Jul 22

Freshman 15

After spending another summer stuck home with nurses while my mom worked nights, I was ready for the start of my freshman year of high school. I was already 15 years old, but had no clue what to expect in high school. All my brothers struggled in high school and the only advice my mom gave me is “don’t tell anyone who your family is.” I was very immature for my age. Still hooked to oxygen, I required an aide at school with me. I sympathized with Chelsea Clinton at the time, growing up and how the secret service had to be with her. It’s hard enough to be a teenage girl in America and then add in the fact you have no privacy due to your medical condition.

One thing I was looking forward to about high school was one of my teachers that I had a huge crush on in middle school would be coming over to the high school. I was very disappointed when the school year started and found out that he ended up not taking the job. Instead, all the special education students had been assigned a teacher to keep track of them. This caused a lot of tension in the classrooms when we thought we would have more freedom we ended up with less. If we did poorly in any of our classes we got pulled and had to re-do our work with our special education teacher. I did not care much about the academic part of school; I was strictly there to see my friends.

The one class I did care about was gym class. I loved sports and it was a place I constantly had to prove myself. I had a few things going against me when it came to sports; I was barely four feet tall, sixty lbs., on oxygen, and was a girl. That did not stop me. The first teacher I had was an older man who would be retiring after that school year. Our first sport we would play was football. Great, my favorite sport was football!! Well this teacher wanted me to play somewhere that I would be out of the way and my oxygen tube would not tie or trip anyone up. I had other ideas. I played QB a little bit, but mostly WR. The very first day I caught a pass and took it to the house for a TOUCHDOWN. That was not the last TD I would score that year, but it was the first. I had a great knowledge of football and was not letting anything stop me. It was great in the next class to have that teacher come up to me and shake my hand and congratulate me for scoring.

High school, like middle school, was a huge adjustment for me. It was far from my favorite years of school. While some of my classmates partied, I was stuck at home watching Boy Meets World. This was before we had the World Wide Web and cell phones. Yes kids, we had to entertain ourselves in those days. I did so by being creative and writing magazines, writing and filming movies, doing voice over work and other creative ventures. It’s hard to find your place in society even if that society is a high school. Add on oxygen, tracheotomies, ventilators, and wheelchairs and that complicated things even more. My friends and I did however find our place in the pecking order it just took some time.


  1. DeeDee

    Another fun article to read…I love your writings…Keep sharing

  2. Jody

    Great blog Tanya. You write with great candor. Keep them coming.


  3. NickiS

    Boy, I had a hard time in highschool, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you. Keep encouraging and being all God created you to be! 🙂

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