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Photo ofCarolina Rojo

I remember the moment I thought I was going to die. I was in sixth grade, and in class when I got a horrible pain in my stomach. It was the worst pain that I have ever felt. The only thing that I could think of was, what if my appendix ruptured? My sister had just gotten her appendix taken out recently, so I thought I had the same thing. I didn’t want to say anything because I thought I would be scolded. That day during school, I couldn’t focus, I kept dozing off, and I sat all through recess. My teacher and friends noticed something was wrong, and when they asked me, I kept denying it. When I got home, I did some homework and tried to go to sleep, thinking that I would feel better when I woke up. I couldn’t lie down, I was uncomfortable no matter which way I turned my body, or any sleep position I chose. I tried to get my mind off the pain so I started to paint my nails. My sister was cooking and the smell of the food made me want to throw up. My back started to hurt and I didn’t know what to do anymore, so I started to cry. My sister brought me some  food and was really concerned when she saw me. I didn’t want to tell her what was wrong with me. I was very afraid of hospitals then so I thought that she would tell my dad to take me. I stayed in my room for the rest of the night. When my mom got home, she went to look for me but I acted like I was asleep.  I slept for about twenty-five  minutes and woke up crying because I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to wake up my mom and told her to take me to the hospital. She saw the pain in my eyes, so she did not hesitate to grab the keys. It felt like forever until they called my name. I told the doctor  that I had a really bad stomach pain, I didn’t have an appetite, couldn’t drink anything, my back hurt, and I was nauseous. They put an IV in me so that I could stay hydrated. They ran all types of tests and they all came back normal except for one problem, an inflamed pancreas. The normal pancreas level is around 150 U/L and mine was at 3,500 U/L. After a week-long hospital stay, they finally let me leave because those levels had gone down. Even though they weren’t at the normal level, my pain subsided and I was now able to eat. I have had about 5 pancreatitis episodes in total, and I had to be hospitalized for all of them. Doctors still don’t know what causes me to get this pain but they know  it is chronic. However I noticed that I get this pain whenever I eat really greasy foods. Since then, I have learned to be more careful with what I eat and I learned how to adapt to it. This helped me learn how to take care of myself independently. I eat more home-cooked meals as well as more fruits and vegetables. I try to avoid drinking soda and juice, and eating comfort foods like candy and chips.

© Carolina Rojo. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.