A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” says economist Paul Romer.  

17-year-old Sarah Eskew from Norman agrees. Since April 28, 2008, Sarah has had a headache, which no medication or pain reliever has been able to relieve. Yes, she has been to specialists here and out of state.  She is told she must learn how to manage the pain.  

Sarah, who will be a freshman at OU this fall as one of the President’s Community Scholars, is determined not to let this life crisis be wasted.  She has found much for which to be grateful and is learning what is really important in life.

She speaks of the doctors, her family, friends and even strangers who’ve cared for her.   She calls them her heroes.

Some of the important lessons she’s learned:   Laughter really is the best medicine because worries disappear, if only for a moment.  It is important to create time for solitude.  Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others, wishing you had what they do. Don’t worry about things over which you have no control, rather focus on the present.

Never forget the importance of reaching out to help others and making a difference in the world.  Do not take love for granted.  It is important to love yourself as much as you love others.

Appreciate the gift of sound – a loud roar of a great waterfall or softly falling rain, and music – which has the ability to help distance her temporarily from her pain – something nothing else has been able to do.


Sarah draws heavily on her Christian faith from which she finds strength when weak, hope when none seems to be there and serenity when she is overwhelmed.  She also quotes Buddha, Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.”

She says, “It is strange to think this extraordinary circumstance in my life has turned out to be one of the greatest events to have happened to me.  I know that without my headache I would not be the same as I am today.”

If economist Romer could know Sarah, I think he would say, “Well done.”

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