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Tess Smalley – Farmington High 2019

Mar 27, 2019

Success has always been something that I have strived for in my life. I’m a perfectionist, I want everything my way and quintessential. So, in eight-grade, when my ability to succeed was hindered it was really hard for me. During my second year of junior high I started to notice that I was having severe stomach pains regularly. When we finally went into my pediatrician, I told him all my signs and symptoms. The more I told him about what I was feeling, the more his face seemed to sink. I will never forget the tone of his voice, and the expression on his face when he told me that he thought I had a disease called Helicobactor pylori. We proceeded to do the blood work that was required to diagnose this, and sure enough the results came back positive. Helicobactor pylori, H-pylori for short, is a bacterium that resides in the stomach, creating ulcers and sores over time. Having this disease turned my life completely upside down and made it difficult for me to do anything. I had to learn to live with my sickness, and to keep fighting for what I wanted in life.
When I was first diagnosed with H-pylori in the eighth grade, I could barely get out of bed. I had to drop out of almost all my school classes. My grades, schooling, and friends have always been so important to me, so this was probably the biggest blow over the years for me. I remember my mom coming home one day and telling me what needed to happen, and I couldn’t help but sob. Missing school mad me sad. I continued to take my core classes at my school and took several online classes.
Ninth grade things were going uphill. I was able to have a full schedule again; however, my mom had to check me out, bring me medicine, or bring my heating pad almost every day. One of the blessing that I received this school year were my office aid periods. For two of my seven classes I got to be in the office to answer phone calls, help the office workers, and work on my homework. The ladies in the office had more love for me than I could even comprehend. I am so grateful for them. They were always there to make sure that I was feeling alright and that school was going well. Being an office aid made it so that-when I did miss classes-I was able to still get all my work done and ask my teachers for help. I still missed so much school ninth grade because of pain, but office aid was something that really helped me to cope and continue to work hard in all of my classes.
Tenth grade was the year that I was thrown into high school. I was honestly feeling worlds better. By this time the H-pylori was killed off and I was just dealing with the after math. I was able to go to all my classes and only had to miss once a week. Sophomore and Junior year gave me so much hope, I could see the light at the end of my tunnel! I was getting good grades and making friends. I was able to hide my pain and keep moving forward with my ailment.
Class of 2019. I started my senior year at a new high school and a good attitude. About a week into the school year my eighth-grade symptoms came back full force. I was down in bed again and hurting like crazy. Doctors then diagnosed me with post infectious irritable bowel syndrome. I felt hopeless. I had been sick for so long and now I had to deal with it all over again. It all felt so devastating to me. I didn’t want to be the one missing out. This year I’ve learned to fight. I’m not going to let a sick stomach tell me what I get to do. I take all my medications and follow a very strict diet to ensure that I don’t have completely miserable-flat in bed-days. I talk to my teachers daily, giving them updates on how I am feeling and asking them for help with work that I have missed. I am very blessed with good teachers who are working with me and who want me to succeed. I think that everyone should fight and push through for what is most important to them.


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