When you are chronically ill, your life divides itself into clean segments of before and after. There can be multiple befores and afters. Before diagnosis, after you lost your job, before you had surgery. Eventually all the befores move further away, a glittering line of time points along the horizon. They make the past seem so beautiful.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of these befores, at some point. I don’t always linger, but it’s hard not to look back, to compare my now with my then. Every missed opportunity, every experience that I postponed. Some days it’s not the uncertain future that I struggle with. It is this definite past, every decision I ever made swarming together and crushing against me with all the weight of regret.
This week, I packed up my multitude of medical necessities and flew thousands of miles from home. I took an hour long yoga class outside in the sunlight, put on my best 40’s style dress and went dancing, and stayed up way past my bedtime telling stories. I have needed a lot of rescue meds and taken a lot of precautions, but I am doing it. I am in a city I never thought I would see again, doing things I never thought I would do.
On days like today, it seems that the edges of these befores and afters start to bleed together, and I instead find myself living in the space between them. And it’s still dangerous here, but there are possibilities again that I had shelved a long time ago.
On days like today, I am tired and sick and very happy. It feels like maybe I could do this for a while, if I have to.