Above Image: Ram Dass art piece by Kyle Damon James, @IlluminatiArtClub
By Carly Goebel
The late, great spiritual leader Ram Dass once said, “As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is”. When you are dealing with constant, intense pain you so easily fall into a cycle of negative thinking. This mindset takes over and your whole reality gets filtered through it, to the point that you are no longer able to see things as they truly are. Every experience I have had, good or bad, has been a piece of a majestic puzzle, coming together to create something I wasn’t able to quite see. They say hindsight is 2020, but I never truly understood until I got to the end of this decade, looked back, and was finally able to see the full picture.
2010-2020. While pondering these past 10 years all I can do is take a deep breathe and say… Wow.
I got a bachelor’s degree, started a full-time job, ended an awful engagement, had a life changing car accident that put me into a wheelchair and would lead to my permanent disability, got a master’s degree, was bed ridden for 3 years, started ketamine infusions, became a public speaker, started a non-profit, got engaged to the man of my dreams who is also my full-time caretaker, and for the first time ever truly believed that there was hope that I might work my way back out of this wheelchair one day. The last 10 years has been quite the rollercoaster, full of exciting adventures, difficult challenges, obstacles I once thought I would never overcome, and dreams I never thought possible!
My name is Carly Goebel and I have CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. A chronic pain disorder that outranks all others on pain scales and according to current medical belief, has NO CURE. If you are sitting there wondering what exactly that is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, most doctors or nurses I see for the first time still don’t know what it is when I tell them I have it. It is a peculiar experience, to have something your medical professionals don’t quite understand. Here you are as a patient coming for guidance and yet, you are left to educate the person who is supposed to be caring for you. It is an all too familiar experience for those living with this disorder, as even though awareness has started to spread, there still exists this lack of required education on the disorder for medical students and nurses; except in Kentucky surprisingly enough! They are first on CRPS but last on Cannabis. But that’s a story for a different time.
I am excited for this opportunity to open a window up into my life and my experiences with CRPS. Living with pain for a prolonged period is a foreign existence for most and one would not fault another for not wanting to sit and ponder on what it would be like to be trapped inside a body that is suffering. My hope for these pieces is not to drag you down into the depression I was once stuck so deeply rooted in to. No…
I want you to be inspired by a story of overcoming, of that which was thought not possible to overcome. A story of hope, perseverance, strength, and the ultimate blessings that come from places we would never expect! I was in disbelief when my entire life was taken from me 7 years ago and I had to completely re-route everything I had planned for myself. There was a time when I felt defeated, when I felt like my pain would always have the upper hand on me, and that if there were no cure then there was no chance for hope. And now here I sit, again in utter disbelief at the future I am now building for myself and others who are out there, struggling with pain and feeling alone, a future filled with hope!
Getting to this point has been a tumultuous journey, filled with pain and pleasure, trial and error, wrong turns, right moves, and every single part of it has had a purpose. We often question why we deal with difficult things in life. Why me to experience this out of all the people in the world?… It is easy to get lost in questioning each moment instead of existing in gratitude for what you can learn from every experience along your journey. Feeling like a victim distracts you away from seeing things clearly.
Over the next year I will be diving in to many of these stories with you, really breaking down the human experience of pain, and the effects it has; not just on the person feeling it but also on those who care for them. While there will be many stories of hope, some of the things we will talk about will be uncomfortable, but, trust me of all people when I say that pain is an opportunity to grow and learn and not something that needs to be shied away from. Some of the most uncomfortable moments we face are the ones that bring us the furthest in life and the closest to ourselves and to those who help us get through them.
Come with me on this journey, explore with me the depths of human sensation and the bounds of one’s endurance and will, and end up in a place of gratitude and hope for what is possible when you truly believe it to be.