I've recently become fascinated with the UK television show Embarrassing Bodies. I've been following Dr. Christian Jessen) on Twitter for some time (he's adorable, candid, and always has good info). I don't plug my TV in/don't have cable, but I don't think anything like this exists in the United States. People in the UK talk about their medical problems on national TV. Not only do they talk about them, but they quite often get naked and have exams.
following one of the show's doctors (
But I like their take -- that despite the show's title, our bodies are nothing to be embarrassed about, that we owe it to ourselves to get to know our bodies, and to have honest and frank conversations with our medical providers.
an episode last night and they had a feature on a woman who has had arthritis since she was a child. She's had both hips replaced and both knees replaced. She uses a wheelchair to get around most of the time, but she's not confined to it. She said something that stuck out to me -- "Arthritis has added something to my life."
For so many people with chronic illnesses,injuries or pain, the illness/injury/pain is about what it has subtracted from his or her life. We think about the things we can't do or have missed out on, we think about how we feel like our bodies have betrayed us and sold us short.
But man... what a novel concept that chronic illnesses/injuries/pain can actually add to our lives. I know that my spine injuries have helped me cultivate more compassion for others as well as for myself, and more gratitude for my good days (and even a few of my bad). It has also helped me chill out a bit.
Her statement also reminded me to stop being so adversarial with my back injury. My refuge and relief will come from honoring the gift my injury has given me -- the ability to listen to my body, honor my pain, and returning to trusting my body.