Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother. – Khalil Gibran
Around this time last year, I had brunch with a friend who encouraged me to approach my rehabilitation differently. She said she’d watched me struggling to cure myself and she believed I would be happier and more settled if I looked at the process as working to be healthy, strong, and able rather than cured. She said that the idea of a cure is not worth the stress or the emotional energy, especially since she had seen me very unhappy and trying with everything I had to cure myself of my disability.
She said to me (as other people have), ‘What does the idea of cure mean to you?’ and I responded (as I do when anyone asks), ‘Being a completely functioning normal person who can do everything that normal people can do.’ She said that no one has a normal and perfectly functioning body and that this fact was perfectly okay. She said that a cure should not be my reason to work and that I should work in order to be healthy. I understand her perspective and I knew she would have a strong opinion about it, but I know myself and I know that I am more motivated to do the work when I am working towards a cure rather than working for the sake of health and well-being. Health and well-being will happen as the cure happens.
The root of my friend’s constructive criticism was to be happy with who I am and to accept myself as I am (and where I am in my progress) regardless of how far I come in the process to heal myself. She said that the ideal I am working towards has driven me crazy and made me very unhappy, and that it’s not worth it to keep working with this mindset if it doesn’t do more good than harm.
Now, a year later, I still work with the intention to cure myself. My friend was right in that it sometimes makes me unhappy, but I know that I would be a lot more unhappy if I weren’t working to better myself. Now that I know that I can be cured and I have worked very hard for several years, there is no way I can go back or see the process in any other light. I have often asked myself, ‘Who with cerebral palsy wouldn’t want a cure? Who with arthritis wouldn’t want a cure? Who with diabetes wouldn’t want a cure?’ I suppose it’s sometimes easier to stay where you are or stay with what is familiar because it’s easier than changing or losing your identity, but this process has shown me that – with hard work, the right intentions, and the right information – change is possible and change actually happens. What unhappy or limited person wouldn’t want that hope if they could have it?
All of this leads me to ask: is this worth it? Yes it is. Working toward a cure and actually achieving results is worth the stress, frustration, exhaustion, loneliness, and despair that have accompanied my work to cure myself. If I did not experience these feelings through rehabilitating myself, I would experience them in other ways. Everyone goes through these emotions and setbacks in life. It’s part of being human.
The idea and physical evidence of a cure for cerebral palsy is worth absolutely everything. Everything.