Finding Your Flashlight With CRPS
By Guest Blogger Morgan Trevithick
Morgan experienced a CRPS diagnosis after doing something she loved. She was then surrounded by the darkness that CRPS can bring. What did it take for her to come out of the darkness? A flashlight. See what she means below.
Most people have passions, and even if they don’t admit it, there is always something that secretly brings them joy. This, for me, was running. I could have suffered the worst day of my life, but the second I heard my feet bounce on and off the pavement, all my stress dissipated. On July 8, 2015 I suffered an extreme running accident that lead to nearly every injury one person could possess. After about a year of complete immobilization and living my life unable to walk and in a boot and wheelchair, I was sent to a sports medicine doctor. I was immediately rushed into a bone scan and was diagnosed with CRPS Type 1. I can clearly remember how every cell felt in my body when looking into that doctor’s eyes being told I would never walk again. That day gasoline was thrown to the fire burning within me, and I was determined to prove him wrong. I have never been one to give up. I spent the next year in intense physical therapy working every afternoon after school to gain muscle, bone, and muscle-memory back. And if I had to choose one main lesson from that chapter in my life it would be: everything you have in life is a gift. It is a blessing to be able to move your toes, to walk, and to run. There are many people who would give up anything to have that, and I had to. I gave up my entire life as a typical teenager to fight for my life that I once lived to become my reality again.
Throughout these past two years of being pretty much bed- ridden at times, numerous colleagues, friends, and family have asked me questions along the lines of: “How are you?” “Where have you been?” Etc. There was something that all these people had in common besides empathy. This similarity was their struggle to understand. Now, to anyone out there who has a chronic illness, or have a loved one who does, you might relate. If not, stick with me. All these people, besides those who are honestly just nosy, genuinely wanted to know how I was doing. To most, you would think the answer is easy. When someone asks you if you are okay, you answer honestly. I obviously was not okay, but I never answered “No”. No, I was not okay. I was far from it. But, yes, I was going to be okay. Throughout these past two years living through this pitch black, never ending tunnel, I have taught myself how to use a flashlight and make my own light. When you are living with a chronic illness, you are completely blind to whether you will ever get better again. They diagnosed you with an illness with this miserable word “chronic” attached to it. And they didn’t just add that word for no reason. Chronic: a lifetime. You have that illness for your life. Or so they think.
So, throughout this journey I have erased that word from my illness and from my brain and found that flashlight. No, I didn’t just order a flashlight from Amazon and call it a day. It wasn’t that simple. I found that flashlight stored away in my heart and in my brain. I dug and dug through all that pain and worked for it. At one point, I found that flashlight, but it wouldn’t turn on. I needed batteries. I found these batteries in the hearts of others and their power to bring me positive energy. Throughout this long process of learning how to work that flashlight and put it to use in my life, I have learned that I may never feel comfortable being honest with those about how I feel. How do I really feel you may ask? Broken. Sick. Tired. Lost. That list could continue for years. But, when my flashlight is on, I feel blessed. That’s the only word that comes to my mind and that is okay. I just feel blessed. I feel thankful for the love and support I have been given. I feel thankful for the doctors and nurses who have spent so many nights working together to find the best solution for me to handle this pain. I feel thankful for myself. I feel thankful for those who hurt me and tore me down. And I feel thankful for those who patched me right back up. I feel thankful for this illness because it has taught me things that no one or nothing in this world could have taught me. It has taught me how to love others that aren’t loved. How to love someone that I don’t even know and give them my all. How to shower someone in support even when their problems seem trivial to me. How giving back and loving others takes my pain away, and how to make love in the silence. What is so amazing is that I have learned all of this from my illness. This illness is a part of who I am, and I am not going to shy away from that fact. I live every day fighting. Fighting to be well again, fighting for a minute where I can put my shoulders down and stop worrying. Fighting against this messed up body that I call mine. And I will be okay, and so will you.
Wake up every morning striving to make today great. Tomorrow will come in time, so focus on today. You were gifted another “today” for a reason. Don’t give up. You will always be stronger than you think you are. Do not let anyone hold you back or tell you that your dreams are unreachable, your standards are just higher than their eyes can see. Love will get you through anything and everything, so love someone today. Make that someone yourself. Power on your flashlight and allow your eyes to focus on all the color in this world. You will get through this, because I will too.