As the months of 2001 rolled on I began to realise that the move home was going to be long term, I also began to accept that the continual pain was going to be the same. But the biggest hurdle I had to get over was a mental one.
In the five years before moving home I had always linked being unwell, and being in my home town (and away from my university friends) with feeling depressed and irritable. Late in 2001 I started to think seriously about the fact that if I continued to have that attitude I could potentially spend the rest of my life feeling miserable.
It was in seeing this that I came to realise that I had a choice I had to make. Either I could go on with these negative feelings whilst being unwell, or I could choose to be happy in spite of the continual pain. I chose the latter.
This decision, I believe, was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Now, 10 years on, with many more hurdles I have had to overcome, I consider it a blessing to know that no matter what is happening in my physical state, I can still live with peace of mind, contentment, and joy.