Painful past, painfree future?

It was an innocent question. One that most people could probably answer without thinking too hard. The intention behind the question was good, in fact, it was to be helpful.

When was the last time you felt healthy for a period of at least 2 years?

I sat in silence. I thought about it and a wave of depression overwhelmed me. For all of my adult life I have been unhealthy. There was a very brief few months when I was doing well when I hit my goal weight and I thought things were going well but things quickly took a turn and my body couldn’t maintain it. In fact I got worse after that for a while.

When I finally answered I was honest and said that I can’t recall a time that I was healthy for 2 years, at least not as a an adult. I was met with an even sadder realization – I was told that that’s not normal. That most people live in a normal healthy state or can at least recall a period of their life when they were healthy.

Ever since that day when that conversation took place I try to imagine what life would be like if I were healthy. What it would mean to wake up without pain, to have the energy to do what’s needed for my day, to not cope with depression and anxiety and to not worry about medical bills for all the issues I face. I would give anything for one day free of all of those things. I can’t imagine a period of 2 years living that way.

Today I went for a walk. It was difficult. Every step was painful. It was a pain that won’t go away. I will live with this pain for the rest of my life. I’ve been told so by countless doctors. I’m only 38. As I walked today I wondered what that means. That if I’m limping in pain at 38 what will this pain look like at 48, 58 or 68. If it’s already limiting my mobility and there’s nothing the dr can do to fix it, what hope can there be for my future. What hope can there be for a healthy future?

While I’d like to think that there’s a healthy future ahead for me, but it’s so hard to imagine when the facts are what they are. It’s hard to imagine when all I know is pain and sickness. I’d love to think 2 years from now someone can ask me that question and I could answer it differently, but today the pain is too great so unless tomorrow miraculously changes my condition, I don’t think it’s likely to happen.

How does one move forward knowing that? Knowing that their future will likely be as painful as their past? How does one find any hope in the midst of pain?

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