Almost exactly ten years ago, I was in the hospital for a flare of Crohn’s colitis. On May 4th I will celebrate ten years of being Crohn’s-hospitalization free.
When I think back on that time of my life and see images of the past, my eyes well up with tears. My life seemed to be in pieces so much of the time. But paradoxically, those years were also rich with love, joy and compassion. People were there for me in amazing ways. I was there for me in ways I never thought I could be.
I took nothing for granted. Every morsel of food that I ate was a treasure. Sleeping through the night was a gift. Just feeling the energy to do what healthy people did would make my day.
I haven’t forgotten what it was like to be a person with a disability. I haven’t forgotten the mortal fear of death or writhing in pain with no hope of relief. I haven’t forgotten the debilitation nor the emaciation that I experienced. There were weeks of being starved by doctors, months of eating baby food, and years of not knowing if I could plan anything in my life without a whisper of fear in the back of my mind saying, “But you could get sick again.”