The Six-Week Cycle of My Crohn's Disease
I live my life in six-week intervals. Every couple of months, a visit to the hospital brings injections into my veins. I allow these drugs to creep. The supposed antidote seeps. Into my mixed-up body, where up is sideways and down is dead, the chronic dripping feeds me. Dripping in bags of fluid and mind-numbingly expensive pharmaceuticals. The blind prick of a needle threads a slender tube into the crook of my arm. I watch the wall as the nurses make small talk as if these chemicals were Kool-Aid.
Everything is a continuous stand-off, winner takes all. Insurance companies hinder my health, not help. Doctors’ offices make mistakes. Infection explores the crevices and pores of my body. A symptom turns to a drug remedy that turns to side effects which in turn leads to different drugs and new symptoms. My body beats itself in circles simply out of spite. Every day is a fight for all of the coveted things that will inevitably disappear. Health and happiness, love and life are the four fleeting pillars of everyone’s dreams.
I am defeated on the days when I remember how my life was before my diagnosis. I want to go back to the time before my insides turned as sour as my mind. Back to when I just thought I had it bad instead of knowing it for certain. The first ailment, the diamond disease, requires a compromised immunity, opening the door to voracious viruses vying to vault my viability. The cure breeds disease number two.
A simple strep infection drags the second from its slumber, to dance on my skin with a burning thunder. My flesh succumbs to searing autoimmune polka dots. I am illness personified. Every step I take is backward, any forward movement is from stumbling and falling. Unhealthy is the new and improved me. While my body rots, my mind stays sharp enough to cut these irrational thoughts. My brain is a guillotine for my insanity. The irony is irritating. This body and brain have never been on the same page.
My schedule revolves around six-week sessions that break me down. Remicade, this juice from a mouse, makes me more like a rat. I gnaw away at the Blue Cross insurance monster and pharmaceutical companies’ cures and placebos. Sniff the pungent stench of unaffordable dreams of health and heroes. At what point is it OK to give in? When my children are grown I can rest, but until then my body will have to contend with a mind that wants to devour its detrimental drug-determined disease.
Getty image by Olga Litvinova.