You Got This


*****, You Got This

My challenge is being a student and a teenage mother at the same time as I am faced with seizure disorder. It's hard to know that I could die in my sleep. Every night I fall asleep next to my son wondering if I will wake up the next morning. I have tumors on my brain and was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Genetic Disorder when I was twelve years old. This disease causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and other major organs. The tumors cause uncontrollable headaches and frequent seizures. After a seizure I am exhausted and my body is drained. I have to fight the pain to even pick up my little boy.

Despite this challenge, I plan to continue to fight the battle of my body so that I can graduate from high school. When I got pregnant at 16 years old, everyone talked about me saying that I wouldn't be anything but a dropout. At that time, my main champion was my grandmother. It's easy to judge a teen mother, but my grandmother never did. She was the first person I told I was pregnant. I will never forget her saying, " you got this. Prove them wrong. Make them liars." She wiped my tears away; she told me to keep my head up when the mean words from others just kept on coming. During my entire pregnancy, I remained focused and earned nothing but Merit and Honor Roll grades. My grandmother was proud of me while everyone else was ashamed. Then I was faced with the biggest challenge of all; my grandmother passed away.

She held on as long as she could, but the blockage in her heart was beyond her control. Once I lost her, the pain began in earnest. When I had my grandmother, I faced physical pain. The loss of her brought emotional pain that hurt deep down inside. Before she died, my grandmother said that she wanted to live long enough to see me walk across that stage at graduation. When I do walk that stage, it will be because of her, for her, and in some strange way, beside her.

Sometimes in life the challenges keep on coming. This past summer, my little sister was diagnosed with lead in her blood. The Health Department came to our home and found out that there was lead-based paint on all of the walls. They cited the landlord and gave him a certain amount of time to remove the bad paint and repaint the walls. He did not do this; then there was a sign on our door giving us ten days to find another place to live. After the ten days passed, they boarded up the house with no further questions asked. Without my grandmother, my family faced a new challenge: homelessness. I worry all of the time. It's beginning to get colder and I have three younger siblings and a baby to try to keep warm.

When I think about my future, I dream of graduating from high school and going on to earn an Associate's Degree to become a phlebotomist. That way I will be able to provide for my siblings and my son. Not only that, but as a phlebotomist, I will be able to help others fight lead poisoning and diseases like the one that killed my grandmother. I realize that only education will allow me to provide for my son as he grows to manhood. I hope to pay it forward in my life. If I raise a strong and smart young man to adulthood, he will be able to pay it forward even after I am gone. As a young mother I already know that we have children to make the world a better place.

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