You were always there, hiding in the shadows like a criminal. For a long time, you were undetected as you caused havoc. I felt your presence before you were identified. Some doubted your existence, blaming me for your crimes.
You are a thief and a villain, robbing the strength of the innocent and chipping away at the self-esteem of your victims. Your wrath is unyielding as you have no compassion for your prey. You have struck me down more times than I can count. Through the years, I have overcome broken bones, abrasions, and bruises while mending my self-worth.
You scared me into rushing through life in the hopes that I could outrun your destruction, which drove me to set goals and accomplish them in spite of you. In your attempts to bring me down, you have built up my resilience. I cannot deny that many tears were shed because of you — but the tears only angered me and made me fight harder. I learned to focus on the rising instead of the falling, on my strength rather than my weakness.
You are the enemy that resides inside of me. You and I are in a civil war, both fighting for ownership of the land that is my body. At times, though, one must embrace one’s foe because they have lessons to impart. They teach you about your humanity. They show you who you really are. You have shown me where to find my strength. It is not in my body but in my mind. Although I wish that you had not invaded me, I have accepted your existence and hope to live alongside you in harmony. I do this for my own peace of mind. If the day of your exile ever comes, I will celebrate. Until then, I will not let you destroy my sense of worth.
Your name is spinal muscular atrophy, SMA. Your acronym reminds me that I must be Strong Minded Always. I must fight when you try to repress me and remind myself that I am not measured by your destruction but by the will that I have to go on in spite of you.
My Perspective articles discuss SMA from a specific point of view. We understand that everyone with SMA or caring for someone with the condition has a different experience. We aim to share as many of those viewpoints as we can. We’d love to hear from you. Please submit your proposal for editorial consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org. My Perspective articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyHealthTeams staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors.