One thing I have realized on my journey with FA is that I need my friends. I have to find the friends that will help and support me (sometimes literally!). This summer, I went on a beach trip with my friends. I found myself not being able to get past the waves without falling down, and when I fell down, I couldn't get back up. This frustrated me so much because I knew that I could get past the waves the year before. That is one of the most infuriating things about FA - not being able to do things you used to be able to do. I was sad for most of the first day because all of my friends were in the water, and I wasn't. Despite all of this, we found a solution. My friends would put me in an inner tube and walk me into the water. It took all five of the girls to get us past the waves. They grabbed me under my arms, one stood behind me, and one would watch to see when the next wave was going to break. Seems like a lot of trouble to get 10 feet into the water, doesn't it? Once we got into the still waters, my friends would take turns holding onto my tube making sure that I stayed with them and that no waves would take me away. When we were on land, they would toss me back and forth and would make sure that I always had an arm to hold on to. After that trip, I realized that I am going to need friends to help me. Whether it be down the stairs or across campus, I am going to need them. I also found myself having trouble asking for help. I didn't want to call attention to myself or bother anyone. I still have a little trouble with this, but I am learning to ask for help when I need it.
This year, my classes are a little spread apart, so one of my friends sat with me and drew out the campus. We marked where all my classes were, who was in them, and how much time we had to get from class to class. We made a plan to see who would be there to help me get across campus. Throughout the day, I hold on to backpacks and walls and arms to get through campus without falling. I joke with one of my friends that she has a built in reflex to catch me. When she sees me trip or fall forward, she just throws out an arm so I don't fall. We call it her "Kate reflex." School is hard to navigate, but I am so happy that I have friends to help me.
At my church, the girls in my grade meet once a week for small group. Our youth leader did a sermon, and she talked about my diagnosis and a devotion that I did in small group. Long story short, we all ended up crying. My small group came and sat with me, and we all prayed and cried and laughed. I am so grateful to have great friends that are on this journey with me, and I am lucky to have found friends that are willing to help me.