through. I always put on a happy face and pretend everything is okay. I am learning that only causes more harm the good. When I pretend to be happy and I am not, I lash out at the people I loved. Being bullied affected me in a lot of ways. Once one of my morals was broken, I slowly started unraveling. If I would have stood up for myself, I would have been a stronger person than I am today. I suppose, I broke my own moral code by not letting the public know what was wrong, having my mother do it for me, and not using my voice. I made myself and others unhappy by not standing up for myself sooner, maybe this paper is the beginning of a new journey, using my voice.

Sailors, Ships, & Seas

March OwlCrate Box was Sailors, Ships, & Seas. The theme was based on the book The Daughter of the Pirate King. The box consisted of a compass pendant necklace designed by OwlCrate themselves, mermaid scales wash taped by SimplyGlided, an octopus notepad by Boygirlparty, and a tea towel from Kitch studios. The book that came in this box was The Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. A signed bookplate, a letter from Tricia Levenseller, and a temporary tattoo was also included.

Run Away With the Circus!

February OwlCrate Box was Run Away With the Circus. The theme was based on the book Caraval which I finished couple weeks ago. I have to say it is one of my favorite books. The box consisted of a candle from Minneapolis’s finest candle shop, Frostbread Studio, a notepad made from recycled playing cards, page flags, lip balm, and a tote bag. The book that came in this box was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. A signed bookplate, a exclusive quote card, sneak peek of the audio book, and a letter from Stephanie was also included.