I think the scariest thought is not that I have to live with chronic illness now, but that I can trace my symptoms back years and never noticed it. Perhaps I never wanted to notice it.
My life’s purpose was the hustle - to get good grades, be the best, get a good job, and work hard to pay my parents back for the tremendous sacrifices they have made for us. Everyone struggles from time to time. I’d get over it.
Noble? Perhaps. But it’s true that you can’t help others when you are running on empty. And I got to the point where I had not only run out of gas but I’d jumped out of the car and started pushing it up the hill only to keep going.
A passing statement uttered by my doctor has made me pause and kept me up at nights. I was lamenting how suddenly all of this occurred to me, what I had possibly done wrong, and was there anything I could do to fix it. If it began suddenly, it meant that there was a beginning, a reason; and reasons have answers and all beginnings have an end — don’t they?
“If you think back, you might see that you’ve had issues all along.”
I did. He was right. But I forgot them for a reason. I avoided them purposefully, ignored them faithfully. Because I didn’t want to live a life focused on the struggle. Not then, and not now.
As I lie awake again tonight, completely exhausted and unable to sleep, I’m brought back again to those words. And the memories I had eagerly attempted to erase mock me. I should’ve seen this coming. If I had just taken better care of myself, maybe I could have defied my genetics, my fate.
But then, I realize that I have the last laugh. Because I am here; in spite of the pain, in spite of my past, and in spite of my problems.
I am here and I am stronger than ever.
I am mighty.
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