rnilo

Tomorrow Would Never Come 📆

As I stood atop a high rise in October 2019, my thoughts weren’t about what life would be like in March 2024, because it would never come.

For the past 6 months, Crohn’s Disease had turned my life into a twisted version of Groundhog’s Day.

Bedridden, only able to eat broth and white rice, as anything else left me writhing in pain as it ran through my shredded intestines, I lost half my body weight and was too sick and malnourished to do anything but drag my sack of bones to the bathroom to poop and vomit blood, nearly passing out from the effort.

I’d spend the rest of the day recovering in bed, only to wake up the next day to do it all over again.

I was done. Wrung out.

In April 2019, a doctor shoved a pamphlet into my partner’s hand and said this drug would allow me to live “somewhat normally” as long as I took it every 8 weeks for the rest of my life.

Looking over the potential side-effects, it felt like choosing the guillotine or firing squad.

Asked about alternatives, he pointed and yelled:

He will die soon unless he starts treatment!

Stunned, we left the doctor’s office, resolving to find alternatives that were less life-altering.

Over the next 6 months, I tried everything, but Crohn’s would easily slap me down each time. I became its slave, to do as it pleased with me and the disease got progressively worse.

Looking over the handrail to the sidewalk below, I debated the 3 paths forward:

Continue in this tortured way and, per the doctor, “die soon.”

Go on the life-long drugs and die of the side-effects or at least wish I had.

End it all now and save everyone and myself the hassle.

With one defiant leap, I’d have the last laugh over my demented master for however long it took to travel 20 stories down.

I took a deep breath, squeezed the chest-high rail tightly, clenched my stomach and the pain in my lower right side took my breath away.

Excitedly, I thought: I’ll never feel this pain ever again.

My emaciated arms shook as they struggled to lift my sallow body.

I didn't move.

I doubled my efforts and pushed on the handrail as hard as I could.

I laughed as my feet lifted off the roof.

And then the world went black…

My eyes watered as a bright light came into focus.

Am I dead?

Head throbbing, arms burning and splayed out, legs folded under, I’m a pile of useless limbs on the rooftop.

So exhausted, I couldn’t even cry as I realized that I’d passed out.

I couldn’t even kill myself without master’s approval.

As I laid there, waiting for strength to return, I thought about what would be happening right now if I was successful:

I realized that my sidewalk splash would leave a wake of pain and horror that wouldn’t kill the disease, but spread its wickedness beyond me. I just couldn't let that happen. This disease was going to be mine and mine alone.

A mental clarity I've never experienced sprang forth. The sense of autonomy I thought was gone forever came roaring back.

I’d starve this disease of the one thing it needed to enslave me: attention. Instead of fighting its crippling pain, depression, anxiety, arthritis, unfulfilled dreams and whatever else it threw at me, I’d take it all, forever turning the other cheek without a second thought.

I’d go on the treatment and let the disease fade into background as I lived my life to the fullest, in whatever way possible, for however long I had left.

My weakness suddenly became strength.

It’s strength, an Achilles heel.

After my strength returned, I went back down to my bedroom.

My partner came home soon after and gave me the daily bowl of broth and white rice.

I was thinking how nothing we've tried has worked, so I called a top specialist and they understood what happened with the other doctor and insisted we meet tomorrow to go over the latest research and treatments. I think we should do it.

I told them I was just thinking the same and we both laughed - which we hadn't done in 6 months.

I laid in bed that night and figured out what “living life to the fullest” meant:

Five years on now, I’m taking the life-long drugs and the original description of living “somewhat normally” was dead on. Without a cure, I’ll never be back to “normal,” but I’ll take the 75% normal I have now.

I’ve also managed to live by the 3 ideals and experienced peaks and valleys of existence I never knew existed.

Reply via email