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How Finding Humor in My Bad Experiences Helps Me Keep Moving Forward

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The other day my mom and I were in the car and I had one of my “quiet ride revelations,” which is to say that often I think of the most random things in a silent car while staring out the window watching scenery fly past me. This revelation was the fact that I am only 26 years old but I have already had so many different medical problems and experiences with doctors, procedures and surgeries that they have all blended together to the point where I forget I have been through some things. At the times I was going through these experiences I would have sworn that there was no way I would forget a single detail about it because they were very unpleasant experiences, but this turned out not to be the case in most situations.

I started to reminisce with my mom on that car ride, remembering for instance my Chiari decompression and neck fusion surgery, which as you can expect was quite a painful thing to have gone through. I didn’t forget about the surgery, but I had forgotten about the little details, in particular the fact that after my surgery, when I was staying in the Ronald McDonald house recovering, I caught a very nasty bug that was going around and, let’s just say… nothing was staying in me at either end. At the time I felt humiliated and desperate, but thinking back on it now I laugh! It isn’t really funny, but I can’t help but see the humor in the fact that I always have such bad luck, even way back then.

Another experience with bad luck I reminisced with my mom about is my tethered cord surgery. I didn’t forget the fact that I got an infection down to my spinal cord, but I had forgotten the events that led up to me having to have that surgery revised and end up in the ICU for days after. With the help of my mom I recalled how a plastic surgeon I went to about my wound (recommended by my neurosurgeon) did not really think there was anything wrong with the wound, and then he poked at it and fluid came gushing out, even getting on his shoes. Now, at the time I was not feeling very good at all, so this wasn’t funny to me, but thinking back on it now I find it hilarious – it is almost something you would see on a sitcom.

These are only two instances of the overwhelming amount of procedures and surgeries I have undergone in my short life, and that fact astounds me. I take for granted the intricate behind-the-scenes details of these experiences. My mind weeds out the unimportant details and I am left, in general, remembering the main outline of things I have been through, that at times gets hazy in itself.

When I was going through these experiences I was depressed and in pain, I was humiliated and overwhelmed, and none of it was funny. I am truly glad I can look back at these horrible experiences now, laugh about them and joke about having such terrible luck. I know that unpleasant things I go through today will one day be a source of humor, and that is part of the reason I am able to keep moving forward.

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Thinkstock photo via yuryRumovsky.

Originally published: October 23, 2017
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