By: Carolynn Cheatham
“You’re too young to have this.”
“OK, then fix it, please.”
“We don’t know how.”
The common & frequent questions:
How did you develop a nerve problem?
Were you in an accident?
The answers, always the same:
I don’t know.
The doctors can’t figure it out.
No accident, I just woke up with it.
There’s nothing they can do.
The usual response:
Oh honey, I am so sorry.
Bless your heart.
You’re too young for this.
Sympathy, not empathy.
Few can see the good that has come out of it.
That I have matured & am stronger.
Maybe I am too young for this
But I am not too young to die serving my country,
Or have a child, in or out of wedlock;
To get drunk & make the choice to drive a car & kill someone
in the accident I cause.
I can incur thous&s of dollars in debt, buying worthless things I don’t need,
Or get caught up in the fashion trends of the more-skin-revealed-the-better or
I could die trying to make myself look like the “st&ard” –
I am not too young to have an eating disorder.
I am not too young to have lots of boyfriends & risk STDs.
Why then am I too young for health problems?
My body isn’t old enough?
Disease & distress are reserved for the aged?
What a great future I am looking at 30 years from now when the “typical” health issues kick in. I can’t wait!
They say growing old is not for the faint hearted – what about growing up?
Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m not mature enough to h&le all this. Maybe they don’t want me to experience what they do or what they fear.
But if they experience what I do – what’s the big deal?
My heart is whole & my soul rejoices.
I am stronger, healthier than I’ve ever been.
I know who I am – the disease does not define me
Neither do the clothes, or the car, or the job;
It’s my heart.
I gave it to God 13 years ago & I’m not about to ask for it back.
Yes, these momentary troubles are tough.
I shed tears – some of frustration. Some of anger, & some of desperation.
But I know who walks beside me, holds my h&, & offers comfort & peace
I hate this pain sometimes, but I don’t hate Him.
Carolynn Cheatham is 21 years “young” & has dealt with various forms of chronic pain for the past 4 years. Despite the daunting future, she relies on her Savior who holds her in His h&s & helps her to focus on the important aspects of life & give everything to Him. She lives in metro-Atlanta, Georgia with her supportive & loving family & friends.
She shares, “I have heard the words, ”You’re too young to have chronic pain,” spoken with pity by friends & family, & in frustration by doctors. This poem was written just after such an encounter, only this time I was the one speaking out of frustration. Apparently, I am not too young to face chronic pain because “Here I Am!” I hope this puts my life & experiences into prospective & speaks to fellow ‘young” patients.'” She can be reached by email.