Conversations with Disease

After several excruciatingly painful and profoundly frightening years of undiagnosed symptoms, I was diagnosed with a "progressive and incurable" neurological disease, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS), which is characterized by unrelenting pain that is disproportionate to the inciting event, usually an injury or trauma.

It started in my lower legs, and over time, the burning pain spread to every inch of all four limbs and beyond, coupled with other alarming symptoms, including uncontrollable muscle spasms and drastic skin color and temperature changes. I spent years fighting and struggling with dis-ease before I realized there had to be a better way. I found that better way by going within and searching my soul for the beautiful lessons hidden within the ugliness that can often acompany disease.

Inspired by Marianne Williamson’sA Return to Love, where she shares letters written by individuals with AIDS during one of her many workshops, I decided to start a conversation. This is a conversation with disease. A few years ago, it would have read VERY differently. Something like, “I hate you, stupid disease. The only good thing about you is that my parents gave me a puppy to make me feel better.” I’m sure RSD/CRPS’s response would have gone something like this, “I’m ruining your life, and it is hilarious. I’ve taken so much away from you already, and when I’m done, there will be nothing left.” Seven years later, the dialogue has changed.

What does your conversation sound like?

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