I am more than my sickness. I am more than my stomach pain, however tormenting and however frustrating. I am a human with a unique story waiting to be told to the world. My sickness is a temporary infliction brought upon me by misfortune and it’s a distraction as my hand tries to write the next chapter. Sickness is only truly devastating when there is nothing to combat it. Thankfully, through the help of others – doctors with medical advice filtered through dependable institutions, friends with back rubs and family across the globe wishing good thoughts my way – I will avoid any devastation that this sickness could offer. I get the chance to continue the writing of my story because someone’s got my back.
Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Every day, millions succumb to sickness without the support that I enjoy. Some have never seen a doctor, some don’t have the resources necessarily to do anything with the knowledge that could save them.
Sickness isn’t just about the the individual and the physical body, though. Sickness is found in groups, in systems, and in ideas. If there’s anything I’ve learned traveling the last few months it’s that I am incredibly blessed because of the opportunities and support that exist in my life that I too often don’t notice. My health, my education, my freedoms – these are all aspects of my life where any sickness I encounter is met with firm resistance and support. I can’t imagine the difficulty one might face when sickness runs rampant in those important parts of life. What I find so inspiring about the eclectic group of people gathered together for this semester is the innovation and determination that each person brings to the table as we all wage a war on sickness.
Physical sickness is an exercise in immense humility: the body and mind are breaking down. You become incredibly grateful for any reprieve. I hope that as I recover and come out of my own personal destruction, I will use that humility in my efforts to find ways to prevent and treat sickness – in its many forms – in whatever way I can. If someone has me, I’ve got them.
– Daniel Nesbit