People still ask me why I have made the choice to stop looking for a cure to my chronic pain. I receive questions like: “Why would you chose to just live in pain 24/7?” or “There has to be something a doctor can do for you, don’t give up!” I have learned to let questions or statements regarding my invisible illness go unacknowledged. Now that friends and family can read my blog many of their questions have been answered. There could quite possibly be a cure to my chronic pain that I just did not find for over ten years. Maybe I wasn’t taking the right medications, maybe I saw the wrong acupuncturists, and maybe I should have seen just one more specialist in my hunt for a cure. However, after ten years of searching for a cure to my chronic pain I learned to just find a way to live with it. People may say I gave up and I do not have to live with chronic pain but I disagree. I did not give up, I just came to a point of acceptance. Once I came to a point of acceptance, I gradually started to become happy and alive. Those ten plus years of searching for a cure almost ruined my life. Spending half of your week with different doctors and specialists and going on different regiments of medications is not only discouraging, its exhausting. If I had not come to a point of acceptance, I truly am not sure if I would be alive. Instead of spending my time and money on every doctor imaginable, I am able to spend my time utilizing the tools that enable me to manage my pain naturally. Is it easy: no. Is it worth it: absolutely!
I do not want to be defined by chronic pain. For most of my life people knew me as the poor girl with chronic pain. I was depressed, overweight, and unhealthy. Now when people see me, they see a healthy mother who enjoys exercise, writing, and taking care of her family. So many people make a choice to not be defined by their illness. Michael J. Fox is just one famous example of a person who was diagnosed with a disease and never stopped living. He did not let Parkinson’s disease define him: it has empowered him. He has written books to help people with Parkinson’s disease and is still in the acting business. He has a family he loves and I know he gives people hope that they too can live with Parkinson’s disease and be happy. I know this because as a medical social worker I used to talk to my patients who had Parkinson’s disease and his name came up frequently. My grandmother who I miss every day was diagnosed with this disease at a very late stage of her life.
I am not a famous movie star or television star. I have not written a book (yet) on chronic pain. I am just a stay at home mother who manages an invisible illness and tries every day to make the most of my life and bring as much happiness and help to the world as I can. We are all battling something the world may know nothing about. We can either let an illness define us or accept it and find a way through. I never gave up, I just found a way to live.