One to five Americans are affected with some type of disability according to the United States Census Bureau. Many of these are noticeable, such as Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. Others such as epilepsy, or diabetes, are far less noticeable, but make up a large majority of diseases affecting Americans.
These unseen diseases make life more challenging for those affected, and it is something that most do not know they are dealing with.
At LPHS, there are students and staff affected by these invisible disabilities.
Keeley Higley, a senior at LPHS, is a type 1 diabetic. She was diagnosed 6 years ago after an autoimmune disease over-worked her pancreas to the point of it shutting down. Without her pancreas functioning, her body stopped producing insulin correctly, so she began taking insulin by injections. Diabetes is a silent killer that can shut down your entire body if you eat one wrong thing. People with this disease must watch their blood-sugar levels and inject insulin when needed. If a person’s blood-sugar levels get too high they could go into diabetic ketoacidosis, and if their blood-sugar levels get too low they could go into a diabetic coma. This limits what many people can do including Higley.
“There are two types of diabetes, and Type 1- which is what I have- is entirely out of a person’s control. Not all diabetics are overweight. Not all diabetics have the disease as a result of poor dieting and exercising. Nothing I could have done would have prevented the disease. Yes, I’m diabetic, but I’m not obese, I’m not unhealthy, and I’m not a stereotype,” Higley, said.
Tabitha Mizia, a senior at LPHS was diagnosed with P.A.N.E.S. (Psychogenic, Adverse, Non-epileptic Seizures). This disorder causes her to have seizures when put under immense stress. Things like flashing lights, loud noises, and other distracting sounds, and lights can trigger Mizia to have a seizure. This limits many of the things a person with P.A.N.E.S. can do.
“I can’t do cheerleading anymore. I can’t drive without being worried of having a seizure. This disorder limits everything I can do. If I have a seizure, I can get my license taken away, so I have to get a new permit and wait a whole year to get a new license,” Mizia, said.
Multiple Sclerosis affects more than 400,000 Americans each year according to Healthline.com. At LPHS, Mrs. White, social studies teacher, is affected by this. Multiple Sclerosis is a disorder that causes a person’s body to eat away at the substance, called myelin, that protects the nerves. When this happens it exposes the nerves which can damage them and make them weak. Even with this disease White manages to stay positive 24/7, even if it is a bad day. White’s faith helps inspire to do things she can not and keep living.
“I will openly talk about my disease with my students. I think it is important to not let M.S. define me and I want people to be aware that life does not stop when you are diagnosed; however you approach your diagnosis is key. A positive attitude can go a long way,” White, said.
With any disorder, these LPHS students, and staff do their absolute best in our school and make our school great.