It’s been over a year since I first felt a knife plunge into my chest that first night, or that’s how it felt anyway. I remember jumping onto my bed late at night after a wonderful. I laid on my back and smiled goofily at the ceiling about something. When I turned to grab my phone to reply to a friend, the pain I felt sent me gasping for air. I immediately curled into a ball and clutched at my side, the world around me becoming nothing but darkness and pain. I’ve been through open heart surgery, and yet I have never experienced that much pain before. That night, that moment, is when everything started.

After such an overbearing amount of pain, I continued to experience stabs at my chest through my days. At first, it would happen every couple weeks but, after some time, the pain became a constant reminder that I will never be the same. After no longer than three months, it stopped feeling as if someone would randomly sneak up on me and stab my chest but it started feeling as if someone was standing in front of me holding the knife in my chest twisting it and turning it so the pain never ceased. It was torture.

It’s been over a year since the pain became a constant factor of my everyday life. It came to the point where the symptoms of such pain no longer surprises me. I could say I’m used to it by now, but I know better than to think it is right just because it’s “normal” to me. A kid who gets beaten by his dad every week could look you in the eye and say he’s used to it, but that doesn’t make the pain go away…and it definitely does not make it okay.

For a year my team of specialists worked at finding a source of all this pain I was feeling, still nothing. For a year they ran tests and authorizes x-rays and all types of scans, still nothing. For a year I drank a handful of different medications each day in hopes of making the pain go away, still nothing.

Two weeks ago, I had one of my specialists try a kind of injection that would help my pain. It helped. For once, something helps significantly after my pain had worsen to a degree I could not bare. There was finally a huge amount of hope that my team of specialists could make the pain go away. I finally could look my father in his eyes and tell him everything was going to be alright and mean it because my doctors were going to fix me, again.

Today, I go in to see one of my specialists to get an update and see what I could do next to make the percentage of relief significantly larger and permanent. But, today, I was told my pain is permanent. There’s no way to make it completely vanish; there’s no way to give me permanent relief; there’s no way to get me back to “normal”.

I felt my world blacken into nothing but emptiness and pain once more as I did that first night. I physically felt the hope I had slowly drain out of my system and get replaced with sorrow and despair. I couldn’t believe my ears. Right when there had been such a high chance of me getting a regular life back, it was ripped into shreds right before my eyes.

And, here, I ask this:

What would you do? If you knew the nausea that made you skip meals for two whole days at a time, the dizziness that sent you walking into walls and falling down stairs, the episodes of blacking out that caused you to hit your head and potentially send you into a fatal car accident, the handful of pills you had to take every morning and night, and the everlasting pain in your chest…was permanent.

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