I am affectionately known as a “frequent flyer,” a term of endearment for longtime patients like me. As a high school student, juggling a social life, school and friends is hard enough without my Crohn’s disease and diabetes adding to the load. But I and my fellow patients do not worry with self pity; instead we hope to be treated like any other teen. After all, there is much more to us than doctors’ appointments and blood work.
You know you are a frequent flyer when the hospital feels more like a home, and you see familiar faces wherever you go. Life as a frequent flyer has its ups and downs. On the bright side, you feel emotionally stronger than most, and have the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people, who you share a deep connection with. You feel like you’re a part of an extended family.
Of course, there is a darker side too. Many times you miss out on things at school or spending time with your friends because of treatments and tests. There are times when you feel as though you can’t make it through the day. But hope, compassion and love make it easier. The people at Children’s provide all of this from the moment you walk in. It’s like no other hospital. Having been a patient at other hospitals before, I can tell you that this place is amazing. From the nurses and doctors, to the volunteers and janitors, Children’s is full of people who care about kids and try their very best to make us feel as comfortable as possible.
Our outlook on life is different than what you might expect. Our lives are not over, nor are they in the dumps because of our illnesses. We try to live like any other teen, but we hope more, laugh more, and OK, maybe cry more, but who’s counting? We are specialists in dealing with hard times and pain, but we don’t surround ourselves in it; we overcome it. We are proud, hopeful, full of life, and whether you believe it or not, we are happy because we are still here. Through it all, we still shine. We tell our illnesses: “You will not break us or control us. We will overcome because we have faith, hope and spirit.”
Danisha Moore, 16, is a high school sophomore and a member of the hospital’s Kids' Advisory Board.
This article first appeared in the spring 2010 issue of Heroes magazine.