Strength Through A Painful Bone Condition
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Richard is a neighbor of mine who has overcome incredible challenges and sustained a strong and cheerful attitude in the face of a painful skeletal condition. Richard broke his leg twice when he was in high school, and the first fracture was in the hip.
He was admitted into the hospital and went to physical therapy, but after only a few months he fell again and broke the same leg in a different place - He was admitted to the hospital once more and a metal plate was used to hold his bones together and aid with the healing process. This was a strange double-break, and he knew that I have debilitating arthritis, so he initially thought that perhaps he had arthritis as well. This was obviously a very different experience, so I encouraged him to go to the hospital for a proper diagnosis. However, everywhere he went, he was prescribed antinflammatory medications as a treatment for arthritis until he began experiencing multiple fractures within a very small period of time (Perhaps because the doctors just took his word for it without a serious evaluation). Regardless of the anti-inflammatory regimen, there were times when his bones would suddenly break even when he was bedridden and immobile. Richard was experiencing intense pain, so the doctors prescribed high dosages of pain killers, but they did not yet recognize the actual origin of his problem for some time. Richard was my friend, so I did some research online and learned that a couple of kids had experienced something similar – In fact, one of the kids had fifty fractures within six years, and they began when she was an infant.
He was admitted to one of the best hospitals in the area when it was discovered that he had a condition known as “Osteogenesis Imperfecta”, also referred to as brittle bone disease, which weakens the skeleton and increases the likelihood that fractures will occur. The symptoms may include weak bones that fracture easily, deformation, loose joints, poor muscle tone, short stature, and respiratory problems – These symptoms vary from person-to-person, but his biggest challenge was with the constant fractures. He soon found himself standing at one moment and suddenly feeling weak and falling in the next. Richard underwent a variety of surgeries to connect the fractured bones and correct the deformations that began to occur over time, and he was often in the hospital for weeks at a time. During one particularly intense surgery they needed to work on both legs at the same time because the rod of one leg had moved out of place while a new fracture on the other leg had just occurred. He was constantly in an incredible amount of pain, but he was able to overcome these challenges with strength, fortitude, and without complaint. He had a strong spirit that couldn’t be broken, and when many others would have fallen into states of anger, depression, or despair, he persisted in his will to heal and return to a stable life. I once asked him where he found his inner strength, and he told me that he simply held a strong conviction that he would one day walk again without pain.
He explained that he was grateful that he had the opportunity to go to school, start a business, and begin raising a family rather than being crippled for his childhood and adolescent years, and this gave him a sense of strength and a vision for the future. He explained that he was able to sustain his will to live through remaining focused on the positive aspects of his life – The things for which he was grateful. He was grateful for his wife, his children, and the opportunity to have completed his education and to have launched his business prior to experiencing the worsening of his condition, which put him in the hospital multiple times during his adult life. Furthermore, Richard remained resolute that while he was experiencing pain due to his condition, he saw many others in the hospital who were in far more pain than he and so he held compassion in his heart while remaining focused upon his vision of a return home to his family and his recovery from his painful condition. Since his first major injuries he has begun receiving the correct treatment, and he is happy in knowing that his diagnosis had been corrected and that he will recover with time.
The Steps that Richard Took:
1. He focused upon gratitude for the positive aspects of his life.
2. He remained focused on a positive vision for the future of his life – Returning to his family and walking again without pain.
3. He recognized that there were others who were experiencing more suffering than he – Developing compassion for others.
- Anonymous Contributor