Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coming to Terms

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.

Do not, however, believe for a second that my cynicism and bitterness negate appreciation for every day I wake up alive. But those things are still very much a part of me. They are a reality of my being just as much as the color of my hair. My experience has changed me; there is no going back. And the simple suggestion that I am young or inexperienced, or "do not understand" is nothing short of infuriating to me. So, tread lightly with these topics, because I will not hesitate to introduce you to your ignorance.

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.


A.K. said...

Wait, I thought they finally diagnosed what was wrong as Lyme Disease. Is it an autoimmune disorder after all? I don't know much at all about Lyme Disease except that it's not a permanent thing? I'm sorry you have to bear this, Shannon. :(

Thinking of you quite often with love,

jeremy said...

I know you can overcome it. I have faith in you.

ElynorV said...

I had to stop let you know that your writing is beautiful, eloquent, a great pleasure to read. I haven't dipped into your other entries yet, I'd rather make time to really read them.

Pain can't be measured. I was diagnosed with lupus in 1999, and I think I know some of your frustration.

Looking forward to reading more.


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Liv4evr said...

I'm new to the blogging world, but your post that I just read made me happy that I have started. I was diagnosed with a rare type of muscular dystrophy when I was 19. Of course I didn't start to even notice that I had something wrong, until I was highly involved in every sport our school had to offer. Just like that it was all stripped away. I loved cross country and football, and now it has been more than 16 years since I have felt that pain in my side and tightness in my chest from running until I can run no more. I am a better person in many ways now.... stronger.. more resilient.. I am broken now, and yet more whole than I was before. Yet some days I still hate this vessel I drag around.

Anonymous said...
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Julianna said...

Are you okay? Where are you? Where did you go?

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