Thursday, January 31, 2013

Miracle of modern medicine, or miracle of an amazing mind?

Yesterday while I was at work (making sandwiches like a boss), I heard a story about a soldier from the Iraqi war who lost all four of his limbs. That's not the crazy part of the story though - apparently this man received a double arm transplant. Not prosthetic arms. Real, human arms from a deceased donor. It just blew my mind that that kind of surgery is even possible. I had to learn more.

So, I did. And as it would turn out, my boss wasn't just telling me a wild story. Click here to read the article from MSNBC that I thought gave the most details on the solider, the surgery, and his amazing recovery.
A real photo of Brendan Morocco: 26-year-old retired Infantryman, recipient of two transplanted arms, and general badass.

Later in my shift, the conversation turned away from the amazing solider story, towards the story of a girl who reminded me a lot of myself. It was the story of a girl who loved learning (like I do), was fascinated by everything (like I am), and also suffered from mental illness (like I do). I never knew her, and I don't even think I was ever told what her name was. The "kicker" of the story was that, as a young adult, this girl came to the conclusion that the only thing she had not yet experienced was death. So she killed herself.

I struggle to come to terms with a world where some people create pain where there is none, and others create hope where there shouldn't be any. Where is the justice? This man, this solider, lost everything - lost all four of his limbs - and yet, against all odds, looks forward to his life and appears to be happy. But then, the young girl - seemingly brilliant, just simply lost - took her own life because she could not find anything left to live for. There was, as far as she was concerned, nothing left to experience.

How can that be? How can there be nothing left to experience? I feel true sadness for her, because I know what it's like to feel like there's no point to living in this world. I remember the point when my depression was its absolute worse. I was sitting in my old apartment, on my bed, and I just didn't understand why humans lived in this world. I couldn't see a possible way to find happiness or meaning in this world of natural disaster and cruel dictators and greedy businessmen and starving children and disease and broken hearts and broken homes and racism and horrifying Sarah McLachlan commercials.
Hello, my name is Sarah McLachlan, and I'm here to ruin your entire day. 
But in all seriousness, I'm glad that my family forced me to find help. Because yes - the world is really, truly, a terrible awful place. But there is also beauty. There is also hope. The journey is just finding a way to find that hope. The POINT of it all is to find enough beauty in your world to counter the pain and hopelessness. And it is possible for everyone. I may be broken, but I'm not shattered. It may sometimes seem like there's no way for me to find beauty, but I need to remember that there is a way. I just sometimes get lost, like that girl who thought she'd experienced it all. But that's why health is a journey, and in this moment right now, I'm excited to be on this journey.

Someone once told me that life was meant to be lived. Here are two of my reasons.
Friends may come and go, but these poor suckers are stuck with me forever. I love having sisters.

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