I ran today. Not very far. Alka was kind enough to allow me to join her on her run around the Highland Park reservoir and even though I ran about 13% of the distance she did, it was still among the most triumphant moments I've experienced post-illness.
I am not completely well. I still ache each morning, pop 12 pills each and every day, and require significantly more rest than I ever had before. But I am steadily improving, and for all intensive purposes, I have my life back.
There are certain things that come with this knowledge that have become challenging to accept, however. It is, for example, a sharp reality that things will never "go back" to how they were before. I am a different person. There is nothing that can ever restore that easy-going, carefree, lucky spirit I possessed only 2 1/2 short years ago.
I am angry now. I mock those who complain of life's simple difficulties and frankly detest any suggestion of being "too sick" to do anything at all. You have no idea what sick is. You have never--ever--not been able to tie your shoes at the age of 23, have your mother bathe you in what should be the prime of you life. You do not know what it feels like to experience such physical anguish that you would sincerely give it to the person you loved the most just to be relieved of the burden. Chronic pain, and the hopelessness that accompanies it, is perhaps the absolute worst ailment one can endure because it--without reservation or care for your spirit--brings out the absolute worst there is in you, and leaves you, alone.
There is no question, and I say without a hint of hesitation, that I am stronger than I was before. But I cannot even entertain the idea that I am somehow "better" for my trials, perhaps enlightened or even fortunate to have experience what I did. I cannot bring myself to say it eloquently. Fuck that nonsense. What I wouldn't give to have never known what it feels like to come to a resolve with yourself that, if the future looks as grim as the present, you absolutely will take your own life. No, I could do without that lovely notion, wisdom and all.
I could go back to being carefree.