In the early days of my illness, (and BOY OH BOY does that seem like a lifetime ago now); the future wasn’t something I really considered.
If, and when I ever did, it was almost always with negativity and a justly hopeless outlook. I’d focus solely on what I wouldn’t be able to do, what I would be forced to miss out on, and how awful living with the ‘new’ me would be for my loved ones and I. I couldn’t think beyond pain and medication. I couldn’t and wouldn’t see anything past whatever horrible procedures and anal intrusions I’d have to face on an almost daily basis. And that was just my private life! HAHAHAHA! LOL! BOOM! ETC :'(
I was blinded by nausea, pain and misery. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how I’d be able to piece my life back together with this newly diseased stranger along for the ride. I felt as though I’d changed beyond all recognition and was frustrated that everyone around me couldn’t see that I was suddenly a different person.
I felt ‘altered’.
I was grumpy, irritable and I’m pretty sure a Grade A pain in the neck to be around. Forcing myself to pretend otherwise just led to more of an inner rage that seemed to burn away inside worse than my intestines after chili sauce.
That was over 6 years ago now, when I had decidedly more diseased insides, and definitely less internal organs. Since my diagnosis I’ve honestly lost count of the amount of times men I’ve only just met have inserted intrusive instruments inside me. A phrase I never expected to say unless I’d made the inevitable move from art school into sex-work. It’s on my CV now.
I’ve learnt more about the inner workings of my body than I’d likely ever have known otherwise. I’ve realised my capacity for empathy towards others is huge and my tolerance for hypochondria is MINISCULE. I’ve also appreciated that time genuinely IS a great healer. It allows for grieving, adapting and eventual moving on. Time passes and what was once the most horrendous thing ever to happen to you becomes one you can live with. You become less self-absorbed and realise that having a disease isn’t the most important thing in the world. Let’s face it now Jon Hamm is single that trumps everything.
For those of you who find yourselves in the position of having been recently diagnosed, please remember that although it may feel like it, your life isn’t over. It’s just been altered a little. OK, a lot.
It’s tough and it’s going to be really hard to maintain some semblance of a positive attitude. But do bear in mind that to date there is nothing in your life you haven’t overcome. You will deal with this too. You will.
LIKE A BOSS. Albeit one with shares in wet wipes and a grumbly tummy in board meetings.