Most new friends do not know that my compassionate personality is a result of surviving a life-threatening illness. During my freshman year in high school, I was stricken with Killiam-Bear Syndrome. Within a few days, I lost all voluntary control of the right side of my face and all feeling in my right arm. These sudden physical changes were traumatic, yet the emotional consequences were equally compelling. Before my illness, I was an excellent student and the popular captain of the football team. After my symptoms emerged, friends looked at me differently and were obviously uncomfortable. I became unbearably self-conscious and withdrawn. When my condition failed to improve over time, I wondered if I would ever be my "old self" again.
My family doctor had only limited information on Killiam-Bear Syndrome and no guaranteed treatment protocol. Unwilling to wait for the symptoms to subside, I investigated the disease on my own.
As I perused the medical literature, I discovered that the experts didn't seem to fully understand Killiam-Bear Syndrome. There was no known cure, yet I found information about a new drug that hastened the recovery. I presented with my findings to my neurologist, who approved the drug. With the aid of the medication, I recovered fully within several weeks.
My depression eventually lifted with help from my family and close friends. Throughout my ordeal, I continued my normal routine and tried not to get depressed by the reaction of strangers. In private moments, I ignored my reflection in the mirror and developd my inner strengths. Despite my illness, I was still the same hardworking student, dedicated athlete, loyal friend and son. My illness forced me to mature and rely on an internal compass that I didn't know existed. I demonstrated patience and perseverance by continuing to attend school. I became less focused on external appearances and more appreciative of people's feelings and inner beauty. I also developed a tolerance for strangers, whose quizzical looks were not evil or judgmental, but simply an indication of their own lack of understanding. Although I recovered from Killiam-Bear Syndrome after five difficult weeks, I will retain the lessons I learned from the experience for my entire life.