Regardless of what you’re going through, I can confidently say that life has a way of getting us to wear we need to be – both spiritually and physically. We just need to believe that it’s never the ending; it’s always the beginning.
Health is something that we take for granted because we never fully understand its value until it’s gone. When I lost my health, I began a journey into discovering who I really am. Here’s my story about how chronic illness changed my life. (If you’d like to read the full article that was published on the Good Men Project blog, click here.)
My childhood was wonderful. My photo albums are filled with bright and happy times. I felt secure with two awesome parents, an amazing brother and a great group of friends. Back then, I was an avid weight lifter, snowboarder, skateboarder, paint-baller and volleyball player. In volleyball, I racked up numerous medals in the high school, regional, and varsity circuits. I attended nationals in club volleyball, and snagged a silver and bronze medal in provincial beach volleyball tournaments. It was the one sport I thought I’d play well into my 40s. However, life seemed to have other plans for me.
The first experience with darkness came when my father was given just a few months to live. I was 14 years old, and at that age, it was extremely difficult to comprehend. For the first time in 14 years, I was without my guiding light. Losing the most loving and caring father in the world at such a pivotal age was devastating to me. It made the rest of my teenage years more difficult than I had ever imagined.
Following high school, I ventured to a new city, and attended university with plans of becoming a police officer. Upon graduation, I had visions of becoming a husband and father. I thought that life was in the palm of my hand. This is when I met darkness for the second time.
My health journey began with annoying muscle cramps, and then progressed to debilitating gastrointestinal, immunological, neurological, and psychiatric symptoms. After pleading my case to multiple specialists, I met a neurologist from Hamilton’s Neuromuscular Clinic in Canada. Thankfully, he was eager to do more specialized testing, and after a decade of searching, my intuitions were validated as I was finally diagnosed with a rare disorder called Isaac’s syndrome, or immune-mediated neuromytonia. Although many of these symptoms can be attributed to my muscle disorder, I’m currently embarking on yet another journey of diagnostic testing.
Each step of my journey was full of challenging times, but I realize that I was unknowingly on an expedition of self-awareness and improvement. Although I lost many things along the way – a stable income, athletic talents and the freedom to do what I want – I gained something much more valuable: peace of mind. I became conscious of myself and I feel extremely blessed that I was able to go through something so transformative while having the ability to become someone I truly admire.
It is through these life experiences that I’ve been able to draw strength, wisdom and a desire to help others. Whether someone is struggling with a relationship, a medical issue, or life in general, I feel genuinely interested in helping out. With an interest in nutrition and exercise, as well as spirituality, my mission is to bring my own experiences and daily wisdom to the world – one post at a time. Adversity is inevitable, but it’s how we choose to deal with adversity that determines who we are as people.