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The Inconvenient Youth: On Being Young and Chronically Ill


mary caroline

Getting sick when you’re young is unexpected. It certainly came as a surprise to me. But I got used to it, I had to. It’s been years so I’ve adjusted.

The rest of the world, I realize, is not prepared for a young sick person.

Using a cane made my so-called “invisible illnesses” visible, and this changed everything. It’s still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. So many things became accessible again all because of a mobility aid. But there are always pros and cons, and using a mobility aid is no exception to this rule.

It didn’t take me long to get used to people staring.  My first summer using a cane my aunt Sharon asked, “Is this really what people are like?” and I hadn’t even noticed that day. To me it didn’t seem that bad.

After all, staring is a small offense on the spectrum of daily…

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