Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9/11, Heroes and Me

I have been thinking a lot the past few days about the heroes of 9/11.  I am awed by the hearts of those who ran into the WTC and those who stormed the cockpit of Flight 93.  I can only hope that I would show such grace and courage if given the opportunity to save a life.  I admire the heroes who choose service to others as their life's work - fire fighters, first responders, police officers, military men and women - and I admit that I don't have it in me to serve in one of those careers.

But I am learning to give myself a little more credit for a different kind of courage.  The quiet kind of courage that those of us with chronic pain and incurable illnesses show in somewhat smaller ways every day, simply by doing what has to be done, continuing to live life, getting on with it.

Don't sell yourself short: it takes courage to choose medical treatments that make you sick in hopes that disability will be stalled and others won't have to care for you; it takes a unique kind of bravery to give yourself injections, swallow those pills, go for infusions when you know the side effects will soon follow.  It requires a brave heart to pretend that you aren't frightened by the statistics - that the average rheumatoid arthritis patient's life is shortened by 10 years- or by the facts - that any simple infection could be life-threatening, or that in spite of all your best efforts, you could be living life from a wheelchair.

Some days, it takes the heart of a lion to rise from your bed, take your pain meds, and fight to have a "normal" day.  It would be so much easier to succumb to the depression, the pain, the fatigue.  But what kind of life would that be?  It takes heart and strength and bravery to live a life painted with fear and pain and loss.

So, let's give ourselves a little credit - we may not be heroes ... but then again, maybe we are.


Rhonda said...

What a wonderful, heartfelt blog. I read with tears as your words filled my heart. We are met so often by those who fail to understand and then today when I needed it most I happened upon your blog. It does indeed take courage to continue to live life in the face of chronic illness. Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou. Your words have reached all the way across the world. I am in New Zealand.

These words are the ones so many of us need to hear as we deal with the emotional side effects of RA.

Gentle healing to you.

In gratitude,

deb aka murphthesurf said...

What a touching post. There are many types of heroes in this world and living with chronic pain and illness with grace is definitely one type of hero. Often people have no clue what we go through on a daily basis...heck on a minute to minute basis for that matter. This post will surely give others the courage to carry on with a sense of pride in what we do on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

I hate that there are so many of us who suffer in silence but am humbled by the knowledge that there really are others who know exactly what we're going through and what it does to us mentally and physically. It can't be described adequately and even those closest to us don't begin to understand what it takes to just get through the days. Thanks for being there, keep on blogging and stay strong!