I am a Junior in college, who was diagnosed with Neutropenia in 7th grade. Growing up I was always sick more than most kids, but it wasn't until 7th that we were able to pinpoint a reason. After my diagnosis I was put on Neupogen, which greatly improved my quality of life. I was getting sick less frequently, and things were going well. My freshman year of college proved that chronic illness is unpredictable, even when you thought you had it under control. I was admitted to the hospital many times, and although I loved the college I was at, I had to come home to be closer to my doctors. I have learned to appreciate life in a different way living with Neutropenia, and Stay Strong no matter what comes my way.
Throughout my journey with Neutropenia, I have faced a plethora of challenges to say the least. My health has interrupted my life numerous times, and I have had to learn how to cope with change in a healthy way. Although things started to look hopeful after my diagnosis at age 11, and I was getting sick less frequently, I had no idea what was ahead of me. My freshman year at Luther College was by far the most challenging time of my life. I had infections that landed me in the hospital numerous times, and I suffered with school and my mental health. It was frustrating that I couldn't be a healthy college kid, and focus on school and my friends. High school was lonely for me, and I was so looking forward to a new school, new start and the ability to make new friends. I certainly did this, but I was interrupted by my health, and had to focus on that a majority of the time. Ever since that year at Luther, I have learned how to appreciate life in a different way. I learned how to do this when I was first diagnosed aswell, but that year at Luther was the hardest on me emotionally and physically. After that year, I had a better attitude and appreciation of life, and my motto became "stay strong", which has stuck with me since. I have had challenges since then too, but I have learned how to handle my illness in a better way, and know that I can still live a full life if I keep a positive attitude. I hope to inspire others with Neutropenia, and show them that they too can live their life to the fullest if they stay strong.