by John Hawkins | July 12, 2002 6:28 pm
Here’s An Example For You: I’ve never liked whiners and complainers who want to tell you how tough they’ve had it and why it’s not their fault that they failed. Your life is your responsibility and if you make a mess out of it the only person responsible is the person you look at when you’re brushing your teeth in the morning. If you think you’ve had it tough, think about how tough Christina Santhouse has had it. Who’s Christina Santhouse you ask?
“Doctors diagnosed Christina with Rasmussen’s encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease, usually found in children, in which the body attacks the brain, killing off cells. There are fewer than 1,000 cases in the United States.
…Christina’s seizures were getting worse, and she was sometimes having up to 150 of them a day, enduring spasms that shook her body from head to toe, and sometimes forced her to throw up. Her family knew that the almost certain future was having Christina in a wheelchair, and mentally retarded.
…Treating the seizures sounded worse than the disease. Doctors said she would have to get a hemispherectomy, a procedure in which the diseased half of the brain is surgically removed. In short, Christina would be left with half a brain.”
So here’s this young girl. She’s terribly sick, having 150 seizures a day and the only treatment that holds any promise is cutting out half of her brain. Can you imagine the terror she must have felt? How would you feel if you were a sick and weak kid and the doctors wanted to crack your skull open, scoop out half of your brain, and put you back together again? But Christina and her mom sucked it up and went through with it. How tough was it after the operation was over?
“After the operation, Christina’s left hand would become only a “helper hand,” she’d have a limp on her left leg, and no peripheral vision on that side. So prior to the operation, her mother — who is a teacher — tried to prepare her daughter for the loss of some of the functioning on her left side.
Santhouse-Catarro wrapped the left part of her daughter’s body so that she could not use it much, and had her practice putting on socks, and cutting sandwiches with one hand. They would have races to see who could get dressed fastest with one hand. Still, the abstract was nothing like the reality.”
Now how is the kid doing today? She has a 94.7 GPA and “(n)ow she is going into her sophomore year of high school, is on the varsity bowling league, and took four academic honors at the end of last year.” If this kid can take an illness and a “cure” that traumatic and can outperform 98% of the kids of her age, what excuse does anyone else have not to succeed?
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