Don't Live in the Past As Nothing is Forever Fated
Published: 2009-07-25 - (Updated: 2019-03-06)
Imagine that each night of your life, for years and years to come that your night would end in a fresh nightmare.
We have all at one point or another experienced the unpleasant touch of a dream haunting us in our sleep. Maybe something that we might have experienced that frighten us or something that etched its imprint into our minds. Just something from our experiences that had our subconscious quiver in acknowledge but we didn't quite get it. A subconscious fiasco that was left unbraced and disregarded and we realized it in the sand man's realm.
Now imagine these dreams of lifetimes of experience and questions to be a gateway to some truth. To a child it's just a nightmare of jumbled images. Imagine it happening to you since you were five, with barely the experience to think on your own. It has become routine to wake each night with a new or re-occurring dream that was lead by the insanity of pain that trampled through my mind. Yes, this is my life. Confusion and fear were my sword and shield growing up. Not understanding why I was made to suffer became an ordinary question for me. Some days, the headaches that would confront me made moving an impossible mission. Crying never helped, it just hurt more. Moving made me see stars... literally.
Now Imagine Asking Yourself
"Why me? What did I ever do to deserve this"
I was a fairly average kid, a bit quiet, curious, I played outside and ate fruit loops and watched cartoons, and hated beans.
My mother was a single parent who tried the best she could for my sister and I.
My grandparents practically programmed me with respect and honor.
It was a simple life. I was fairly happy, except of course, going to sleep was something I truly disliked. Well, not so much the sleeping, it was the waking up that I detested. The nightmares and the headaches were like waking from fever dreams similar to being the subject of the shamans that drive off evil spirits in movies.
My life, unfortunately, was not a movie. It was painfully real, and this question always haunted me and my family...
What Was Wrong With Me?
Doctors had been baffled as I grew up in Puerto Rico, the only thought they had was that I was a healthy kid that may have been under intense sun for too long. Yea... thanks.
Whether I was good or bad the outcome was always the same, the nightmares and pain were amazingly reliable. The headaches were unrelenting. There were those days though when it got really interesting. I would wake up peacefully, completely undisturbed from sleep, and pain free. Sometimes for days at a time I had relief.
Those were the worst.
Those were the times that gave me hope that it would all just go away, as if my prayers had been answered, then, just as I would get comfortably happy, like a storm attacking a sunny day, my nightmares began. My headaches returned fiercely without mercy and without end. Now imagine this all in the life of a ten year old boy that never hurt anyone. I remember many times asking for forgiveness and praying for an end. I think now that I was asking to die.
My mother tried to make me strong, to push me to believe that all would be explained and things would get better. But when I looked in her eyes I could see the uncertainty and fear that was the right of a mother. It was tearing her apart, I'm sure she felt helpless, as a parent, there's no greater pain. Well, my headaches sure gave her a run for the money!
I felt responsible for the worry and misery I brought on to those who cared and loved me. Then, I stopped praying and I tried being stronger for my family, trying to control the pain as if it was no longer a hindrance. It never left but I learned to ignore the pain enough to carry on as normal a life as I could. I never again complained about the nightmares and when the headaches were just too much I would just casually ask for a Tylenol or I would go to our backyard to hide and cry no more than a whimper for fear I might alert my grandparents.
I grew bitter in my youth, I learned to hate.
Sometimes for no reason at all. Just because. If God hated me then I would hate him back. I was a dumb kid. All I knew was that I had no reason or understanding of what was wrong with me. I was angry - very angry. I was born February 5th 1977, in St. Louis Missouri, barely a year old and my mother left my father to stay with my grandparents. I had only met my father once. Which incidentally, was also the last time I saw him . I never cared much as I got older as it became a fact of life for me.
At 11 and a half we moved to New York were we sought out brain specialists. these doctors ran all kinds of tests on me, some I thought were ridiculous but I went along. "What's the worst that can happen" I learned early in life not to ask that question. During a cat-scan or MRI, I don't recall which, they found a lump on my brain. I had a tumor. finally an answer, and an abundance of questions followed. All I could remember thinking at the time was damn, this sucks. The doctors explained to me that the concentrated heat from the constant sun was a factor to my headaches. Go figure.
I grew up a bit bitter, always in trouble... with little regard for anything. Well, the thing is, as soon as the doctors realized there was a tumor, I had been put through a battery of little tests. They agreed a biopsy was necessary. My mother wanted answers... as did I. Little did we think of the consequences. I agreed to go under the knife, well... my Mom did anyway. I was a minor without a say in the matter, which by the way, was bull. Before the surgery, they needed to extract some fluid from my spinal cord, and they had to do it without anesthesia. Foot long needles were used to pierce my spinal cord in order to extract some fluid from the tumor. When you're 12, that's scary as hell.
However, I was accustomed to pain.
So I thought. So I just dealt with it. Besides, I had a real pretty nurse. I didn't want to cry in front of her. Gimme a break, I was 12 and stupid. The staff at the hospital praised me for months. I was in 2 hospitals for almost a year. After the biopsy I realized there were some complications. My nerves, my synapses became dull. I couldn't feel pain normally like everyone else and my coordination was, bad, to say the least. I was even more pissed off.
"What had I ever done to deserve this."
Going back to school with a couple hundred metal stitches in the back of my head was another reason to hate my life. I was a 12 year old freak that everyone either pitied or was stayed away from all together. I can't say I blamed them, but it made me an outcast, pretty much alone. I rebelled. I gave people hell, not so much by doing anything. I was a quiet kid, but I never let anyone get close. What the hell for? I was gonna die anyway.
Oh yeah, did I mention that during the year at the hospital, I overheard the doctors talk about my imminent doom.
You know how doctors make their rounds, going from room to room, looking at their charts? Well they came to my room and studied my chart without telling me a word. They gathered outside my room by my door and discussed me like I was something that couldn't be explained or understood. I think my life would have been different if I had not heard the next part. But I had to pee, so I left my bed to go to the bathroom which just so happened to be next to the front door. And that's when I heard them. I froze. I didn't make it inside the bathroom and managed to pee on myself. I froze because I heard them say that I'd be lucky if I made it past my 35th birthday. My roommate was an old guy who helped me to the bathroom and when I couldn't answer what was wrong, he called the nurse.
I was embarrassed and aggravated at the same time for not making it to the bathroom, trying not to think about what I had just heard. I cried myself to sleep that night. And I vowed never to cry again after that. I became cold-hearted and distant. God had refused to talk to me or at least help me understand, why? Had he heard my constant questioning? So I chose to never speak to him again.
My mother had me go through dozens and dozens of doctors which essentially was completely useless. My only option for surgery was not nearly optimistic enough. My chances of survival meant that I would come out either a vegetable or not at all. So I stayed with my curse, my headaches. My mom moved around with me and my little sister quite often. I never stayed in one place too long and it suited me just fine. My mother and I grew very apart. Her need to make me strong created a resentment that I hid in myself.
I'm 32 now and I can tell you, I missed out on life.
I never became anything, I never really cared about anyone or anything. God knows how the heck I was blessed with a beautiful wife who truly loves me and two amazing kids who teach me something new everyday. They're happy kids. I never had that. I don't deserve any of it. I don't feel I do. So many years filled with anger and regret, that I never realized what it was like to live. Having a family has taught me to love again. It's the most amazing experience to truly love and to truly be loved.
My advise to you, don't live in the past. Don't believe there's an end to life when there's still hope or you'll miss out on the best experience in the world.
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