Jessica achieves the impossible

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17 November 2017

By Jessica Cassar
Year 12, Thomas Carr College, Tarneit
 Image 1 - Jessica undergoing treatment. Image 2 - Jessica sat in her wheelchair. Image 3 - Jessica stood up at school.


If someone told me 12 months ago that I was going to be completing VCE and graduating I would not believe them.

To live with a rare auto immune disease that affects my legs and my overall mobility and spending many months in a wheelchair with doctors having no clue what was wrong with me was the biggest blow any individual would take. VCE, as expected, was going to be stressful and I experienced anxiety and depression. It was very hard going to school and trying to focus, but when I did I felt like I could forget everything that was both hard and frightful in my personal life, especially with my health.

It’s one thing to have a medical condition and balance it with your life, but it is another thing to balance that medical condition with your schooling. In 2016 my school attendance dropped because of my condition and my anxiety; I was only at school for 20 minutes one day because I had my first panic attack from the anxiety. To keep up with classes was a struggle because I was never at school. To be able to hang with friends and do stuff kids my age would do was hard. I felt like I was becoming a burden on my family, the stress was very overwhelming. I barley smiled during that year.

Fast-forward to 2017 and I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition called Lambert Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome. Even though I was on the fast track to improving my health (and even started to learn to walk again) there was still one thing I needed to conquer; school.

I gave myself the goal that I wanted to walk at my graduation. That goal meant I would be at school from 7:45am to 4:15pm every day. It meant sitting in hospital with a small tube in my right arm for eight hours while writing essays or answering questions. It also meant coming to school in a wheelchair. It was hard, but giving up was not an option for me. No matter how fatigued I became or how hard some days were for my legs to keep going, I knew I could do it. I knew that my amazing support system could only support me so much. They got me halfway, but I had to get the rest of the way myself.

Is living with a medical condition something everyone wants to live with for the rest of their life? No. Does it make VCE more challenging when living with a constant battle? Yes, it does. But it is what it is, and you can’t change what you have no control over. You can live and learn from it and know that all the hard work you put in will be worth every challenge you have faced.

I know that when I graduate in a few weeks it will be worth it. It’s one thing to achieve goals, but it’s another thing to achieve what you thought was impossible.