A memorable failure of mine started when I was very young, I would say from around age one, and it’s been on going ever since. I’m on the fence on what we classify as failures, but I do know this one’s been a challenge nonetheless. I was diagnosed with many chronic pain illnesses and syndromes, most of which are rare.
The challenges began when I was young. Doctors weren’t knowledgeable of my unique conditions, so in their eyes I was a small guinea pig. They tested small procedures on me, without confidence in the outcomes. I was tested on countless medicines, all of which my body rejected with anger and disgust. I’ve had several surgeries to fix these tumbling bones of mine, but as I get older, it feels like one surgery seems to lead to another. I was used for display by doctors, with a promise of help in the end, but in return all I got was humiliation. In my eyes, all doctors did was provide failures and broken promises. My self-image was another challenge in itself. I’d wallow in my pity as I wondered, why can’t I just be like the other kids? Why wasn’t I able to fix the bones, nerves, and achey tissue in my body?
As I grew up, after two neck surgeries and a completely fused skull, I realized none of it was failures. Well, okay, some of it was, but on my part, none of it was. With all these guinea pig moments and deep dark nights, I realized the universe was trying to teach me something. It was preparing me for ultimate greatness, and in order to reach the highest of all, you must know what the darkest lows feel like. I might not have the most perfect health every single day, but I do know, the universe made me go through tribulation so I could learn what it means to be responsible for your own health. I had to go through test trials and stupid appointments so I could learn, no one can heal me but myself. That is the bottom line. So here I am, 19 years later, and I’ve finally realized what all these failures were for. I’ve learned more about good health, chronic pain, and the human body more than anyone I know. I’ve learned what it means to be a teacher for others, a chronic pain advocate, and self-reliant for my own health.
Without going through the terrible pains and “failures” in the past, I wouldn’t have known what it means to be responsible for your own well-being and health. I never knew someone could appreciate self-care and honor as much as I do now. I make sacrifices to small pleasures because I know my health is more important in the long run.
Western medicine puts more emphasis on fixing the problem once it manifests (while making a profit as well), instead of teaching how to avoid it all together with a healthy lifestyle. I could’ve been like many other people, who destroy their bodies with no care of tomorrow and hope that their doctors will take care of them, but the universe made me special. Now don’t get me wrong, every now and then I’ll slack on exercising or eat something I know will fight back, but I’ve realized, in life all things come with moderation. There must be a healthy balance, the nature of life thrives off balance. I’ve learned what both sides of the fence look like when it comes to health, so now I have an option between the two. This is what my failures have taught me.
Beginning of my senior year I wrote a very personal piece sharing my childhood and my chronic pain. You can read it here: Failure Is Not an Option. Something I noticed while writing this memoir today is, the answers to my sorrow-filled fourth grade prayers were not answered over night. The answer took years to be revealed to me clearly, even then, they are still slowly coming through the veil. The universe couldn’t reveal its master plans until I was prepared to accept responsibility.
I still remember the feeling I had the day I realized that no one else would be able to save me. Feeling powerless to my chronic pain was instantly transformed into a realization of great responsibility. Nonetheless, it still was a hard pill to swallow.
You see, now I know my chronic pain isn’t only for me. I know it’s meant to help me and countless other people grow. I’ve learned unmeasurable compassion because of it, for not only myself, but everyone else around me. I know what true patients feels like. I know the importance of love and appreciation, because not every day is amazing, but not every day is dreadful either. You have to learn how to find the beauty in each one.
Thank you for reading and I hope this glimpse into my world revealed something about yours.
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