Even when it seems that your world is falling apart, sometimes your passion for something can push you to achieve greatness! This month Laura shared her story with us about how she was diagnosed with a chronic illness and got to a point where she was in so much pain that couldn't even walk but it was her love for musical theatre that got her defying her doctor's expectations! Here's her story...
Hi! I'm Laura. I'm an aspiring musical theatre performer that also happens to suffer from a chronic illness and a parasite. I have had it for almost two years this month. I have non-stop pain in my stomach and it has not once stopped since they day that I first went to hospital for it. I experience constant pushing pains and I occassionally get sharp stabs of pain in my abdomen throughout the day. I have episodes called 'increased pain attacks' where I have pain worse than childbirth and I pass out and fall on the floor. I have been misdiagnosed many times and unfortunately there is no pain medication that can ease it.
Recently I have been diagnosed with a parasite as the main cause of my suffering and as a result of the parasite, I have trouble getting to school full-time and I have altered assessment.
I first presented ill in hospital two days after finishing the 2017 performances of GREASE THE ARENA EXPERIENCE with Harvest Rain Theatre Company. I had previously done HAIRSPRAY THE BIG FAT ARENA SPECTACULAR the year prior and both those experiences were some of the best times of my life! I was always that creative, musical theatre kid that would never stop singing and would randomly start dancing while talking. So you could imagine how much it affected me when I was seemingly so healthy two days before, performing and having the time of my life, to being wheelchair-bound, riving in agony and not being able to walk.
It was a scary time because I didn't know if I was going to die or not; no one knew what was wrong! From my darkest times, I vividly remember my mum singing 'Born to Hand Jive' to me while I was falling asleep under anaesthetic. I remember explaining to the nurses the difference between plays and musicals, telling them about my big dreams and unique career choice as a way to distract myself from the pain.
In the course of one year, I re-learnt how to walk in a way that wouldn't hurt to much, I was able to eat again and I got to go back to school part-time. I have had to give up a lot of opportunities because of my illness such as my school music camp and going down to Sydney to perform in GREASE again in January 2018. It gets me down when I think about what I'm missing out on because of my illness. I'm missing out on my teenage years and just being normal.
However, it was later that I found out Harvest Rain was bringing GREASE back to Brisbane in 2018 and I was beyond thrilled and it gave me a goal to work towards and get better for! I built my strength and was so determined to perform in this show one last time and prove to those around me that I won't let my disease stop me (as cliche as it is).
Long story short, I did it. I was able to sing, dance and act my way through the pain. It was such an amazing personal accomplishment as I went from not being able to walk, to hand-jiving! I still suffer from this illness and I still have pain. I still have days where I struggle to get out of bed and want to give up but on those days, I just remember what I have been through, how far I have come and how well I am doing.
Whether I'm moving or stay still, it hurts. But the only thing that doesn't seem to hurt me, is singing. I find comfort and thank my lucky stars every day that it doesn't hurt me. I don't know where I would be if I didn't have such a burning passion for performing and the ability to do what I love thanks to Harvest Rain and Youngharts. Thanks to the opportunities that they offer, I don't fear not being able to fulfill my dreams of working backstage and performing in shows because I know that I am supported.
To anyone else going through a similar situation, or who feels like giving up and that it's all just too hard, remember this: you owe it to yourself to become everything you have ever dreamed of. You are worthy and you are enough. You will overcome your dark times and there is always something to look forward to. If your battle is long-term like mine, keep fighting. Work hard and don't give up. Sing your way through the pain, dance through the struggles and embrace positivity and love in your life.
If you have a story you want to tell, an achievement to proclaim or some talents to share, apply now to be next month's Younghart in the Spotlight!