Trying to Better Manage the Little Frustrations

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by Young Lee |

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Column by Young Lee

I was manning three active burners on the stovetop, deep into my food preparation for the week. On one of the front burners was a pan of chicken skins sizzling in a pool of rendered fat. In a pot to the side, onions, carrots, and celery were sweating in some butter. A pot of chicken broth simmered on the back burner. And I was tending to it frequently, skimming off any extra protein, or “scum,” that floated to the surface. The scent of butter, chicken, and veggies made me excited for the meals I would get to enjoy throughout the week.

But at one point, when I turned to set aside a bowl of “scummy” broth,” I felt my right foot lose its orientation with the ground. My grip on the bowl loosened. And I tripped.

Apparently, my Charcot-Marie-Tooth body didn’t like the way I chose to pivot. And that’s how broth ended up flying all over my kitchen. 

Nothing hurt. But I felt my cheeks flush with frustration. Although the life of a CMTer is full of trips and falls, that day, I couldn’t help but be angry with my body and myself. My mind raced through the “could haves” and the “should haves.” Some were useful thoughts to consider, while others bordered on the harmful.

“I could have been less ambitious and taken the cooking process a bit more slowly.” “I should have put the pot of broth on the front burner, not the back.” “I should have come to expect nothing but disappointment from my body by now.” 

After that spill, I felt defeated. I wanted to give up any aspirations to do anything productive. Instead, I wanted to go back to bed and sleep through the rest of the day.

Indeed, that simple spill upset me more than some of the more physically painful CMT moments in recent memory.

The incident reminded me that sometimes, it’s not always the dramatic CMT moments that weigh on the minds of CMTers like me. Sometimes it’s the accumulation of little frustrations with CMT that cause us to feel most defeated. Or, perhaps it’s the timing that breaks us.

However, I think sometimes failures give us the opportunity to learn to push forward and pick ourselves up. And although it is important to take steps to prevent failing again, it’s also in these moments that we can learn to be kind to ourselves and acknowledge our imperfect bodies.

To a certain extent, I believe we should allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes. Failure doesn’t need to be the end. After all, the imperfections of our body don’t define us, and our defeats can turn into lessons learned, stepping stones that put us on a better path. 

On some days, CMT will win, but even so, we can’t afford to allow it to break our spirits.


Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. 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 Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.


evelyn griswold avatar

evelyn griswold

Been there. Mine was a pan of hot lasagna all over the kitchen.My only damage to me was a burn on my arm. I still carry the reminds me all the time to be more careful and go slower. I now put a dinnerplate under whatever is in the microwave to support it and keep it from folding. My husband cleaned up the mess while i sat crying from frustration at yet another difficulty to overcome. I hate CMT.


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