Appreciating life & everything you have

Post by Mesa Mendoza for the Kind Kindred series.

print by Lori Portka on etsy

Appreciating life and everything you have

Being a 16 year old girl in high school is hard for every girl, but being a 16 year old girl in a wheel chair, after 16 years walking made it the most difficult experience I ever faced. I had always been very active and almost always on my feet, so when my hands began to shake I figured I was just overworking myself, after a few days the shaking didn’t go away and I was starting to become worried, I went to the hospital where I waited 6 hours for some aspirin and a prescription to take it easy. I went home frustrated, my right hand was shaking most and it got in the way of writing, not being able to write made things even more frustrating. Another week or two went by, my legs had begun to hurt but there wasn’t much anyone could do for me.

One morning I awoke to the worst feeling (or lack of) ever. I began to yell for my mom and when she came into my room I told her I couldn’t feel my legs, she brushed it off, thinking I was becoming creative with reasons not to go to school. When I told her I wasn’t kidding we went to the hospital.

Being at the hospital is never fun, but being there when you can’t feel a very vital part of your body is unbearable. When I was finally with a doctor they poked and prodded at my legs and feet. “Can you feel that?”


“How about that?”


After a few tests, and more long hours of waiting the doctors sent me to Children’s Hospital. They kept me for a few days and took more tests and tried physical therapy. Nothing was working, and no one was giving my mom and I any answers. It was the worst few days I ever faced, and when they told me they had no clue what was wrong with me they sent me home devastated and wheelchair bound.

I didn’t know what to do, was this going to be forever? Was I ever going to walk again? When was the last time I ran? So many things went through my head, it was over whelming. I went home, and a few days later I had to endure my first day back to school.

“What happened?”

“Are you okay?”

“Oh my God!”

“Why are you in a wheelchair?”

Most of the comments I heard like this were from complete strangers, I was suddenly the center of attention and I hated it. These people didn’t care about my well-being, they only wanted to know the latest gossip. It infuriated me and drove me to become a better person, who cares if I was in a wheel chair, I’m still the same awesome person I’d always been.

The weeks that followed were filled with concerned looks and whispers, but I learned to ignore it. I knew it would only hurt me to let their words and fake sympathy get the better of me. Of course I had my true friends who helped me through the hard time, and I will be forever grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.

That’s me, I just turned 18 last week and I’m walking. I was in a wheel chair for a little over a month, while that’s nothing for people who have to spend their whole life in a chair it felt like forever to me. No one knows why I stopped or started walking again, only God knows and that’s fine with me. While this may not seem like much, this was my own battle, I still struggle every day.

Going through something like this really taught me to appreciate life and everything I have. I appreciate the ability to walk, to breathe, to laugh. Losing something so important to me made me so much better in the end. I love everything more, including myself. I’m lucky to be here and to have everything I have. I always feel the need to move my legs; I guess that’s normal, I spend a lot of time on my bike just riding without a care in the world, appreciating every move and all the beauty around me.

Everyone goes through their own personal battle, and the way you use it to better yourself is all up to you, but just know you’re never alone, there is always someone waiting to listen to you.

Mesa Mendoza is a senior at Nathan Hale High school in West Allis, Wisconsin. She hopes to start college next fall and pursue her career as a writer. You can find more information about Mesa here or follow her on twitter @DerangedTeen


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