to my page on the web. I hope you'll be happy that you came to visit it.
My name is Litaya, and I'll be 15-years-old in September (that was two years ago when I wrote this, in 2002). I love to laugh,
and I do all sorts of silly things to make my friends laugh, too. People
tell my that I'm outspoken, and I guess they're right. I have tons of friends,
and it's easy for me to meet people. That's a gift.
I have a 6-year-old sister, Natalya, who wants to be just like me. For instance, she wants the same sneakers I have. She can be pretty annoying. I stay with her for an hour after school every day, until my mom gets home from work, and I really don't mind that at all. My brother AJ is four, and he is so hyper...he loves to swing from his bunk bed! He makes a lot of noise, too, but since he goes to my grandmother's house on the other side of town during the day, I don't have to put up with it that much. I have another brother, too, Tarell. He is 12-years-old, and we fight all the time...I do not like it when he goes through my stuff. Actually, I know that all three of them really care about me. When I felt terrible at home, Tarell helped me a lot. And then when I went to the hospital, they told me that they missed me and that they wanted me to be happy.
Are you wondering why I went into the hospital? I think my medical story began in the summer, but it wasn't until the end of December that my body started to swell up. Pretty soon I was feeling just awful--hot, weak, nauseous, and throwing up all night long. When I went to the doctor, he told me that I was just getting over a virus. That was not the right answer to my problem, since my back was getting more and more swollen, and my stomach was getting so big that kids thought I was pregnant. Definitely NOT a virus. Get this...everyone thought that I was either 3 months or 6 months pregnant. When I told them it was water, they'd say, "yeah, right!"Annoying! Most of the time I wasn't teased, which IS good, because teasing can be terrible.
I have gone back and forth to the Emergency Department, FIVE TIMES since December! They would give me medicine to take the fluids off, but I would get swollen up again soon after I returned home. My feet were swollen too, and I could no longer fit into any of my clothes...or shoes.
Even now my knees feel weird, but not as strange as they did before I went into the hospital. My mother finally got so tired of all of the Emergency Room visits that she told them I needed to stay, and so that's just what I did. In fact, I told this story when I was in the hospital, but I plan to write some more when I feel up to it, now that I'm home, since I have a lot to tell you.
When I was still at school, I got really dizzy one day and fell down (I guess I was dehydrated). The security guard at school told the kids that I could die from this (not too encouraging!). My science teacher was really nice about it, but my English teacher couldn't understand that when I was late for class, it was because I just couldn't walk fast. She would blame me. One teacher was really cool, and let the whole class in on what was happening. Of course, she asked if it was OK with me first, and of course, it was.
Doctors scare me...they give me entirely too much information. I wish that they would not feel the need to list all the horrible things that COULD happen to me, and would stick to what WAS happening. I had so many questions for them, about why the water wasn't going where it was supposed to when I drank it, and what I could drink once the fluid in my body actually did go away, and a million other things. It helped me to write down all of my questions. If I had not done that, I know I'd be more worried about things now.
When I was in the hospital, feeling terrible and looking like someone blew me up, I used my mind to relax. I would pretend that I was lying down in a hotel room in a very comfortable bed with the sun streaming down on my face. Did it ever feel great!
Well, that's all for now. I hope that you'll tell your friends to read my story, since I believe that people would be more understanding of kids growing up with problems like mine. Oh, it's called 'nephrotic syndrome', and maybe when I finish school and work in the medical field, I'll discover a cure! You can read more about if you'd like to...just click away on the link below. Thanks for visiting! Litaya
Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, Bronx 10468
Bronx, New York 10468
Last updated: November 16, 2004