Chronic Illness Personal Statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Chronic Illness Personal Statement

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:14 pm

Any recommendations?

The first piece of advice I have for those with a chronic illness is to get your facts straight. Learn how to talk about your condition using the correct terms. Remember the history of your condition, and don’t lose track of your medical information. Do your research and don’t listen to conjecture from friendly faces without medical degrees. Trust your body – it isn’t any happier about your illness than you are.

My body has Crohn’s Disease. Crohn's is an autoimmune disorder - the affected body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, and can cause inflamed portions, scarring, bloating. This, in turn, can cause weight loss, vitamin deficiencies and anemia, can stunt growth, and often lead to anxiety and depression. My first step towards remission was surgery, an intestinal anastomosis, the resectioning of two parts of my bowel in order to remove scar tissue and inflammation. At that time, the spring of 2008, I was recovering from more than a couple years of heavy symptoms, I had begun a chemotherapeutic treatment (which has continued to this day), and I was heavily underweight and fatigued.

The second piece of advice I have for those with a chronic illness is to learn how to laugh at yourself – it makes the hard questions easy and the easy questions easier. People ask about my thinness (less common than the statement of fact “You’re too skinny!”), why every rib in my torso shows, why I’ve used all my annual sick days by June. Your condition cultivates these questions, and you learn that simple explanations and smiles are easier on everyone’s soul than temper and frustration. My illness has helped me develop compassion for myself and for others – I habitually remember my mother’s advice, “Everybody has something.”

The harder questions are the ones you ask myself: “When will it come back?” “Will I pass it on to my children?” “Why do I have to look like this?” Again, you are required to get your facts straight, and to learn that even the most solemn reflection on one’s own chronic illness is less useful than the ability to talk it out and laugh. I joke about my weak body, about adopting kids, I joke about Crohn’s. I act as though my remission will never end because I’ve never been given any reason to believe that it will.

The third piece of advice I have for those with a chronic illness is to push yourself to succeed, and expect the same accountability from others. My mother, father, and my goals will not allow illness to hold me back. Despite my surgery and recovery, I finished highschool with an International Baccalaureate Certification. Despite my fatigue, I moved across the country from Baltimore to New Orleans to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree, and upon graduation, moved again to for opportunities to work in the field of law in Washington D.C. and New York. I have little anxiety about reentering academia; whatever law school holds, I know I’ve got the guts.

cavalier1138

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Re: Chronic Illness Personal Statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:18 pm

I like the overall theme, but I really dislike the "piece of advice" conceit. It seems totally unnecessary and makes it extremely impersonal, even though you're clearly being very vulnerable and open with this piece. Cut the "advice" shtick, and stick to explaining how you've adapted and thrived while dealing with this condition.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324743
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Chronic Illness Personal Statement

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:39 pm

Thank you! Edited to remove the advice shtick -

While living with a chronic illness, you master the importance of getting your facts straight. Learn how to talk about your condition using the correct terms. Remember the history of your condition, and don’t lose track of your medical information. Do your research and don’t listen to conjecture from friendly faces without medical degrees. Trust your body – it isn’t any happier about your illness than you are.

My body has Crohn’s Disease. Crohn's is an autoimmune disorder - the affected body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, and can cause inflamed portions, scarring, bloating. This, in turn, can cause weight loss, vitamin deficiencies and anemia, can stunt growth, and often lead to anxiety and depression. My first step towards remission was surgery, an intestinal anastomosis, the resectioning of two parts of my bowel in order to remove scar tissue and inflammation. At that time, the spring of 2008, I was recovering from more than a couple years of heavy symptoms, I had begun a chemotherapeutic treatment (which has continued to this day), and I was heavily underweight and fatigued.

Another lesson you received while living with chronic illness is to learn how to laugh at yourself – it makes the hard questions easy and the easy questions easier. People ask about my thinness (less common than the statement of fact “You’re too skinny!”), why every rib in my torso shows, why I’ve used all my annual sick days by June. Your condition cultivates these questions, and you learn that simple explanations and smiles are easier on everyone’s soul than temper and frustration. My illness has helped me develop compassion for myself and for challenges both social and medical that others face in their own lives– I habitually remember my mother’s advice, “Everybody has something.”

The harder questions are the ones you ask yourself: “When will it come back?” “Will I pass it on to my children?” “Why do I have to look like this?” Again, you are required to get your facts straight, and to learn that even the most solemn reflection on one’s own chronic illness is less useful than the ability to talk it out and laugh. I joke about my weak body, about adopting kids, I joke about Crohn’s. I act as though my remission will never end because I’ve never been given any reason to believe that it will.

Finally, while living with a chronic illness, it is important to push yourself to succeed and to expect the same accountability from others. My mother, father, and my goals will not allow illness to hold me back. Living with Crohn’s has, at times, felt like a war between my body and my ambition. Despite my surgery and recovery, I finished high-school with an International Baccalaureate Certification. Despite my fatigue, I moved across the country from Baltimore to New Orleans to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree, and upon graduation, moved again to for opportunities to work in the field of law in Washington D.C. and New York. I have little anxiety about reentering academia; whatever law school holds, I know I’ve got the guts.



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