Will change your life. You will become stronger than you ever imagined. Your heart will expand with compassion. You will find true friends who will be your support. Your priorities will focus on life’s real purpose. Your new world will provide endless opportunities. You will find comfort in balance and patience. Your resilience will intensify. And you will be nourished by the power of faith.
My first memories of pain were when I was about seven years old. I remember waking up in the morning and struggling to get up out of bed, all the time wondering why every part of my body felt as stiff as a rock. The house was always cold and I would scramble up the hall to the floor heater where I would turn my backside to the iron grate on the floor and start to feel the warm heat make the muscles in my back feel like they were coming alive again. Yes, the pain was agonizing, but what was worse was that I wasn’t supposed to talk about it! I had been told that there was NOTHING wrong with me and that actually the pain was just the fact that I didn’t want to go to school or I wanted attention or I was a “H-y-p-o-c-h-o-n-d-r-i-a-c”. A Hypochondriac!? I didn’t even know what that word meant, but I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to be!
So I was very careful never to talk about my pain. I knew that I loved school and I got plenty of attention from my teacher and friends. There were Barbie, and Mike and Judy and Peter and Jim…oh and Kyle and Devra. We would skip to school, jumping over the cracks (just to make sure that we wouldn’t break our mother’s back) laughing and talking a mile a minute. My pain wasn’t as bad when I was with my friends and doing things like playing hop scotch or four square. I didn’t know it at the time, but many of the same things—being around my friends and being outside getting exercise, still work to help reduce my pain today, but now I don’t have to feel as embarrassed as I did back in elementary school.
I never was quite sure why I wasn’t supposed to talk about my pain. I think it had something to do with the fact that pain was a sign of weakness. But that didn’t make sense because I wasn’t weak! I hurt day in and day out and I never bothered anyone by complaining! Ok, once in a while I would have my picture taken and I wouldn’t smile, but it’s hard to stand still and smile when you feel like someone has just dropped you off a ten story building. NO! I wasn’t weak and I wasn’t a “H-y-p-o-c-h-o-n-d-r-i-a-c”! I just hurt all the time.