I Inherited My Parents’ Chronic Pain, but I Also Inherited Their Resilience


I grew up in a loving home, one in which I always felt valued and cherished. I also grew up in a home where heating pads were often seen held on aching joints and medicine bottles lined the countertops in the kitchen. 

Both of my parents have chronic pain and have had it for years. At a young age, I became familiar with things a child doesn’t typically understand: Don’t bother Mommy when her neck is hurting. Go easy on Daddy when he can’t go outside and play with you. Even before I ever experienced it, chronic pain was a big part of my life. For the most part, it defined my childhood.

The general rules of genetics state that if your parents and/or grandparents have a certain condition, you are more genetically predisposed to developing it as well. As for me, my family tree is full of arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. So it wasn’t really a surprise when I started developing chronic back pain at 17. I had to come to terms with the fact that I had inherited chronic pain from my parents, and that was just how it was going to be.

At first I was somewhat bitter and frustrated that out of all of the things I could get from my parents, this had to be it. But I also realized something else through this. Not only did I inherit my parents’ pain, but I also inherited their resilience. They are two of the strongest people I know, and I would like to believe I’ve inherited even half of their strength. I also think I’ve inherited their courage and determination. If I got the motivation to push through the pain from anyone, it would have to be them. As much as I hurt, I remember they’re going through the same thing, and knowing that we’re all in it together gives me strength to carry on. 

Yes, I inherited chronic pain from my parents, and sometimes I feel wronged by the unfair deck of cards that has been dealt to me by my genetics, but I’m thankful I am who I am. More than that, I’m thankful my parents are who they are, and I get the chance to carry on their strength and determination in the midst of pain. Maybe, when I look at it, my genetics aren’t so bad after all.

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