There’s only so much one person can take. I’ve reached my breaking point over and over again.
I’d sometimes look over at the vat of pills on my dining room table that contains enough lethal dosages to kill several people and think I could take an excessive amount and everyone would think it was a tragic accident. My passing would spare my family, friends and myself from the misery of living with a chronic illness; the autoimmune disease IGG4-rd that has damaged my organs and cost me more money that I may be able to repay.
During those moments, I’d wonder what everyone else’s life would be life if they no longer had the burden of caring for me, worrying about my test results and thinking about what they could do to help me. I usually picture a few months of sadness followed by years I relief.
I’d imagine my “stepson”, nephew, brothers and parents spending the money left over after paying off my debts through the sale of my house, car and from my insurance policies. I could see them on the vacations they couldn’t take because they were afraid to leave my side. I could also visualize the relaxed, carefree looks on their faces.
Sometimes, I’d cry, wishing I could experience a life with them without the condition that has come to define my adult life. Other times, I’d drop to my knees and pray for solace. I never heard the voice of God in response to my pleas but I’d feel a sense of resignation. I’d struggle to my feet, flop down into my bed, pull up the sheets and rock myself to sleep. In the morning, the wonder was still there but the longing to give in would be gone.
I consider the day that the notion that I’ve been defeated by my illness waned as my Independence Day; I’m now free from the anguish of those thoughts. Since then, I’ve made a conscious decision to be brutally honest about my feelings. I’ve chosen to use them and the knowledge I’ve gained from battling for my survival to help others facing those weak moments.
I know that right now my voice in the world is small. I haven’t reach nearly as many people I’d hoped with my blog or my memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House. But, as long as I’m alive, I have a chance to change that. If I give in, I won’t. So, I don’t.
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