Dear Sarah Dessen,
In third grade I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. This is basically a hereditary disease of connective tissue, characterized by joint hypermobility and abnormally stretchable skin. There are no tests that confirm this diagnosis, but they thought that maybe I had the hypermobility type of Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Before this, I had pain in my joints that my parents and I just thought of as minor leg cramps. I didn't think much of this diagnosis when I was little, but when I started getting older it became (and still is) a pain, especially when trying to keep track of all the new and old medication, what's worked and what hasn't, and so on. I began only to look at the negative, to think people don't even know how hard this is, they don't have to deal with this. Who am I to care what they feel when they don't even think how I do! Although I would NEVER say these things in person or act like these words were my own, I still had trouble keeping them from my mind.
A few weeks ago, I read your book, The Truth About Forever. I loved the connection between Macy and the Wish team and how her life pieced together after meeting them like a puzzle piece after being shattered across a long dining table. I understand what it must have felt like for her after getting the unexpected news. The part I personally connected with though, is her feeling of seeing all of those sideways glances and hearing those mocking words, you poor thing. Even when, obviously they had no idea how she felt, they weren't even close! It was like she was standing trapped two feet away from the sun, they were in a calm comfortable environment sitting on their leather couch watching a comedy on their television. They would glance up at her and tilt their head sideways and say, you poor thing.
My situation, though, was not at all as dramatic as Macy's. I had a few sorrys and believe it or not I was happy when I heard those words in the beginning. The thing that bugged me was the complaining. When others would get a little cramp or scratch, when they were not even bleeding(!), they would complain to me. I wanted to scream into their face and tell them that they had no idea what pain felt like, no idea how I felt! Instead I would back off and help them. I am in seventh grade and have been doing well! I don't mind much anymore but it still is a big pet peeve of mine.
After reading your book I felt better, a lot better actually! I started to think about it and to realize that there are people out there in more pain than me! I am a selfish person!, I thought. I have noticed that I am not the only one suffering or in trouble before I read your book, and have put a lot of thought into it! I have helped others in many ways. Such as raising money and supplies (like toys, books, school supplies) for people in need. I want to make a difference in this world! I tried to ignore my pain and selfishness for as long as possible, but it kept coming back. Your book has helped me with that! I would like to thank you for this feeling you have given me.