Last August, we walked with John Craig as he disclosed that he was living with a debilitating and progressive chronic illness. John Craig’s amazing journey with a chronic disease has taken a twist that he wasn’t expecting.
Today’s must read, from his Craig Photography Blog:
As I write this it has been six months since I told the world that I have been living with a chronic disease (you can read about it here). I am at the start of my seventh year of living with Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO). A disease that I will never be able to spell….This is my journey towards a radical reversal.
When I was diagnosed I was convinced that everything I loved was being taken away from me one-by-one. First my legs would go numb, weak and tingling as if they were permanently asleep taking away my love of walking through the woods. Next my right hand would go numb, stiff, clinching into a fist taking away my ability to playing guitar. Then my vision would go in my left eye, fearing my right eye would go soon taking away my livelihood of taking photos, not to mention the overwhelming fear of not seeing my daughter grow up or to enjoy a smile from my wife. Then the left side of my mid-section of my chest would go numb causing muscle weakness taking away range of motion to practice yoga (my personal workout of choice). To end the list of “Poor Me” is the electrical shocks that will randomly attack me by zapping me out of restful sleeps (and right out of any chair I happen to be sitting in at the moment).
The reason that I am sharing my story with you is because there are very few success stories out there for people living with a chronic disease. My intention is that you will share this will everybody. When finding a success story it is usually attached to some snake-oil sales pitch. Buy this, take that, place this trinket on your head, travel to this island for special treatment…the hope is always a giant leap of faith, money and a lifetime away. It is always directed at the desperate needing for you to have to place your faith in somebody else, which turns out more times that not to be a scam. This is not about purchasing! It’s about doing!
When I chose to no longer be guided by the prophecy listed in the medical propaganda, when I chose to no longer look for “what to expect” ghost symptoms in my life got better….
I began to observe my story, to observe myself, to discover that I am not a disease or a symptom. I observed what is true and no longer identified myself as having a disease. That was a breakthrough moment when I could say:
“I still have all of the symptoms listed above. What I no longer am is a person who identifies with being sick. I am not infallible…I get sick for periods at a time, I get flare-ups and attacks, I have an illness without a cure, I live with the effects that this disease has over me, but I am not sick. I live a well life. A life filled with effort and purpose by living a healthy and creative life.”
Today I not only walk without the aid of cain but I run, and run far. I have a new love for trail running, my enjoyment of the woods is back.
Today I not only play guitar but I play better than ever. It does hurt to hold a guitar pick so I switched to a picking-style that I enjoy more than my previous years of playing.
Today I daily see my beautiful wife and daughter and not only am I taking photographs but I am creating the best work of my life (so far)…
Read the whole thing.
Beautiful. Amazing. Wonderful. Thank you, John.
P.S.: You’re looking good in the new picture! I like the short hair.