When Your Teen Daughter Becomes Ill

China’s eagerness to attend school was overwhelming; she was excited about becoming a senior. Despite her illness, my daughter met her class assignments. The pain pierced deeper when her hair started shedding. As each strand thinned and faded away, I convinced China to wear a wig. Each morning as I combed her wig, it took a lot of strength to hold my tears back. Watching the tears running down her cheeks broke my heart.

The first two weeks of school went well. China would come home happy from being with her classmates. But it didn’t last long! When the call came in that day, I could barely understand her through her sobs and whimpers. “Mommy, I left school. I ain’t going back, either.”

This was something Peaches and I feared would happen one day. So I called Peaches to meet us at home and left in a panic. Rushing home, there were many thoughts drifting through my mind.

Where would we go from here? What happened to provoke her actions? Hadn’t China suffered enough? What injustice had the school put on her?

Anger Over Unjust Treatment

By now, the whites of my eyes were bulging. The closer I got to home, the more fearful I became.

Both of us arrived around the same time. We’d barely entered the kitchen when we saw China bawling her eyes out. Through her sobs and anger, we found out that China had left because of cruel and unjust treatment from her peers. She’d always been gullible and naïve, and she yearned for acceptance.

At the lunch table in the cafeteria, several of her classmates had gotten up and left. They all moved to another table, and their actions crushed her. It was Sheila who told her why. Rumors had spread that she was suffering from AIDS, leukemia, herpes, or some other hideous toxic disease. This news was shocking and sent her into an isolated state. It broke her little heart. No matter how I fixed her wig to make it look natural, it only gave the impression that she was contagiously diseased.

Courage Amid Cruelty

So I spent the next two hours explaining how cruel society could be, especially her generation. When ending, this is what I said: “Understanding one’s illness begins with parental upbringing. We parents do not have answers for those who have been chosen to endure such a horrifying fate.

Yet, those who suffer, God has chosen for reasons unbeknownst to any human—you are a special one. Through Him, you’re blessed with the inheritance of courage and strength to help conquer your battles. We don’t know why people do what they do—we only know it’s done. So you must use your inheritance to do His will.”

My words of wisdom sunk into her heart and mind. Understanding surfaced on her face as she nodded up and down with a smile. We managed to convince China to return to school. Her school days weren’t happy ones, but Sheila was always there to lift her spirits. Although China found her school unpleasant, she dreaded Fridays even more.

For us, Fridays meant treatment days. According to her, the treatments felt like her stomach lining was being ripped apart. Obviously, she started experiencing many of the side effects: nausea and vomiting, fatigue, dry skin, and appetite loss. Her healthy tissues were now toxic body parts.

Excerpted from Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matter: Norstrom, Nina: 9781939371478: Amazon.com: Books

For more about Nina, visit www.ninanorstrom.com.


Nina Norstrom

Nina Norstrom is the author of Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints That Matter ─ A Journey Through Toxic Relationships. This author grew up in a small suburban town outside Chicago, Illinois. She received her bachelor’s degree from Concordia University. She has an extensive work history in the public sector, in the field of management. Additionally, she taught in the school system. She started journal writing to help find solace. The book, Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter, ─ A Journey Through Toxic Relationships, is a representation of her growth and signifies a milestone in her recovery from toxic relationships, to the transition of non-toxicity. She is a passionate champion for many noteworthy causes, including those battling toxic relationships. In her quest to reach out, it's through her role in volunteering and being a participant in various walk-a-thons that she demonstrates a passion in giving. When not reading or writing, Nina can be found mountain climbing, taking long walks in a park or alongside a beach, sitting at a concert, supporting an author at a book event, traveling, and jumping in to exert her energy by doing volunteer work at a variety of venues. You can connect with Nina on her website www.ninanorstrom.com

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