To Those Struggling
- 4 Posts
- Age 22
A lot of people ask me why I am often sick or in the hospital. Here is a link to a website full of information on the thing I like to refer to as my own personal storm cloud -- that which affects me most. It negatively affects the majority of my body -- brain, kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal system, and even my muscles and immune system.
The name of said storm cloud? Mitochondrial disease. Something rare but fierce.
Mitochondria supply the body with some 90% of the energy it uses on a daily basis. When these are dysfunctional, the effects can be devastating and often deadly. Thus far, I have had 11 mini strokes, sometimes I cannot eat -- I have had a nasogastric tube and now a gastrostomy tube surgically placed in my stomach for when my body literally cannot break down food. I have an irregular heartbeat, am often neutropenic and unable to fight off infections, and my bone marrow is dysfunctional.
Sometimes my muscles just stop working and I cannot walk, talk, or it is difficult to swallow or breathe. I have nearly died from simple colds and stayed in the hospital for months at a time. I take 9 potassium pills alone each day, not counting the various other vitamins and medicines to simply keep my body functioning at a tolerable level. All of this and more is what this one disease is capable of. It is progressive and incurable, and yet, there are many days when it is impossible to tell I have this. One minute I may be fine -- up and walking around smiling, and the next, I am fighting for my life. It can be silent but certainly deadly for many... But in some ways I am in fact lucky, because it has taught me so much.
I have befriended kids battling diseases far too aggressive, cruel, and unforgiving for their tiny bodies. But I have also seen these same children persevere and fight with their very souls all with a smile on their faces, spreading happiness to all with whom they came into contact as their bodies tried to kill them. I have lost more friends from the wards than I care to think about, seen more families torn apart by diseases that can often be so silent until they decide to scream all too loudly and destroy fragile bodies than should be allowed, and yet... again, I have been taught so much for which I am grateful. Humility, the power of kindness and positivity, and most importantly -- inner strength.
I lie here struggling through a flare up brought on by the stress of a lot of complicated things currently taking place in my life. I have dealt with abuse which I still deeply struggle to mention let alone discuss. And let me tell you, it is so easy to be angry at misfortune. It is very easy to be upset, frustrated, tired... easy to give up. I am at times extremely angry and frustrated -- beyond tired and upset. Oh, I absolutely wish I could give up sometimes. However...
As I lie here today, I cannot help but think of all the people I have met over the years who helped me focus on the beauty of other things to get through difficult times. I am thinking of the people by my side now encouraging me to keep going despite the fact that I am most certainly tired.
It is often through struggle that we learn life's most valuable and powerful lessons. But these are also the most difficult to learn, and I can promise you I still have so much more to tackle on my syllabus in this life course. It is frustrating and hard, no doubt.
However, my long-winded self-typed all of this to say: Please keep fighting through whatever battle you are currently or may soon be fighting -- be it silent or obvious.
I know in many ways how difficult it is to do, how frustrating and exhausting it feels, and how easy it is to simply want to make it all stop. I have been there. Heck, in more ways than I care to admit, I am STILL there. I often wonder how and why I am still alive.
But I look back on all those memories of the individuals I have seen fighting many different and difficult battles over the years, at those currently in my corner who carry me when my legs are too tired, and think about the people I love more than is probably healthy... I think about all of it, and what I have yet to see, experience, and LEARN; the love I have yet to give; the places to which I have yet to travel; the people I have yet to (hopefully) help in some way... and it helps me get back up and try -- to give it all I have until there is nothing left.
All I ask is that you try with me. Fight until you can fight no longer, until your very last breath. I am still fighting. I am still trying. I get angry and upset and often feel defeated. It will be difficult, absolutely. But keep going. You can do this. You are most certainly stronger than whatever is trying to hold you down.
I believe in you. And I am so darned thankful for those who believe in me and continue to do so, because they have held me up when I could not. Life can be a struggle, and it is okay to struggle. I constantly have to tell myself this. But don't you dare let it be the end.
Believe me when I say, there is a warrior within us all. There is not a storm coming, YOU are the storm -- the storm to level any battlefield filled with obstacles to chain you down. Keep fighting, keep living, keep trying. I struggle, I AM struggling, you struggle, we all struggle. But we all have the power to kick misfortune's butt. Please, fight with me...
I know I sometimes need words like these to help me keep going and know I am not alone when I am feeling down and hopeless. It helps to know people go through things too, and that struggling at times is normal. So, I wrote this because I am not the only one fighting some sort of battle -- be it health, family, relationship, financial-related, etc. I say this for you, just as much as myself. Life can be a real pain, but it does not have to be the only thing with a bite.
Remember, you can do this.