Young Voices, We Are Listening
Day One, Act II: Generation Z Takes Ill
Flint Michigan: The Parents of school aged children, Generation Z to be exact, were told to have their kids tested for lead. When one family outside of Detroit tested their 5 year old child, the doctor called them in to discuss the results his levels revealed. The parents were frozen, but the diagnosis turned out to be more than they could digest. The normal level in a child’s system should be under 3. A level of 10 indicates lead poisoning which, causes permanent damage to a young body. Our Detroit family’s young son, tested a 21
Lead at these levels cannot be extracted, as it sinks into the bones and teeth and poisons them over a lifetime, for it drips into the blood. It has been 3 years since the Flint River catastrophe and now the damage is showing up in our young. But this time is was not the Boomers, but Generation X who must face blame. In a 2016 Federal election – with everything on the line – the apathetic voters turned control of our nation’s pollution levels back over to the Boomer Generation, where money rules all. In 2018, with the blessings of the US Department of Environmental Protection, Corporate America began dumping toxins into the public waters anew.
BB ∞ X ∞ Y ∞ Z
BB ∞ X ∞ Y ∞ Z
by Rebecca Lemke, Lahoma Oklahoma
“What’s on your mind?”
I have been sick for a long time. Maybe forever. And I didn’t even know until I started getting better.
“Why is your generation so sick?” They ask, “I didn’t know anyone with food allergies, autoimmune disorders, or genetic problems when I was young.”
I wish I knew.
All I know is that, at eleven or twelve, I came down with a virus. And it never really went away. I spent three or four months with a fever, and from then on, my temperature was always low. Even to this day. That’s to say nothing of the joint and nerve pain the illness gifted me with for close to a decade.
Then came the food allergies. I distinctly remember the day hives covered my entire body and I lost the ability to swallow. I remember the needle that was shoved into my skin in an effort to keep me breathing until we reached the hospital half an hour away. And the fear of not knowing what it was that I had eaten that tried to kill me.
After that, it was the ovarian cysts. They ruptured and filled my abdomen with blood almost every single month. I recall the vertigo they bestowed upon me and the stiff neck. Plus the antibiotics I was to take to make sure nothing got infected after the gruesome ordeal, which caused a fungal overgrowth in my intestines.
Constant fatigue began to set in. Were seventeen-year-olds supposed to be this tired? Were my nerves supposed to feel like fire ants were biting me at all times? Why did I hurt so much? Why could I not breathe?
More tests. More diagnoses. Asthma for sure. Maybe fibromyalgia. And what about lupus? Nope, at least that test was clear.
I got pregnant. The doctor’s had told me it was impossible. My little miracle baby and I faced more acronyms and blood draws than I thought humanly possible.
Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Wasn’t that rare? Just my luck.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Yeah, what Kate Middleton had that put her in the hospital.
Kidney stones. Because why the heck not?
Threatened Pre-term labor.
Finally, he was here. Things were okay.
I still had high blood pressure despite having delivered. I started vomiting blood. I still felt like I was on death’s doorstep.
The last three years, including my time during A Star is Born, I have battled against my body.
Against the fatigue, the joint pain, the nerve pain, the bone pain, the vertigo, the nausea, the vomiting, the tinnitus, the loss of hair, the painful throat, the lack of ability to breathe, the hives, the kidney stones, the headaches, the insomnia, the anxiety, the depression, and a variety of other issues I don’t care to recall.
But what could the doctors do? I had seen so many. Given them so much of my blood. So much hope.
I tried one more doctor. She was different.
She saw my anxiety as a symptom, not the cause of all the other symptoms. She thought outside the box about what would help me rather than what would make her rich. No more unnecessary scripts.
She finally found what everyone else couldn’t.
Not only was my body trying to kill a part of itself, but it was being egged on by allergies and out of control inflammation.
So we went back to the start. To the DNA.
And now? Now I know. Now I know that my DNA is mutated. That all of these mysterious problems have a few basic, yet complex roots.
I’ll never be completely fixed, but I will get better. I’m working with my DNA instead of letting it be a tether.
My husband said the hardest part for my mind would be going from sickness to health. He was right. Now I know what I have been missing all this time. But I can’t dwell on that.
I won’t give anything else to medical madness.
Instead, I am looking to the rest of my story. And my Savior in His crowning glory.
Because even with the medicines, someday this body will die.
But that’s okay because His story didn’t end there, and neither does mine.
this is… The Neighborhood
created by Kendall F. Person