1. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    Help with a small issue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Piankhy, Feb 24, 2013.

    I'm trying to think of a serious but curable disease for a 14 year old girl. When I say curable, I mean by a very slim margin though. If possible, also a disease where it wouldn't affect her playing sports and going to school. Any help would be appreciated because I've been on google forever.
     
  2. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Hold on... serious but doesn't stop her from playing sports? Could you maybe define "serious" better?
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The term 'brittle diabetic' comes to mind. Diabetes is normally quite controllable; as I understand it, with a 'brittle diabetic' it's much harder to control blood sugar levels, and uncontrolled blood sugar levels can be life-threatening.

    Of course, this wouldn't normally be curable; the goal would be achieving better control.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on why you need her to have the disease and why it's important for her to still play sports. "Serious but curable" makes me think of something where the person would be in the hospital or at least bedridden for some period of time, but then be cured. I had thought of maybe some sort of mental condition, such as bi-polar disorder, but that's not really "curable." It's hard for me to think of a medical condition that is simultaneously serious and curable, but would not interfere with sports.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not clear on exactly what you mean by "doesn't prevent her from playing sports." Obviously, at some point, a serious disease will prevent anyone from playing sports, but until it reaches an acute state, it could remain asymptomatic or even undiagnosed.

    My first thought is some sort of bone marrow cancer. Until it develops to a certain point, the bones themselves could remain structurally sound, and the immune system could remain healthy for quite a while. But eventually, it would become very serious indeed, and treatment is far from routine. But the risk of a bone fracture releasing the cancer cells into the body and metastasizing would probably sideline the character, especially in a litigious society.
     
  6. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I'd invent a disease.

    I would find a Latin textbook from a high school class. (If they still teach that). Then I'd find an anatomy book. Peruse the texts, get a germ of an idea, and meld reality with a Latin phrase that slides off your tongue in a pleasing manner.

    Since you'll be the one setting the parameters, you can control how the character reacts at any turn of the treatment.

    Don't laugh. When the movie "Love Story" first came out, the disease Ali MacGraw's character contracted was described as "an illness that makes you more beautiful as you die."
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't do this. I don't think it would ring true, and people would constantly be wondering what disease she had, especially if the reason you invent it is because no actual disease would progress or present the way your character's disease does.

    Love Story did involve an actual disease (leukemia). Just because the movie version advertised it as "an illness that makes you more beautiful as you die," which is admittedly ridiculous and sappy, doesn't mean that the story didn't use a real medical condition.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are no serious but curable diseases that wouldn't affect her playing sports. Anything that is serious will eventually give symptoms which will be debilitating, unless if it's something silent, or incurable like a chronic disease (diabetes, schizophrenia, arthritis etc). Typically the symptoms will be non-specific such as low grade fever, weakness, lethargy, loss of weight, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting but can also be pain, sweats or even psychiatric symptoms such as psychoses that arise due to brain and pituitary tumours.
    Yes, pituitary tumours will make her grow and become very good in basketball, but at the same time it will make her bones brittle and damage her internal organs function, so like I said, eventually she'll become unwell. Perhaps if they somehow recognise it on time, she can have an operation and hormone replacement for life. But it's a stretch, and it'll make her look odd (very tall, coarse features, big hands and feet, google "gigantism").

    When you are saying "curable by a small margin" that'd typically be any childhood cancer (leukaemia, lymphoma, sarcoma, brain or eye tumours) or a serious infection or an injury such as partial fracture in one of the vertebrae, but that would make someone collapse within days. I wouldn't choose diabetes because it affects children very aggressively, makes them very skinny and then they have to go around with an insulin pump and measure blood sugars 4 times per day. Not conducive to a successful career in sport.
    Also, I'd steer clear of infections, silent ones (hiv, hep B) put all other kids at risk during contact sports, and they are incurable.

    So if you want anything vaguely based on actual medical reality, you need to change things around a bit.
     
  9. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Chicagoliz, I do understand your concerns, but we do write fiction. Heck, half of the diseases on Star Trek were made out of whole-cloth.

    At the end of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" a newspaper reporter states, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

    If anything, tack the Roman Numeral "II" on the end of the illness. For example, we have bipolar disorder. But there is also Bipolar II.

    So, if the author liked the flow of Crones Disease as a central plot point, but still needed to control the attributes, he could have a "specialist" remark, "The patient has a rare variant of an intestinal issue, Crones Disease II."
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    By the way, it's Crohn's. It has nothing to do with cantankerous, withered old women.
     
  11. GhostWolfe
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    AIDS is not yet curable, but it is manageable.
     
  12. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    Thanks for all the responses! Very helpful and thought provoking stuff. I've taking all of the diseases you named into consideration.

    As for what people were asking me about the "Serious but curable" problem. You know those diseases where they're dormaint and then just flare up out of nowhere? I was thinking on it all yesterday and I realized that it really doesn't have to be curable. Just something that wouldn't stop her from playing sports. Or she could just play sports in defiance of her condition. That brings me to Chicagoliz's question.

    I wanted to show another side of her to both the MC and the reader. Just how strong of a person she really is and that she isn't as carefree as she seems. The reason I wanted her to play sports with a disease is because I've always admired people who have to live with health problems but it never stops them from enjoying life. I like feel good stories like that and it makes me grateful just for being healthy.
     

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