BOSTON (CBS) – It's tough for most 17-year-olds to get up in the morning. For Liam Talbot, it's next to impossible.
Each day he wakes up with a headache that's an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. And that's not all.
"The majority of the days I can't even go downstairs to go and make a meal for myself because my muscles are also affected," Liam says.
Liam's weak muscles and the slew of other medical issues he suffers from are blamed on a disease called small fiber poly-neuropathy. It causes nerve damage throughout the body, including the gastrointestinal tract.
"Well I've had all these symptoms since birth. This is just a normal thing for me at this point," Liam said.
Liam was 15 by the time he got diagnosed by Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander of Mass General Hospital. Doctors around the world send skin biopsies to her lab in order to help diagnose SFPN.
When he was younger, Liam was able to play sports, but he had to give them up one by one. Liam's being home-schooled now.
He looks like a typical teen.
"Although I may look very healthy to anyone just looking at me that's far from the truth," Liam said.
But he always looks on the bright side of life.
"The best medicine I've had throughout all of this is my attitude of things and my perspective on life. I've never once wanted pity," he added.
Friends and family are also key. And while Liam has his eye on the future--he knows he may not have a long one.
"I'm so happy with my life that I can leave here and you know, die today and I'd die with a smile on my face," Liam said. "Because I live every day assuming it's my last. And it could be. But I still look towards the future and I still know I'm going to accomplish my dreams."
Coming up in part eight, learn more about the challenges associated with chronic pain.
Listen: Part 7 - A Personal Story – Stories Of Struggle And Hope
for more features.