A/N; A true story about my older brother, written by him and edited by me. Maybe not the best story in the world, but one definitely worth looking at.

I used to live a normal, happy and healthy life.

I was a keen sportsman, I had the best friends anyone could ever ask for, and I loved to row. If there was one thing I lived for, it was rowing. I was going really well with it, too. I had claimed the State Champion title, and was training hard to take out the Australian National Champion for my age group. I was completely ready for it.

Well, almost.

You see, I had always had trouble with my skin. It wasn't really that bad; I had grown up with the problem of eczema in my life, and traveling to the Sydney Hospital for the occasional check up was part of my life's normal routine.

So my life was great, to sum it all up. That is, until the doctor's decided to have me try some "magic" pill that would make my eczema go away.

I was filled with hope. If I didn't have eczema anymore, that meant I wouldn't have to be wrapped up in sticky bandages anymore. I wouldn't be constantly itchy all the time. I wouldn't get as sick as I usually did, and Mum and Dad could stop worrying about finding me a cure.

So we gave it a shot.

Everything seemed to be going fine for the first month. I didn't really notice any change, but the doctors assured me that it would take a while for the drugs to 'kick in' and do their job. But after that first month, I began to feel sick. I told myself that it was just the side effects of the drugs, and that I would be okay soon, but the more I took the drug, the sicker I became. Eventually, I realised that all the drugs were doing was poisoning me.

It hadn't worked at all. I was worse off than I was before.

I was discouraged, to say the least. I thought, "It's ok, I'll be better when the drugs leave my system", but it wasn't to be.

One night, I had gone walking with my little sister and cousin through the cane, when I stumbled across a patch of Paspalan- a herbicide that I was highly allergic to. Because of the immune suppressing drugs I had been taking, my body went into an extremely bad allergic reaction. My immune system was destroyed by the ordeal.

With no immune system to support my body, I was vulnerable to every type of flu and infection that was hanging around in the air. I was in an incredible amount of pain due to my eczema flaming up.

My life started to spiral downwards; I could hardly attend school due to the incredible amount of pain I was in, resulting in me almost failing year 10. I wasn't able to see any of my friends, and I couldn't even go rowing anymore. I was locked away in my room all day, which had now become my personal prison and hell.

I had become morbidly depressed; how could I live when I couldn't even go outside? This torture went on for another six months. I became dangerously underweight, and my skin was not only eczema infested, but deathly pale due to the lack of sunlight I was receiving. It was then that fate drew what was supposed to be my final card; I contracted Golden Staph throughout my entire body.

My joints had locked up, and I wasn't even able to walk anymore. My dried skin literally coated the floor each day, and I felt nothing but pain. I was probably on the verge of death when Mum took me to the Sydney Hospital.

The doctors made me take steroids to keep me alive, and because I couldn't move, I went from a 60kg lightweight rower to a 120kg teenager in just three months. As soon as I left the hospital, the doctors abandoned me. My two best friends moved away to a rowing college, and I was left with nothing but my sickness. I had left school, sitting in my room because I was now allergic to the sun. I was so depressed that I didn't even talk to my family anymore.

But after spending another lonely year in my bedroom, I realised that I had to do something about it. If anyone could fight the sickness that I had been given, it was me.

Even though I was allergic to everything, I worked hard to regain my lost immune system. I would come out at dusk when the sun had gone down to walk my dog. I eased myself into this new routine, heading out earlier and earlier and getting more and more sun. The itching was almost unbearable, but I kept at it.

About two months later, I decided I would try rowing again. I was excited and nervous at the same time; I was extremely self conscious of my new appearance, but determined not to stop rowing just because of that.

And I did it.

It was hard, painful and torturous, but once I had accomplished rowing for the first time in two years, I realised I could do anything. I kept rowing for another year, and I ended up losing 50kg with my constant exercise.

I did my first regatta since going back to rowing last year, and since then I have never looked back.

I have made new friends, whilst keeping in contact with the old, and I have even gone back to do my senior years of schooling alongside my little sister.

I have learned to appreciate life and what it can give you; a lot can change, either for better or for worse.

Going from the morbidly depressed and almost suicidle person that I was, to the happier, healthier and better person that I am now, I can proudly say that I have been fought my way through my sickness, and will continue to do so.

Because when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.