Dear Chronic C. Pancreatitis,
I remember being thirteen. I remember being in pain and not knowing why. I remember the months and years that led up to the startling discovery that, welp, it was not gastritis after all. You know, it all seems quite funny to me now. My body had to house you in the name of gastritis for seven years until I’d finally know you for who you really were. Chronic Calcific Pancreatitis.
You made my childhood difficult. No matter how hard I tried to be anything else, at the end of the day, I was that fragile, weak bodied girl whose family pampered her too much to let her go to school at the first symptoms of an illness. I wonder if you ever felt insulted when all those doctors reduced you to the harmless label of gastritis despite the tremendous pain you made me cope with.
But how do I write about that pain? I’m not really sure how I can squash the sort of pain that had me falling to my knees and praying for quieter days into a 500 worded letter. You see, the problem is that it is kind of hard to find the sweet spot where my words don’t exaggerate the trauma nor does it do injustice to the experience by making it seem any less traumatic than what it really was. I remember my body flaring up as you sent me to painful shivers and blanketed me with the absurd sweat drops of a terrifyingly cold body. I tried to spew you out. I tried to get to know you. But no matter, how often, you materialized into the pain, sweat and tears, I failed to understand you. All of us did.
When some years later the results showed, tough, opaque words that were supposed to explain to me your real identity, I felt happy. Despite it all, I felt relieved and grateful. Because uncertainty was the worst and I went from sensitive to resilient in the matter of a few seconds it took anyone to read the results. Thank you.
This was our journey. A journey, the details of which are better left unexplained. Sometimes, pain leaves you with no other choice than to brave it through. And I had no choice other than coping when my body crumbled under your pressure. Today, I understand the value of good health and happiness because of the pain, you inflicted on me. While enduring the pain was hell, overcoming it was equal heaven. There’s nothing more beautiful than recovery. Thank you.
You were a bunch of paradoxes. I was cold and sweaty with your hellfire burning my insides. I was blinded with the pain but I started seeing clearly with my eyes closed. You taught me how to walk, run and sprint in the dark. You taught me that worse never comes to the worst, that I’m far too good at keeping going. You helped me pull off the magical feat of toughing it through without so much as an outward twitch or crack. You helped me master the art of nonchalantly shrugging my way through anything. Thank you.
If it weren’t for you, I’d never have listened to many stories, never would have met many wonderful people, never would have enjoyed the comfort of being looked after. You set off a lot of reactions in my life to which I’m eternally grateful. You showed me the steps to love, beauty and happiness. If it weren’t for you, I’d never have the thrill of being the storyteller of an adventurous experience to which only I know the details. Thank you.
Thank you for showing me that people can be kind, that most of us have good intentions at heart. Thank you for teaching me that surgeons are not that ruthless after all. Thank you for showing me the inside of an OT. Thank you for the beautiful fever dreams you gave me in an ICU. Thank you for the knife that cut me into two. Thank you for the 12inch scar which I’ll cherish to the end of my days.
You were never kind. But thank you for the fast track evolution. I’m not who I was. But I’m a better person today.