Begin "Coming of Age" Story:

My teenage years were a bit different from the typical teen. I grew up with heart disease and missed a lot of school because of it. I didn't have a big group of friends like most teens, but a few very close ones. In my junior year of high school, I had surgery for my heart a couple of months after the start of the year. I was out for the remainder of the semester, and returned to school part-time in February. I completed half of my class load via homebound (tutoring).

When I returned to school, my best friend was hanging out with a new group of people, so I was introduced to them. They became the first big group of friends I ever had. We formed some wonderful lasting bonds that remained through our senior year. Two of them became very close friends that I'm still close with today. One of them is my best friend in the world and is like my twin sister. My best friend from high school is still a very close friend and my sister-in-law.

I'm very grateful that I met these wonderful women when I did, and that our friendship has grown and lasted all these years. They have helped me get through some of the hardest times of my life, both in school and out. I will cherish our friendships forever.

End "Coming of Age" Story.

Andrea Buginsky
Freelance Writer/Author

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