Thanks for visiting! The up and the down of a bipolar illness

Hi, my name is Christina. I am 16 years old and a junior in high school. I'm also the oldest of 3 children. Sometimes it's tough being the oldest, always being the first to do everything, and having the other kids look up to me all the time. My brother Danny is 14, and my sister Katie is 11. I absolutely love my brother... he is the best in the whole world, really the nicest person I know. My sister and I fight sometimes, but hey, we're sisters! 

I think laugher is so important, and I've found that it can really help you heal. I know that it helps me all of the time. And do I ever need help. See, I have something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and, though I have known about it for about 5 years, I think that I've had it all of my life. Let me tell you, it is REALLY uncomfortable, and there is no known cure or specific medical treatment (at least that's what I've been told). 

The only people that know about what I'm going through are my family members and my 2 best friends (they both have the same thing!). Though I generally keep my condition a secret, I told these friends since they can understand what I'm talking about. I don't think people know that I have anything wrong with me because you can't see IBS, but just the same, it is awful!  Sometimes I have terrible stomach pains all day long, and during those times I can't even sit through a 40 minute class without going to the bathroom at least once. 

Because of the IBS,  I don't eat chocolate or drink soda, and I get frustrated when kids ask me why, why, why all the time. Because it's an embarrassing problem to have, I don't really feel comfortable explaining it to people who couldn't possibly understand. 

Despite my medical problem, I received honors in Biology. Am I ever proud of this accomplishment! I think that  my love of science will help me achieve my goal of finding a cure for IBS, too. Wish me luck! If I succeed, nobody else will have to suffer from this illness again. It is terrible for children to have to live with something that has no really effective treatment, and no cure. Oh, I might also teach biology to high school students. I surely have had the best model in the world, my own biology teacher.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 
To learn more about IBS, stroll over to this page...
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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Created: March 16, 2002
Last updated, November 16, 2004