Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Myth of the Quick Fix

Three years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.  "Chronic" is a word that denotes time and duration.  In the case of my conditionwhich is incurableI will remain sick for the rest of my natural life.  Remissions are possible, but uncommon.  Thankfully my illness is not terminal, and it may or may not be progressive, depending on who you ask.

Many aspects of my condition have remained unspoken up until this point.  And some will remain so.  Finally though, my voice will have a space.  This space.  To begin to whisper what I've always been too afraid to say.

The first year after being diagnosed, I lived in somewhat pleasant denial.  With only intermittent panic and 0% chance of acceptance.  "I will take this medicine/have this surgery/do this treatment, and be fixed," I told myself.  "My life will start again, once I push this out of the way."

The words "chronic" and "incurable" only began sinking in after a year of failed treatments and procedures that actually only worsened my symptoms.

It turns out my life can't "begin" only after this is fixed.  Because then it will never start.  I have to build my life around my aches and pains and flares and sorrow.  I've been piecing it together ever since, Humpty Dumpty style.

I used to hold tightly to the idea of the "quick fix."  That comfort is just a click away.  Actually though, life doesn't promise an instantaneous solution to every hitch in the road.  Back before electricity, the internet, microwaves, and sliced bread, I think less people depended on or expected a quick fix because less was available to them.

I'm glad that actual quick fixes do exist.  The only trouble with them is that I've started to expect them at every turn.  And, it's a lesson I want to spare you from learning on your own, that some things stay broken.  Just because.