Although I am thirty two now, days as a teenager with chronic pain seem like yesterday. Those days are so profound to me because as I was still trying to figure out who I was, I was also in a constant of physical pain. I had no resources to turn to and had not one person in the world that understood what I was going through. I trusted the multitudes of doctors I saw because in essence they were the only people I trusted and really my only option. My friends and family did not understand me and even in a crowd I felt completely alone and trapped inside my pain.
A few of my readers are teenagers and we email back and forth as much as possible. I want any teenager with chronic pain to know that it does get better. I’ll never forget my first stay at the Mayo Clinic when everyone around me was older and seemed to have so much more hope than I did. They all asked questions like: “How can I be a good mother to my children when I am in so much pain?” and “How will I cook dinner and clean my home when this pain is ruling my life?” I heard their questions and always wish I had those questions to ask for myself. I never believed I would be able to have children or a home with chronic pain. I never believed I would have anything. I remember the only question I asked was: “Why would someone who is so young like me be diagnosed with chronic pain? Why do I have to live like this?” As we all know, there are sometimes no answers as to why bad things happen. I’ll never know why I had a bike accident that landed me into brain surgery just as my good friend will never know why her young daughter has been diagnosed with cancer. The why’s just do not matter because we will never have the answers.
However, I do know that everything does work out. I never thought as a teenager I would ever be managing chronic pain naturally and leading a healthy, happy life despite pain. But, here I am. I want to give teenagers around the world hope that everything will be okay. Chronic pain is awful. It is a demon that can either destroy you or empower you. Just because you are not doing well today or tomorrow or even this year does not predict how you will be doing in the future. I am living, breathing proof that you can live a happy life despite chronic pain. No teenager should have to feel as lonely and helpless as I did. I am here to show you that life does and will get better. I never thought everything happened for a reason but I do now. You will be okay, maybe not today but you will be. As my favorite yoga instructor once told me: Stop worrying, everything changes…..nothing stays the same.