There are things in this life that makes no sense to me. Terrorism, horror movies, and the coyote from Loony Tunes are three things that I’ll never understand. However absurd most seem though, I can usually find a reasoning in some way even if it is a completely absurd way of thinking. I can understand on some level why there is terrorism, horror movies, and the coyote’s obsession with the road runner. However there is one thing I have yet to understand, to be able to grasp as to the reasoning behind it, how it picks its victims and why sometimes it can be defeated while other times it can’t. That thing is disease and whether its something that you’re born with like a Congenital Heart Disease or something that just occurred out of nowhere like so many cancers, I don’t understand it.
Its victims have no profile. It affects the rich, the poor, the young, the old, the not-even-born. It doesn’t choose its victims based on nationality or race or even religion. It just shows up one day and a handful of people’s lives change in a blink of an eye. The victims I think is what bothers me the most, they fight an invisible monster trying to take their lives with no true knowledge as to how to defeat him besides to pray, wait, and listen to doctors that sometimes aren’t even sure themselves. I don’t understand and I’m afraid I never will.
I was born with a disease that kills so many when they are still children and babies. So why did I survive? What was done differently with me, why am I here? These are questions that anybody who has survived a deadly disease asks themselves because you can’t understand “why” because there is no logical reasoning behind it.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that there is approximately 7,000 rare diseases affecting 30 million Americans and half of those 30 million Americans are children who are just trying to grow up. Author Cayla Mills once wrote, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”, I don’t remember being strong as a child fighting a disease. I remember visits to the hospital, that horrible blood work having to be done in the middle of the night, and lots of stuffed animals. I was told I didn’t get to drink for several hours after my surgery and my dad would bring in ice cream and stirred it until it melted so I had something to drink. I don’t remember that though, I remember the fun parts and I don’t remember being strong, I was just a kid I didn’t even understand what I was fighting. No the strength lied in my parents and their ability to treat me and love me like it was just a normal day. I was five, I didn’t understand what it meant to have open heart surgery but they did, that’s strength. I remember my mom telling me one of the first times she seen my dad cry was at the beginning of my first open heart surgery. I fell asleep in his lap and he had to go lay me down on the operating table. My mom still says she didn’t know how he did it but I do, it’s because he was strong and at that moment that strength was all he had.
I don’t understand things a lot of the time. Common core education, child abuse, and war, I will always shake my head at. I won’t pretend to understand why these things happen or need to be done but usually a person can find a main objective traumatic childhood, over-controlling governments…most things you can back step to an underlying cause or point but not rare diseases. Diseases that come out of nowhere, one day your baby is fine and the next they have blue lips, or bruises that aren’t disappearing, or something that just isn’t right and then before you know it, you’re going to the ER and then being rushed to another speciality hospital and then you hear those words that forever changes you, your life, and everything you once believed in.
Disease can’t be arrested for its crimes, it can’t be detected sneaking into the country at night, and sometimes it can’t be killed or fixed and there is no reasoning behind it. So today, in this column, I’m taking a little of a political stance. It’s not republican, it’s not democrat, it can’t be categorized as conservative or liberal. It’s a simple plea, this year in 2017 when you decide to donate, to vote, or to walk for a cause, choose disease. Choose childhood cancer, Alzheimer’s, or Congenital Heart Disease, anything really but its time that we start fighting something that nobody truly has control over and that’s disease. It’s time to focus our efforts to healing and praying, to saving our children, our parents, and our countrymen. 30 million people in the United States will be fighting a rare disease this year, some will make it and some will be casualties but the killer, the disease won’t be punished until we start focusing on it and curing it all. So I urge each and everyone to become more aware, become more generous, and become more helpful in the fight against disease, because you never know who its next victim will be.