I think that one of the greatest signs of strength is taking something awful that occurs in your life and turning it into something worth fighting for. Yes, I had a bike accident that resulted in brain surgery and chronic pain for the remainder of my life. I let it destroy my life for a long time until I decided to turn it into something positive. Once I gained control over my chronic pain and started living I went to school to be a social worker to help others who were sick. Now that I am once again managing chronic pain in a healthy way, I use this “curse” I was given to motivate me to be a healthy, happy person. I am hopefully showing my daughter and family the importance of eating healthy, exercising, practicing gratitude, and living life to the absolute fullest. Once I got rid of any medication I was using to help/hurt my chronic pain I literally knew I had to do something to help others out there who were suffering from chronic pain. I am/was computer illiterate (did not even own a computer) but I went out bought myself a lap top and figured out how to begin a blog to help others with chronic pain. I’m not sure I am making a huge difference but I do know from emails I receive I am helping a handful of people and that is enough for me. My goal is to reach thousands of people suffering from chronic pain who have lost hope and share my story so they too can see there is a way through chronic pain.
I met my brother in-law five years ago on Thanksgiving Day. My boyfriend (now husband) and I drove to Pennsylvania to celebrate Thanksgiving break with his family. I had never been scared to meet anyone in my life but I knew then as I do now that I had found the person I would spend my life with and really wanted his family to love me. I was so nervous that my chronic pain was at an all time high which really was not helping. I remember the first conversation I had with my future brother in-law. At the time he was living in Chicago and was telling me over some drinks about his city and life in cold ass Chicago. The first thing I said to him was: “One of my best friends went to Boston College, so I know all about Chicago. I used to visit her all the time.” As my future in-laws and husband would learn geography was not my strong point, to say the least. I remember his face when I said this and looking back it is quite comical but at the time I was frozen in embarrassment. Just recently I learned that Alaska is a state. My husband found this hilarious and now that we are truly a family I laughed my ass off as well. Does that prove how awful I am with geography? Anyways, it was a rough beginning in meeting the people I really wanted to love me.
Over the years my brother in-law have gotten along but him being in Chicago and us in New Jersey keeps us from seeing one another often. He is one of a kind. I am so happy that I am on his good side because he always tells it how it is. You always know where you stand with Kraig. I was mildly scared of him when we first met because he always says what he is thinking and is a very tough nut to crack. However, once Kraig loves you there is nothing he will not do for you. He was here visiting us in New Jersey many months ago and gave us the amazing news that he landed an amazing job in Florida (a state he loves as I do!) I was so happy for him and knew this was exactly what he needed. A couple weeks later he and the love of his life, Biskit (his adorable pug) moved out to Florida to begin a new life. My mother and father in-law went out there to help him move and could not stop expressing what an amazing place he had moved to. Sadly and shockingly a few weeks after moving to Florida, Kraig’s dog got very sick. For anyone that has owned a dog you know that they are like children: there is nothing one would not do for their child just as there was nothing Kraig would not have done for his dog. I spent multiple hours on the phone with Kraig as he drove Biskit to the greatest Vet hospital in Florida. I had never heard him so distraught and my heart literally ached. I wanted to be with him so much so that he was not alone during this awful experience. After a couple days of pure torture, Biskit passed away. My brother in-law did everything possible to help his baby live and be healthy but the doctor finally told him there was literally nothing he could do. Biskit was the world to Kraig and the night she passed our family spent the night crying our eyes out. I was crying because I loved Biskit but I was balling because of how much I love Kraig. I will be honest, I was scared for him. I was afraid he would numb his pain with drinking as many of us have done (including myself) in difficult times. I have never been more wrong. Kraig made a promise to his baby. He promised Biskit that he would get healthy and cut down on drinking. We all make promises in desperate times and sadly do not usually keep them. My brother in-law kept this promise and has the occasional/rare drink, is on an weight loss plan, and is getting healthy. He has lost almost twenty-two pounds and is feeling better. The best part is that he is proud of himself. This is another example of taking an awful thing and turning it into something positive. I love my brother in-law as my own brother (I hate the term in-law….so distant.) I cannot express how proud I am of him. He cannot control the fact that he lost his baby girl. He did everything he could and more! What he can control is how he manages his life and his health. He has taken control over his life and in some ways I feel Biskit saved him.
I did not choose to have brain surgery and chronic pain. My brother in-law never chose to lose his baby girl but we do not have control over these things. We do have control over how we chose to live our lives despite our illnesses and losses. I have never been more proud to call Kraig a brother and an inspiration.