On Letting Joy and Pain Coexist
Last weekend, my cousin, sister-in-law, and I had a girls’ night out. We picked a spot in a cute, historic town, ordered espresso martinis, desserts, and cheered a summer well spent and our not-so-little cousin turning 21.
I cherish moments spent with my family, for I understand how blessed I am to consider these people my friends. Some of my best-kept memories are found within the stories I share with them, and that night wasn’t any different. We laughed and filled our bellies. The woman at the table next to us said she was “just loving us so much.”
Earlier that day, I didn’t have any intention of going. In the days leading up to our plans, I developed a mysterious pain on the right side of my head and face. I couldn’t pinpoint its source, but I was confident this was out of the ordinary. My temple hurt, my teeth ached, my head throbbed, and ibuprofen and acetaminophen did not help.
That morning, I did the worst thing anyone could do when mysterious pain presents itself — I searched on Google. My anxiety triggered when I looked for the worst-case scenario and saw words like “brain tumor” and “seek medical attention immediately.” It was too much to handle, and despite knowing it probably wasn’t a brain tumor, I broke down.
I’d like to think I carry life’s load well, but every once in a while it becomes too heavy for me to bear. I falter. I rest my head in defeat and choose to sulk in the hard realities that enter my life. But there are moments of joy to be had — moments of laughter and loving that are worth every ounce of pain.
That night, I chose to go out despite my mysterious pain. With SMA, there is always going to be something that will try to hold me back from living my life. I must be mindful and choose my outings cautiously.
And when I do, I put a smile on my face, become present with those I’m surrounded with, and enjoy the moment in front of me. It’s a humbling experience — one that teaches me to be gentle with others, for I never know the battles they face. But with a family I love and cherished memories, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.