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Jashan Gill, 10

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   I play basketball and during the basketball season I was starting to feel a lot of pain in my muscles. It was really hard to shoot, and my wrists started hurting, but I just kept playing through the JV game. During practices I got really tired and one practice I blacked out so I had to sit out for a while; it was really scary. I finished the season, and around March I started feeling, really tired, and it was really hard to get school work done. I take seven classes they were mostly honors classes too. I also play AAU in the spring before basketball season, and during the AAU season, I woke up one morning and my knees were really swollen. It was difficult to walk. I am pretty stubborn, so I didn’t tell anybody at school and I ran pacers with knee pads on during PE just so no one would see. Then spring break came and there was the Renaissance Project; I could not move my fingers to cut papers because they were swollen. My wrists were swollen and every single joint in my body was starting to swell. Still being stubborn, I went to practice for a couple of days during spring break. When I could not dribble the ball, I had taken it too far. I went to the doctors, but they thought it was nothing.

   Later, I got a phone call that I need to go back into the office because something was wrong with me. I got X-Rays before that; she said that it was much more serious and that I’m going to have to see a specialist. I had to be admitted into the hospital because I have an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus. I had no idea what that was. I had 18 tubes of blood taken out of me in less than five minutes; I was so weak because I have anemia and the blood wasn’t coming out. I didn’t take this in account, but I also noticed that I stopped eating and during the season I wouldn’t eat after practice, I’d only eat a little breakfast, some lunch, and I skipped dinner. During spring break, over the course of three or four days, I lost 20 to 25 pounds. I was in the hospital and got an infusion of chemotherapy I was in a hospital bed during this time.

   I was in the adult wing, so I had security because they couldn’t leave me alone. My parents work, and it was really hard for them to come back and forth because I was in Oakland. By that time, I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom in my room. I wanted to come back to school the next week because I didn’t want to miss too much. I came back to school in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk by myself, and I needed people to wheel me around to classes; it was really frustrating not being able to do things.

   I recovered faster than my doctor thought I would, and now I get chemotherapy every six months. I take medication everyday because I have a thyroid problem that developed because of that. I slowly got better and now I play varsity basketball, so now I’m just careful. I still take seven classes when I shouldn’t because I’m not suppose to make myself and my body stressed, but I got the award for student of the year last year.

   The scariest moments of my life were in that hospital bed, not being able to do anything. I was in a tremendous amount of pain and was on so many steroids, but I still felt the pain. I don’t want people to look at me like that’s what I am, I want people to look at me for all the things I’ve achieved: making the varsity team and being a good student. It really pushed me to get better and push for things because even though I wasn’t capable then, I knew I would be capable soon.

   I learned that it doesn’t matter how strong you are you’re going to have your weak points, you’re going to struggle through things, and you’re going to need to ask for help sometimes because you cannot do everything by yourself. The school was actually really supportive, I had teachers that totally understood, they gave me lead way, and helped me out with what I needed help with.

   Mr. Forni was put in the hospital around the same time that I was and it was hard to hear about us being sick at the same time. But he was not able to get better and I didn’t want to take it for granted that I was given the opportunity to get better and he wasn’t. I feel like I need to take it  into account that I was given the opportunity to help myself.

   At first I was really scared because this lupus can affect anything in your body. It can affect your lungs or any organs but it affected my bones the most. I just I know I have to live with less stress in my life because it could flare up again. You never really consider having to be aware of what your body is capable of and knowing your limit. I’m not letting this determine what I’m able to do.

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The student news site of Casa Grande High School
Jashan Gill, 10