The gatherings continue to be an integral part of my pain management plan. It doesn't stop the hurting or help me regain mobility, but it's high on my list of things that renew me, which is a key element of the coping process. Few things compare to the power of witness.
Work is not our identity; we are so much more. The personal qualities we brought to our jobs are what continue to make us whole and worthwhile. Put work aside for now and take a look inside yourself. You'll discover you never stopped being valuable.
From the outside, and by most objective measures, Matthew appears healthy and strong. But nearly half of his 18 years have been spent in a private, personal hell. Matthew's struggle impacts our entire family but the emotional anguish which his mom, sisters, grandparents and I endure, can't come close to approximating the nerve pain he suffers.
Ostensibly, our son is a normal teenager. But beneath his mischievous grin, charm and almost disarming good looks, he hides a debilitating and constant burning in his left foot which caused him to miss all of middle school and the first two years of high school.
A friend told me once that a parent is only as happy as their least happy child. When one of your kids is battling a chronic, debilitating disease, the limitations on that happiness becomes abundantly clear.
I understand how people can become so desperate for relief that they will try just about anything. After all, when traditional avenues are all but exhausted, what choice does a patient really have? All our son wants is relief from his debilitating pain so he can enjoy the normal life of a teenager. Every day his mom and I pray that something will finally work so we can, at long last, lift the darkness and bring him back into the light.