How Living With a Genetic Disease Is Like Running a Race Without a Finish Line


I remember in school counting the years until graduation – I thought I would never get to the end. In college it was the same thing repeating itself. Over and over I was always counting the minutes, the weeks, months and years to get to the finish line. No matter where I was, in school or working, there was a finish line.

So here is the thing. When you live with genetic disease there is no finish line. It is a constant, never-ending marathon. Some days you can sprint and some days you cramp up. There are days when the weather is good and other days when the weather is stormy. But there is never a day when the race is over and the finish line is in site.

There is no finish line.

As a person who runs this race, it is exhausting. As a parent who supports her children running this race, it is both exhausting and beyond painful to witness. Let me at least carry them for a while, absorb the stress of the constant marathon, the endlessness of it. Find a wheelbarrow to help me push them through their day…

It doesn’t work that way. Not with genetic disease.

Instead you acknowledge the pain. Accommodate and adjust. Make room for the strength you will need for running an endless race. You cry your tears and dig deep because even when you hit the wall you don’t get to opt out of this race. You are in it and you must run.

There are moments when you are Forrest Gump and the world is running with you. Awareness is powerful and eventually it will be the thing that creates a finish line. Until that time we rely on our family and friends to cheer us on as we try to catch our breath, and keep running.

We are forever running our endless race. Let us run with grace. Let us run with love. Let us run with hope.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via lzf on Getty Images

Related to Chronic Illness

woman writing and sitting at a table with her laptop and coffee

The Importance of Making Attainable Resolutions for a Person With Chronic Illness

New Year’s resolutions are an interesting thing. As the old year gives way to a brand new bouncing baby new year, many people evaluate their lives, and set goals for improvement. These goals, or resolutions, may be anything from hunting for a better job, to furthering one’s education, to the ever-popular goal to lose weight. [...]
A woman turning away from a friend in frustration.

Please Give Me Your Support, Not Unsolicited Medical Advice

I would rather spend the rest of my days banging my head against a wall than to continue trying to explain to people that their essential oils and kale will not cure me. OK, I’m being dramatic, but not as much as you might think! If you’re anything like me, when you first became chronically [...]
A sketch of a woman with long hair framing the image.

Why the 'Small' Accomplishments Matter When You Have a Chronic Illness

Living with chronic illness can make even the smallest things in life be a big accomplishment. When having a chronic illness, it can make everyday tasks something turn into something that is challenging, difficult, and even tiresome. Even self-care or getting up in the morning can be an accomplishment to someone with chronic illness, due [...]
A photo of the writer smiling in a hospital bed.

When a Child Noticed My TPN Backpack

I was on my way to the second of three doctor’s appointments. The first had not gone exactly as planned, and I was not particularly looking forward to the next two. “I like your backpack.” I heard a small, sweet voice say while I was waiting in a checkout line. The compliment took me aback [...]