We Live in a World Full of Gray — Embrace It

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by Kelly Wallis |

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We do not live in a world of absolutes, a world of only black and white, right or wrong, good or bad. Instead, there are mostly shades of grays, or different versions of the truth. Each version is based upon personal experiences, making it mostly subjective. This should give us pause to glean all sides of a situation before making a judgment call. But this is not always the reality.

My own family is full of gray. I was recently told my cancer has returned, and the only medical intervention for me is chemotherapy for the remainder of my life. So I enter another phase as I endure chemo treatments to stay alive. I’m certainly not dead, but I’m being poisoned by chemo so I can stay alive. I’ll tolerate the negative side effects of the therapy, but likely won’t be hospitalized. Gray.

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My oldest daughter, Abby, has a genetic disorder that is slowly shutting her body and brain down. Her Sanfilippo syndrome is likened to Alzheimer’s disease because of its awful, degenerative effects. Since her diagnosis in 2017, Abby has lost most of her speech and has experienced tremendous cognitive decline. She will eventually lose her life to this disease, but while her condition continues to progress, she remains in between life and death. Gray.

Even before the Sanfilippo diagnosis, Abby was always a “gray” kid. I always thought of her as having one foot in the special needs world (she had an autism diagnosis at the time) and one foot in the neurotypical, or not special needs, world. She exhibited delays in multiple areas — mainly speech and cognition. However, she was very mobile and active, and she looked “normal,” or unaffected by any disability. So at that time, to those who saw her, she had an invisible disability. Gray.

People with invisible disabilities (or conditions that don’t necessarily have any physical features) are the epitome of what I am trying to convey here. Although you cannot see it, they’re experiencing a plethora of pains and inconveniences about which others have no idea. Yet they are healthy enough to live and exist among their communities. Gray.

There are so many social and political issues that plague us today. I witness daily arguments and insults exchanged on various social media platforms. People want to be heard, and they want to be right. These heated exchanges are usually between people on polar opposite sides of an issue, both trying to prove their points. There is no gray here, and thus, no resolution.

My point is this: Don’t dismiss the gray all around you. There is value, importance, and beauty within it. Consider the shades of gray in the next person or situation that presents itself in your life. If we all live with the goal of being right all the time, we miss out on others’ perspectives and experiences. Take some time to absorb the grays in the world.

Note: Sanfilippo News is strictly a news and information website about the syndrome. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sanfilippo News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Sanfilippo syndrome.


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