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How We Break Out of the Prison of Chronic Disease

In Prison for Crimes We Didn’t Commit

In the filmThe Shawshank Redemption, protagonist Andy Dufresne is locked in a prison cell for a crime he didn’t commit — by forces beyond his control, you might say.

Like Andy, we, too, have been locked up by forces beyond our control — in this case, our disease.

Andy’s intellect and intelligence can only get him so far in coping with his double life sentence, but he finds something deep down within himself that informs his approach to life behind bars: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy dying,” he says.

It’s a quote we can all reflect upon each day to make our lives, and the lives of those around us, better.

Finding the Hammer to Chip Our Way Out

With a tiny rock hammer of hope and a plan for a better life, Dufresne chips away at the seemingly impregnable walls of his cell, finds his way through the maze of the prison, and finally uses a sewage pipe to escape into the cold but cleansing rain of his new life.

For those of us with chronic disease, our attitude, education, and faith can only get us so far. We must each figure out our own rock hammer — something that at first might seem insignificant relative to our disease — and begin to scratch and scrape and chip our way through our cell walls.

Then it’s on to the bigger task of negotiating our way through the inner workings of the disease: How do we make our way through the guts of living with a chronic condition?

Some of us are still in the cell. Some of us are looking for that hammer. Some of us are still finding our way around the complexities of what the disease is doing to us.

To be the most successful in living with a chronic illness — something that each of the advocates I addressed that day can list as an accomplishment — we have to slog our way to finally live the life we dream of.

Showing Others How They Can, Too

Initially, the reward may be only a cold rain with flashes of bright lightning to lead the way. But soon, a new dawn breaks and, while we’ll never escape the sentence handed down upon us, we can live a new life. We can still have hopes and dreams and, most important to me, we can be models that show there is a way out.

Julie Cerrone and the 90-odd other bloggers and advocates who attended HealtheVoices 2019 have dug their way out. They have crawled through the muck and, most importantly, they have mapped the way for others to find a sense of freedom — even while living with chronic disease.

Wishing you and your family the best of health.

Cheers,

Trevis

My book,Chef Interrupted, is available on Amazon. Follow me on the Life With MS Facebook page and on Twitter, and subscribe to Life With Multiple Sclerosis.

Photo: Alamy

Last Updated:4/27/2016
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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Date: 06.12.2018, 13:45 / Views: 45131