The Painful Truth

By Sue Kaszynski

I was according to the nuns “pale, frail and puny”. I definitely had health issues. I didn’t like to eat. I could eat whatever I wanted and never gained weight. I had what the doctors originally called growing pains ( I would have such pain in my legs that my dad would have to sit in the
bed and rub them for me all night. If he stopped I woke up crying because it hurt so bad). It was later dx as juvenile arthritis. I was what they called back then “ double jointed “. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I heard the term Ehler’s Danlos. I was also allergic to the cold ( giant hives)
which we now know is Raynaudes. So pain was something I grew up with but never really thought much about. Kids are funny that way.

I was first molested at age 6 by my brother. It didn’t last long but definitely had an impact on me. I have two years of my life that is more or less a blank to me. I have no memory and just a few flashbacks to go by. This was ages 9-11. Through flashbacks and by sheer luck I happened to
find the house it happened in. It was a very distinct and unique house. It was abandoned when I found it. I was seeing a counselor regarding the abuse and he made arrangements with the local sheriff for us to enter the house ( I had already trespassed on it before) so he could work with me. The deputy ( female) asked if I remembered anything to please let them know as they had heard stories about the place.

The worst flashback I have of the place was watching a little boy killed in front of me. We have figured out it was some kind of cult. I have no clue how or who as my mom was like an eagle eye with us kids. Very few people were trusted with us so it had to be at the hands of someone
close to us. I never told her about either my brother or the other abuse until I was well into my 30’s. So we never tracked down who. It took me several years to even begin to acknowledge what I saw was real and not my imagination. It haunts me to this day. And I think if I remember
that just what else happened that is totally blocked out?

So growing up my mom taught us we were our own unique individual selves and take pride in being different. I believe that mindset helped me as a kid for being “different “. As an adult and realizing the impact it had on me I made a vow to use it for good. No one was going to keep me
a victim. So I looked at what dysfunctional coping skills I had developed and changed them to positive ones. I was determined to take what they tried to destroy and use it to strengthen and support others who had been assaulted. I wanted to show them horrific things do not have to define you. It is just a part of us. WE get to choose how we want it defined in our lives.

So I have grown up with physical, mental, and emotional pain. It is woven into the very fabric of my life. It is probably why I am doing what the doctors have said is impossible, because it has been possible for almost 65 years now. It has just been in the last half dozen years though that I have come to a deeper understanding and perspective on pain. That will come in my next blog. I think this enough for now.

Ms Kaszynski is a Marine Veteran and social worker who is writing a series of blogs that related to her, her time in the Corps and how it all has a relationship on who she is today.