When we experience dis-ease, there is a tendency to think in terms of absolutes — curable or incurable — partly due to Western medicine’s Biomedical Model, and partly due to modern society’s dualistic nature. Our experiences are lumped into black and white categories (good vs. bad, old vs. young, pretty vs. ugly, etc.), leaving no room for the gray areas where much of life unfolds.
The words “healing” and “curing” are used interchangeably, but their definitions could not be more different. Curing is a restoration of health, an absence of symptoms, and a remedy of disease. Healing, on the other hand, is a restoration of wholeness — not the level of wholeness before the diagnosis, but a restoration of wholeness that is new, different, and comparatively better than before the onset of disease. Healing is not the removal or cessation of symptoms, but rather an integrative process that transcends the physical and includes mental, emotional, and spiritual vitality and wellness.
Healing takes time.
I was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS), a "progressive and incurable" neurological disease, several years ago. I don’t intend to cure this disease; I intend to heal from it, which I have been doing for the past eight years.
The person I was before the onset of RSD/CRPS pales in comparison to the person I have become since the diagnosis, as I was forced to look within and change the way I was living my life. Hopefully, the person I am now will pale in comparison to the person I become eight years from now, because personal development has no real end. Healing tends to be an uncomfortable and lengthy process because it requires changes to a multitude of areas, including what you eat, drink, say, think, and do. It may require that you seek help from professionals as you break old, unhealthy patterns and create new and healthy ones.
I know that my time with mental health professionals and spiritual healers was invaluable, as they facilitated the changes I so desperately needed. It's an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, process but it's truly empowering because it sets you up with the tools you need to go forward and live a healthy, balanced, and whole life despite your physical condition.
Healing takes work.
Don’t get me wrong, curing is wonderful. I would love for modern medicine to come up with the magic, one-time cure for RSD/CRPS, a quick and permanent cessation of the symptoms I experience, but that unfortunately is not an option for me at the moment. Where we tend to go wrong is that our Western medical model stops at curing when healing is necessary to address the root causes of many of our ailments. Negative thought patterns, toxic relationships, poor diets, sedentary lifestyles, and poor stress management each are little drops in the raging waterfall that becomes the dis-ease that will drown your life. Committing to the healing process, even if a cure is available for you, is wonderful insurance for a healthy future.
Healing may be the cure.
Healing brings health, wholeness, and peace. RSD/CRPS is labeled as “incurable," but I don’t choose to limit myself to that prognosis. I’m not “un-healable,” and I choose to live my life with the notion that I will be healed, which is probably why I have reversed some of the disease’s progression over the last few years. All of my symptoms may never go away (anything is possible), but that doesn’t mean that I'll never be whole again. Don’t limit yourself to what others predict for your future. Break free and blaze a trail toward wholeness that no one ever expected to see. Take your mind off of the future cure and direct all of your attention and intentions on the healing that can happen now. I have a funny feeling that once healed, we may also be cured.