Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Slipping Difference.

I was in the E.R. tonight.
Ruptured Cyst. My first ever. My goodness did it hurt!
I would rather repeat the 18 hours of labor I experienced with my son than that cyst. Needless to say amongst all the test was a flu test.
I laughed.
"No, I don't have the flu." I proclaimed as they shoved that medical q-tip up my nose the full inch dead into my nasal cavity.
The result. Positive.
I have the flu. For the third time this year. I really do think this is a record.
Then a conversation with my mother made something click in my head. The conversation was about pain and the fact that the longer you live with pain the lower your tolerance is.

It's true.

I just noticed.

The so many changes that I've silently done.

I loved wearing all my high heels, but for months now it's been flats.

More days than not I opt for the comfy clothes rather than my business causal.

I take sick days now. I learned to say "It will have to wait till tomorrow."

I've gone slowly from healthy with sick days to sick with good days. 

Each day as I walk to class all the people who ride the bus with me seem to pass me. I kept telling myself that it's because they're in a hurry and I'm not. But the reality it loud and clear when I notice the one person who is always keeping pace with me; an older gentle man with a bad knee and a cane.
No. I am not taking my time. I am moving at the steady pace of pain.

I stopped walking the stairs at school. With a freshly healed broken hand from a fall on my own at home. I'm more aware now that my zealous adherence to the "A body in motion stays in motion" mantra while good in some areas is dangerous in others. I take the elevator.

Once when I was walking out the doors an acquaintance of mine made a comment about how she hated the fact that perfectly able bodied students where using the handicap buttons to open doors. "Hey," I said, "You never know if they're suffering, not all illnesses can be seen." I'll admit, her words stung because I recognized my use of them. Sometimes, they're just to heavy. 

But it's reality for me. The slipping difference between who I was and who I have to be.

I don't know how to feel about this. Most days, I know I am in denial. Some days I learn to embrace it. All the other time is just voids filled with a mental war between the denial and reality.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My five strong wall.

I have five very inspirational people in my life. Two are no longer here with me today, but still their actions live on in me. 

The first and foremost would be my mother, who stood strong when adversity faced her. A single mom at the age of 31 back when being a single mom was not common, she managed to not only get her G.E.D but as of today holds her M.S. Degree in Nursing and Education. However this is not what makes her strong, this to her is just expected to be as it is. What makes her strong is her children, a boy with Asperger's Syndrome to late diagnosed and a girl with Bi-polar Schizoaffective disorder diagnosed early when there was little information on it and SLE later on in life. Though she wasn't perfect, though the end result wasn't perfect, she stood strong and pushed through all the social barriers trying to make sure her children were happy, healthy, and successful. We were for the most part, late bloomers on the successful end as we're both currently pushing through college. The fact that my brother and I have what resembles semi functional lives without the aid of any specialist is kind of amazing, it even amazed my psych doctor when I did go for three months last year. If anyone was the main first supporter of invisible illness in my life it was my mother, before I ever even knew myself to be ill.

My mother is my wall of strength when I am weak. 


The next person in my life was no less as strong as my mother; My Granda. This is the man who I looked up to an thought "this is what a man is". No he wasn't a big ball of loveable fun and silliness, however he was a man who set an example. He donated over 8 gallons of blood to the Red Cross in his life time. He turned an itty bitty 1 bedroom farm house of 500sq ft. into a flourishing four bedroom 2.5 bath house of 2,200sq ft. by himself while raising four kids and in the military. He served in the Navy for 50 years of his life and traveled the world during that time. Even growing up with segregation and it was all he knew most of his life, he still lived by the motto of "You don't judge a person based on their looks, you have to look deeper and judge them on the character of their soul". When the doctor told him to stop smoking or he'd have only five more years of life, he did everything in his power; even went with acupuncture and hypnotism skeptically complaining about it the whole time. He did manage to quit within six months of being told, he died a year later from emphysema. A month before he died he was made the Grand Master after the end of his term as Right Worshipful Master of his Masonic Lodge. It was one of the few times I saw him cry and they even allowed the families to attend the appointing which was rare.

My granda is my guiding light when all seems dark.

The last family member who has been inspirational in my life, really doesn't seem all that inspirational. She died four years after my granda, and she was my gran. I was never particularly close with my gran, as I was always following the heels of my granda growing up, but still she was there. She taught me that family service was not to be looked down on. Her entire life was devoted to her family. She raised a daughter with Schizophrenia when mental hospitals where considered the only choice. She raised a daughter who was deaf until the age of six and considered mentally retarded, my mother. Most people thought she herself was crazy because of it, but she was determined to make sure all her children grew up normal. They all went to school, they all worked on the farm. She even found time to pursue her hobby as a painter, and made sure every last child of hers knew music and knew art. My uncle is a baker, he loves to make baked goods and every year at Christmas we always looked forward to his tin cans filled with our favorite goodies. My eldest aunt is a pottery maker, even had her own kiln. My schizophrenic aunt is a craft maker, give her tooth picks and she'll make you an ornament that you couldn't even tell was tooth picks. My mother is the knitter, cross stick, crochet, you name it. After granda died, she felt it was time to leave and gave up on life. Her four kids where all happy and settled, successful in their own areas of life, even my aunt who's a real estate agent though she never really leaves her house. She even saw the birth of three grandchildren before her death. It was a slow death, she wasted away for four years and was bedridden by the last. I was her caretaker for that year, and the first one to learn she had passed away. She was always talking to granda those last two days. Our family always says that's how you know when someone's going to pass, cause a family member comes to get them.

My gran is my wisdom and my way of life when I feel lost.


The other two inspirational people are my not so close friends. We don't hang out all the time, we're not always talking, but they are inspirational to me because we are in the same boat. One is a sister of a friend, she suffers from Multiple Sclerosis she is a mother of three and works hard. She's always up for a fun night or or a lazy night in watching movies. Her favorite spot is sitting by the pool and even when she's sick, she makes it look good. The other is a lady I met in college, she suffers from Fibromyalgia. She took works hard as a manager of a fast food restaurant, while attending college full time, and she is super involved in her church. These two ladies had their diagnosis well before I even knew what Lupus was, matter of fact my college buddy was the one who really taught me the most about it since I met her right as I was diagnosed. These two ladies show me on a daily basis that we may have the illness, but it sure doesn't have us.

My friends are my comfort in knowing that the fight is worth fighting, even when it doesn't feel like I can.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I keep thinking "Maybe today..."

Maybe today...

...I'll ask the young college girl talking to her friend about the 3mile marathon at her sisters school fundraiser sitting on the city bus if I could have her seat. I don't though, I stand through the jolts and turns baring my weight trying not to cry out in pain as the bus comes to a sudden halt. My ankles screaming at me in pain. I had to wear my flats today due to the swelling in my feet. I feel odd asking, I don't look sick in anyway. I look fat and lazy.

Maybe today... 

...I'll go to the bus station and get a handicap badge, but I haven't yet. Handicap, it's such a horrible word. It means I'm not normal, not capable of being like everyone else even though I look like them.

Maybe today... 

...I'll petition the apartment complex to put in handicap parking in front of our building so I don't have to carry those grocery bags from two buildings over. There it is again the word handicap, the signaling out that something is "wrong" with me. How do I explain that though I look this way on the outside, on the inside I'm decaying slowly. Eaten alive by inflammation and a slow deterioration of my joints.

Maybe today... 

...I'll speak up at the pool as the people move our stuff from our table so they can have the shaded porch area for their family barbeque. I haven't yet, instead I've just stopped going. It doesn't seem worth arguing over.

Maybe today... 

...I will take the elevator up to my class instead of walking the flight of stairs to the 2nd floor. I know that I won't however. I look at those stairs; simple things really, 30 in all. To take the elevator would be to admit defeat to the pain.

I look at my high heels, my pretty dresses, my scarfs, and I sigh. Maybe I'll wear them today, but I can't find the motivation. 

Maybe today... 

...I'll tell my son to help mommy a little more, but I won't. To feel like I'm a burden is in essence to fall into despair.

Maybe today... 

...I'll accept my doctors advice and not downplay my symptoms. But not right now, because today is someday in the future.

Maybe today...

... I'll learn to accept that I am ill. Still, how do I accept that I am ill when the mirror and the world see otherwise.

My SLE story

I'm 26 years old with one child and a loving husband.Two years ago my symptoms of illness got bad enough for me to go see my PCP (Primary Care Practitioner). The symptoms where new; I couldn't eat, or hold down food.

All my life I had issues. I was my mother's sick child. The one always in the hospital or going to the doctor for one reason or another. The answers were always the same "She's a kid, probably sprained her hand playing." or "Seasonal allergies affect the immune system so she'll get sick a lot if there's allergens in the air." They ignored the fact that "allergies" put me in the hospital for nearly a week. My mother chased after answers and finally gave up. She began saying "I don't know what you're going to do when you're my age."

I was too skinny so they put me on a diet to gain weight, then I became overweight and they began saying "Her weight is the problem." they told my mom to make me eat more vegetables and fruit. "Limit the junk food." they said and my mom's eyes bulged out of her head on the drive home. "'Limit the junk food?'" She'd screech "Like we can afford junk food and snacks." It was true too. There was always vegetables with dinner, we lived on a farm. Onions, green beans, collards, string beans, pole beans, kale, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, okra, and more. We grew them. Fruits? We had those too; pear trees, blackberry bushes, blueberries, apple trees, watermelon, and even strawberries. We got snacks when we were sneaking into the blackberry bushes.
The doctors would tell my mother, "Don't let her play video games or watch to much TV." yeah she went home steaming mad on those days too. We had four TV channels on one small TV in our living room. Video games? Maybe if I visited my friend in the city over. Nope I was a good old country girl, never found me inside. I was always out climbing trees and sitting on haystacks watching the cows eat, or my absolute favorite playing down by the creek and fishing. The creek was nearly a half a mile through fields and woods from my house. No population in sight. I loved it, even with the fact that my ankles couldn't support my weight and would frequently twist leaving me with said half mile to limp back home on a swollen foot.

I got use to the twisted ankles, the knees giving out randomly, the swollen hands, the consistent headache, the fact that within 10 minutes of being in the sun I looked liked someone had baked me and felt like I had been dipped in acid, and my chest tightening in pain then leaving me dizzy seconds later. It was just my body, the doctors had no answers for us so I just learned to make it apart of me.

Within just two years my mother and I gave up. I didn't care and she couldn't find the answers. I think that's why she became a RN. Now she has her M.S. in Nursing and is weighing the idea of a PhD, but I think she got tired of the doctors and went the only route she knew to go.

I was about to turn 24 when I began showing new issues. It started out small. I went from eating three meals a day to just 2, then 1. My one gradually faded into a half a meal then into a few bites of food a day. I began not being able to hold food down. One bite would send me running for the bathroom. My bowels began changing. My hands began to swell more. Walking became so painful. I didn't know what was happening. My doctor did an RA panel, it came back negative, so he sent me out to Gastro and Rheum specs. Who did a series of their own blood panels. I use to joke that I liked hugging a porcupines because my veins are really bad and just to get one vile of blood I'd be stuck five or six times. The Rheum specialist sent me to Neurology, who looked at me like I had no business being there.

Then the results came in, my best friend and I went, we both had appointments that day so we figured we'd carpool. The doctor came into me room and said "Let's go to my office to look over your results." Okay now I was nervous. They only ever do the office talk for the really bad stuff. She tells me "blah blah blah antiphospholipid syndrome syndrome, blah blah blah Lupus, possibly systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE for short, blah blah blah."

I walked out of the office and right up to my friend and she asks "So how did it go." and I look at the paper, then I looked at her and began laughing. She takes the paper from be and reads what the doctor wrote and begins laughing too "At least it's not cancer." and I look at her and smile. "Indeed" well I needed more x-rays apparently so we began walking over to the imaging center which was in the same building and all the while we're talking and laughing about me moving or Oregon or Washington, somewhere not sunny and having a "Green" house with my art studio set up in there.

And we spent the time waiting looking up information online about what SLE was, cause I'll be honest. WE KNEW NOTHING. With each new page of information we found the dimmer it looked and the more I began to shut down and suppress. Let me tell you, I am good at suppressing; I could be in a full blown hysteria and suppress it within seconds to the point where you couldn't tell I was any sorts of upset.

The next two years have been a horrific battle between my PCP and my RA doctor. My blood work is inconsistent, sometimes I have the antibodies, sometimes I don't. My RA says that without the blood work showing I have it, I can't be treated, my PCP says I have most of the physical symptoms therefore I should be treated.

Not to mention, I've gotten worse. I live on Phenergan now take 2-3 times daily as needed. I'm suppose to be on several different pain killers, they're sitting in my medicine cabinet collecting dust, on really super bad days my husband might cram them down my throat with his loving "I'm worried" eyes as he stares me down. I'm on an anti-inflammatory called Diclofenac 75mg twice a day. My doctor keeps throwing around the term "Pain Management" and I'll be honest, I duck him when he does. It's scary, I know what those medicines do to you and when I think about how one bad day lays me up in bed completely useless to my family, I shudder at the thought of those pills. I'd rather suffer the pain and enjoy my family than suffer non existence due to drug induced comatose. These drugs are very scary. I'm still recovering from the Prednisone they put me on at the start of August. Finally got rid of the ear infection and I'm starting to finally dry out the acute bronchitis that was brought on by a lovely cold that laid me out cold for several days.

I carry an umbrella with me at all times, which living in Florida is actually quite handy. If I forget my umbrella and have to spend the day in the sun do to errands or an event, I can promise a lovely hive looking rash that burns like acid. Needless to say, I very rarely forget my umbrella. People on my campus look at me really weird too when I'm walking to my next class.

I've had to give up a lot of things like dairy, eggs, bacon. I've gained a lot of things too, though, like the ability to look at a load of laundry and say to myself "Tomorrow, I've done to much today." use to I'd just keep going until I regretted it.

We've got it confirmed now, new RA and all. I indeed do have APS and SLE. We know it affects my digestive system, musculoskeletal (i.e. my joints), and my peripheral nervous system. No kidney involvement, even though I show the signs, the tests come back clean. Which I am grateful for. The kidney issues seem kind of scary. At the end of the day, it could be better than again it could be horrifically worse, so I'm grateful and happy.
The sun and I; we'll never get along, however it won't stop me from being outdoors.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

30 Things About My Invisibility You May Not Know.

With Invisible Illness Awareness Week just around the corner, I thought maybe it's time I share my story.
There are millions of stories out there so particularly I wouldn't consider mine much of anything, yet I represent a large part of the community both the mental illness community and the physical illness community.

I am living with Bipolar Schizo-affective Disorder and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).

"Approximately 96% of people who live with an illness have an illness that is invisible. These people do not use a cane or any assistive device and may look perfectly healthy" (2002 US Census Bureau). This is a major problem with invisible illness, this is my biggest obstacle in day to day life. I have no cane to walk with, no wheelchair to aid me, no back brace showing my pain. I look like any other woman you may see walking down the street with her family. Yet with each step I take I break a little inside. My joints are swollen with arthritis, my ankles have sever bone spurring and extra bone growth, my spine is riddled with inflammation. This does not stop me, I refuse to let it. I'd rather walk than sit, play than watch, learn than shut down. Like millions of other suffers, I'd rather live than waste away. I'm blessed with a family that is super supportive, and my husband who is still just a marvel to me.

This is the 30 things about my illnesses you may not know. 

1. The illness I live with is: Bipolar Schizo-affective and SLE
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1999 BP/SA and 2011 SLE
3. But I had symptoms since: As long as I can remember for the BP and since the age of 10 for SLE.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Seeing myself as sick.
5. Most people assume: I'm lying.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Putting my feet to the floor.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House, because there is always a cure. Plus his sarcastic nature is right up my alley.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My computer.
9. The hardest part about nights are: Laying down.
10. Each day I take _13_ pills & vitamins, mostly vitamins. (No comments, please)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: am highly supportive and practice them myself.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Neither, they both bite.
13. Regarding working and career: I am going to school full-time with International Relations/Linguistics as my Major. I hope to work with others who not only suffer from illness but struggle with daily life especially on the international level. Working for UNICEF or the U.N. is my ultimate goal.
14. People would be surprised to know: That both my Psych and PCP doctors are shocked at my well-being and that even with both these illnesses. 
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: That I cannot do it all, that I have to accept days when getting out of bed is nearly impossible.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Function without medications. I'm 11years off Psych medications and instead use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
17. The commercials about my illness: are non existent that I know of.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Bikram Yoga.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: because I felt so much better after doing it.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: writing.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Go to the beach with my family and spend most of it in the sun!
22. My illness has taught me: it's okay to take a break and go slow with things.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "Oh it's not that bad." or "That's horrible!"
24. But I love it when people: Laugh and say "Damn that sucks."
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: A body in motion stays in motion.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: There may be no cure, but there's no death sentence either. You can still live and it's living that is important.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How little people know about it.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: ordered dinner. My husband is awesome.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: more people should know the truth.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Excited.

One of the many blood work bruises I get left with.

Pulling plasma, one of the few treatments I'll accept.

Making best of being in the hospital. I don't think they like it much when he curls up in the bed with me.

Two days after I got my official diagnosis. NEVER STOP LIVING!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

College, Moving, Homelessness, and Life Altering Choices.

It has been months since I could breath, since I could sleep well, since I could sit down at my computer and type something more than an essay for school. Moving is stressful to the average well planned person and I am that well planned person. You name it, I did it: Check lists, time charts, research, research, research. We had the plans all laid out, the budget perfectly lined up, yet we failed. There was one failed plan after the other failed plan.
We were broke. We ended up homeless.  Schools had hang up after hang up with the paper work. My doctors? Still in the other city we left behind.

Plan A. 

We had nearly $3,000 in savings for the move once we knew we were going to move. We were going to enroll into college, search out doctors for everyone, find little one a good private school, and find our apartment.

The Reality. 

Shift Happens. No literally, shifting happens. One of my husbands job laid him off because their holiday income wasn't as expected. His job wasn't seasonal, he had been with the company for about a year. That hurt, it was his main job for the hours even though it was is lowest wage. The "shift" was survivable because he had two part-times that equaled full time income (which he had long before that job so it was okay) and I worked a seasonal job to pay for Christmas and a little extra so we didn't have any of those evil holiday bills to deal with and the seasonal influx of energy use was covered. 

None of the private schools were accepting of the projected I.E.P. plan my son had. The only one I did find that would accept him had an unacceptable idea. To take him out of first grade and put him in a mixed class of advanced kindergarteners and late blooming first graders. He was going into 2nd grade at the time.

No doctors because we're not official residents yet.

Plan B.

We'll cut back our spending, see if I can lower some bills, and as long as we don't touch our savings that will be okay.

As far as his school. I'll look into the Florida's First Choice plan and toy with a homeschooling possibility. 

As far as doctors. I'll put that on hold, but I have their numbers still.

The Reality.

I had already lowered my bills are much as I could when I could no longer work. Internet was $10 a month. We didn't have cable. My phone bill was about $30 a month for unlimited everything, I got it lowered to $25. Rent and utilities all together was about $700 a month, not bad considering we lived in a really nice area. Two cars; wish we had a different choice, but living out in the suburbs where the nearest store was 2miles away and no public transportation (or sidewalks for that matter) and if you wanted to go to the post office or a doctors office you're looking at 8+miles. Still we managed to only touch just a little of our savings, and mostly it was because of some last minute "cash only" costs of the wedding. We still had about $2500 in savings.

Until one of his jobs switched his hours and they conflicted with the other one. 

Little one's school, FFC wouldn't deal with us until we had residence in said county. 

Plan C.

We'll pull little one from school a tad early and transfer him over to the new school. We found a great apartment at a killer price, can' let it go as it fits our budget perfectly. Plus, husband really needs to start classes as soon as he can for work related reasons. We can't afford to move later.

The Reality. 

Pulling little one from school didn't happen, his I.E.P which we worked so hard on for nearly two years would have dropped and we would have had to start over at the new school because we didn't yet have the final end of year end of testing meeting. 
My husband commuted the 1h45min drive to his classes every day, averaging nearly $150 a week in gas. I had to commute about twice a week for school related appointments dealing with paperwork hang ups on my transfer and dealing with the disabilities department (Student with disabilities at your service). Thank the heavens my car is fuel efficient, that was about $40 a week. All in all $190 a week in gas alone hurt the budget. We got our lease stretched for an extra two months.

Plan D. 

Husband found a job in the new city, he was going to stay with a friend (so said the friend because it would have been only for a few weeks.) while he works and goes to class and we can get an apartment in June when little one and I move down there. Saves our savings from the horrid gas prices. 

The Reality.

He quit the jobs in our city and the new job didn't bring as much anticipated income as expected and could no where cover the loss of his two previous jobs. The friend bailed on him never allowing him to stay. We ended up spending even more gas on his commute due to the added work load. 

Plan E.

Not ideal, but had to do it; Husband camped in his car. We'd save the money from his work and wouldn't be spending the ungodly amounts the gas needed to commute. We'd find a different apartment, or see if we could lower the starting setup of first and last months rent, deposit and processing/application fees.

The Reality.

The apartment wouldn't work with us, so we had to look else where. My husband wasn't saving any money he made because he was having to eat out a lot due to living in his car. Granted it was still way cheaper than the gas he was spending in the commute. 

Plan F.

I found an apartment that rented super cheap. Okay so it was one of those college dorm style apartments, but hey at this rate, I'll take it. It was full utilities paid, we'd just have to rent to rooms so said the lady over the phone. Family friendly! Okay that we're married! No pets, so no extra deposits!

The Reality. 

The lady was clueless. We get there to rent the apartment, the manager comes out to inform us that we'd have to rent the full apartment. 1 bedroom per a person. Well... seeing as two bedrooms were $500 ($250ea) three would be $750 not ideal but with all utilities paid we'd do it, the deposit was cheap enough. It would have drained every penny from our ever disappearing savings, but better than nothing. Just 50 bucks more and we could take out a student loan to cover the difference if anything happened. Between grants and scholarships, we don't have to use loans for school so it wouldn't hurt to take out a small one. Except: to rent the full apartment at said complex with no roommates, $1200. Nope can't do that.

Plan G. 

Renamed, "Plan F**k it! I give up." This is the cosmos telling me "You're plans are laughable". By this time, I pitied the poor fool who attempted to tell me "God only gives you what you can handle." she did not deserve the verbal lashing she got, however don't ever tell a mother who's looking at having to explain to her child why they are homeless that phrase.

The Reality. 

After two nights of camping in the car. I found a homeless shelter that would take all three of us. I still view them as god sent even after the horrors I witnessed in that place. We were there for three weeks. We had a private bedroom with a lock and two twin beds. Our sleep sucked. Even my son started asking if we could go back to the car, but we were relatively safe and it bought us time to get back up on our feet.

In the End. 

We got a nice apartment, we're in a nicer neighborhood with a good school, and we're happy.
We're both now in our second semester of school, passing our classes. Little one is happy at his new school and we're super close to O2B Kids. So the friends he made there are at his school too, well some of them anyways. Husband now works at the school and he's getting ready to take the ASVAB. We're okay. And aside from now being on food stamps. We're making it through the day.

We just finally took little one to our school Planetarium for our first family outing since being here. It was free for husband and I, like most school events, and we enjoyed every minute of learning about Black Holes.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Florida teen arrested and charged with 3 felonies after science experiment explodes.

Kiera Wilmot was experimenting with mixing toilet bowl cleaner and pieces of aluminum foil in a water bottle outside but still on school grounds. Bartow High School assistant principal Dan Durham, in charge of discipline, heard the explosion and called police. 

I ask who here hasn't mixed up some sort of science experiment out of curiosity or even out of a valid desire to win a up coming science fair? I know I have many times. I was never arrested for it, most of us never were. However for Miss. Wilmost the reaction was that she was expelled and marched off in handcuffs, accused of felony possession/discharge of a dangerous weapon. She is now facing 3 felony charges and will be charged as an adult.

“She is a good kid,” principal Ron Pritchard was quoted as saying by local media. “She has never been in trouble before. Ever.”

Pritchard agreed that Wilmot had merely been trying an experiment.
He told WTSP: "She wanted to see what would happen (when the chemicals came together), and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked too."
She was completely honest about what she had done. 
No one who knew her in Bartow, FL. had anything negative to say about this girl. "An exemplary record" they say she had. "A good student" they call her.
The police report, filed by Bartow investigating officer Gregory Rhoden, said Wilmot told Durham “she was conducting a science fair experiment.”
No one was hurt and no property was damaged. But Florida assistant state attorney Tammy Glotfelty, contacted by Rhoden, “advised this officer to file a charge of possessing or discharging weapons or firearms” at school.
Polk County Schools, in a statement, said the incident Monday “was a serious breach of conduct.”
Bartow police spokesman Sgt. David Wyant said whether or not it really was a science experiment is something the state attorney general’s office has to decide.
“That was her excuse,” he said. “We can’t prove that.”
Pritchard was quoted by the local Ledger of Lakeland newspaper as saying he was standing nearby when he heard a pop.
“She left it on the ground, and she stayed there,” he said. “We went over to where she was. She saw that we saw her, so she didn’t take off.”
You might image from this reaction that this explosion caused vast damage to school buildings, which had to be evacuated.
Not quite. The top of the bottle popped off and there was some smoke. No one was hurt. There were even some kids in the vicinity, all curious too. She believed, and was informed by a friend, that there would only be harmless smoke and not the small explosion. 
Polk County Schools released this statement:
"Anytime a student makes a bad choice it is disappointing to us. Unfortunately, the incident that occurred at Bartow High School yesterday was a serious breach of conduct. In order to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment, we simply must uphold our code of conduct rules. We urge our parents to join us in conveying the message that there are consequences to actions. We will not compromise the safety and security of our students and staff."

But is charging a 16 year old as an adult for 3 felonies really upholding rules in a code of conduct? Her only visible crime: Her science project doesn't appear to have been an officially sanctioned by school as an educational experiment.
Now she faces the "F-word" she faces being called a Felon. This could ruin her life. Take away her rights. She faces years of imprisonment, a ruined education, a future of dead end jobs because no one will be willing to look past her label of "felon"
Who's truly exercising the wrong judgement here? A child of 16 who was merely curious and didn't think her actions would cause any harm? Or a school and state seemingly bent on making an example out of her to prevent any more kids from truly seeking out the process of science and experimentation. 

The science community has come together for the sake of Miss. Wilmot
By Thursday morning, 3,400 people had signed a petition on Change. org asking Polk County to rescind the expulsion. Facebook and Twitter campaigns were also up and rolling.
Scientific American published two essays in support of Wilmot. Nature Geoscience wrote in her defense  Scientists also created a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #KieraWilmot.
“Most of us didn’t become scientists because of something that happened in a classroom,” Dr. Danielle Lee, who wrote one of the essays, told the Star.
“She wanted to see for herself. That is a classic experiment. Sometimes things blow up.”
“When I was a child, I discovered the calcium hypochlorite and polyethylene glycol reaction,” Joel Bondurant posted on Twitter.
“Blew up a capacitor,” wrote Geoffrey Seitz.