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When I Let My Son See What I Go Through With Chronic Pain

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Today I was due for a long run, but I wasn’t well. I had a headache and a migraine. They were both getting worse so I opted to take my medication which sometimes helps. My headache subsided but I wasn’t feeling all that great to kill my run today. About midway through, it finally hit me. I stepped off the treadmill and sat on the floor for a minute. I kept thinking, Why… why is this happening? There has to be a reason for all of this. Is it because I am strong enough to handle all of this? Am I really a chronic pain warrior? Is it because I can fight it through? I don’t feel like a warrior — what’s going on?

As it started to upset me, my son sees me with my head in my hands and says, “Mami, what’s wrong? Are you going to have an attack?” Now my partner and I decided to not really tell him everything I go through in detail because he worries and gets upset when he sees me in pain. While obviously I can’t hide some of my symptoms, for others I can. Today, I let him see what I go through. I told him my head was hurting a lot and it was interrupting my running, but that wasn’t going to stop me from continuing. I told him it felt like my brain was swelling and it felt like an elephant was sitting on it.

young boy kissing his mom's head
Gelcys’ son kissing her head.

“Are the little rocks in your brain shaking when you run?” he asked. No, I told him. That’s what he calls the brain tumor and ovoids I have in my brain when I showed him my brain MRI. “You have a lot of stuff wrong with you, Mami, but you never give up. How did you get so strong?” I decided I will not let these diseases beat me. I know I have the power to overcome and beat them all to the ground. Yes, it hurts, yes it’s tough and yes it makes me cry, but knowing that I am stronger than these diseases makes it worth it. “Wow, Mami, you are like a runner superhero. I want to be like you and never give up.” You never know who is watching and who might be inspired by your strength, your journey or your struggles. Keep going for your dreams and goals. Never ever give up on yourself or your goals.

Yes, at times it’s easier said than done. Believe me, I know that. When I feel like my strength reserves are running low, something always happens and they are charged right up. My little man got me through my 14-mile run today and I finished because of him. He gave me the strength and motivation I needed, because he believes in me so much, and was watching me very closely. I work hard to make him proud. I work hard so he sees what it takes to get to your dreams. Nothing in life is easy. When you are dealing with multiple chronic conditions it makes life five times harder, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in to your illnesses. You get up and lace your shoes to battle them because you inspire the little ones. They look up to you and want to be the superhero you are when they look at you.

The Mighty is asking the following: How would you describe your disability, disease or mental illness to a child? If you’ve done this before, tell us about that moment and the child’s reaction. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 13, 2016
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