On Being Ill
Abby Norman

Crohn’s Disease: One good productive day with no symptoms = 2 to five days in bed. Over and Over and Over for years. Pills, more pills, at one point, 29 pills a day. Steroid withdrawal twice. Praying constantly in the bathroom. Canceling things that I really wanted to do. Too many doctors — too many guesses. Being noncompliant with drugs when I hallucinate kitty cats running through my house. I have no cats. Disease and scar tissue growing for reasons no one knows. Slice a piece of active disease out, put me back together. A fraction of a step away from short bowel syndrome. Average length between surgeries, five years. Increased chance of bowel or stomach cancer. Steady pain, then steady pain interrupted by spikes of greater pain. Relief? A very hot bath in a very large bathtub. Until next week when I will lose that tub because we, after 30 years, have to sell the house to pay off the loan. Stress? Constant.

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