Grave Encounters

Tell us about a person or experience you have encountered. Describe how that encounter challenged you and resulted in personal growth.


Bright, boiling hot days spent in the backyard. Heavenly, refreshing water against sun-kissed skin. All the time in the world to enjoy a lovely summer. When schools release students for the three-month long break, the first plans of the warm season are set in motion. There is a scramble to the movies, pools, malls, and airports. I was fast asleep. As soon as I finished my sophomore year, I went home to sleep, which is not uncommon for a teenager. We like to sleep. Sleep is good. We would gladly trade the kindergarteners their naptime for our standardized testing. However, I woke up feeling tired still. My summer constituted of this, 16 hours asleep per day.

Blood work instead of movies with friends. Doctors’ visits instead of cooking out by the pool. In the summer of 2012, I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Graves’, a form of hyperthyroidism. My body began attacking itself to produce more of the thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism. I lost weight because my body burned through food so quickly. Manic episodes and ravenous hunger followed by extreme fatigue were more symptoms that I experienced.

After I had an allergic reaction to a medicine that was supposed to inhibit the production of metabolic hormones, my...

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