I've hidden many secrets, who hasn't? But having PKU is one secret I am done hiding. When I was a little girl it was painstakingly obvious I was different from the other kids. They all bought whatever the special in our cafeteria was, and I sat alone at the corner table eating low protein pasta by myself. I would leave every couple months for a doctors appointment in the city and come back with bandaids on my arms, worn out and tired, sitting on the side during gym that day while they would run around playing. When you enter school the one rule everyone learns right away is go with the flow. I apparently didn't fit in with the flow. I was excluded by my classmates, made fun of and humiliated for something I couldn't control. When I graduated a hellish 5 years of elementary, 5 local elementaries are blended into 1 junior high, and I saw my chance to start fresh, be normal for once in my life. I made friends for the first time in my life. I basically threw my diet out the window. I ate low protein at home, but away from home, I was normal. For a while everything was all fun and games... and then the side effects kicked in. I slowly started failing classes... I was moody, always fighting with my friends...no one wanted to be around me... I got in trouble at school... didn't have any energy....and slowly I slipped into depression. Yet I still continued...part of me was like "Don't worry about it, the doctors had to have made a mistake! You don't have PKU!" So I just kept going. One day I got a phone call from my hospital, my bloodwork came back with a level of 1480. They wanted me in as soon as possible. Ever since that point in my life I have been trying to claw my way back to the top. Unsucessfully at first and now that I'm older much more succesfully. I told my friends about PKU and educated them, and you know what? They're still my best friends to this day. This much more than just a tatoo, it's a symbol of a battle that I have fought and won.