A continuation of my faith journey with Crohns disease.
When you face your own potential death, something changes in you. Beyond the greater appreciation of those areas of your life like family, friends and, of all things, health, something else also changes in you. I don’t know how to phrase it, but life slows down a bit. Priorities change. You seem stronger and more vulnerable at the same time. You’re just never the same again.
The first time Crohns tried to kill me, I wasn’t prepared and in denial of the critical nature of my situation. But the second time, that was much harder. It took longer to develop and longer to overcome. I don’t know how to say it other than to say that, in the end, you’re just different.
By the time I had gotten out of the hospital I had lost my job at Channel 13. So, I was left living with my in-laws, unemployed, recovering from surgery, without any real prospects working in the industry for which I was trained. Things were not looking good.
And there is something about being a man, about being a father, more than any societal or internal pressure… there is something instinctual about a man’s role in the family. We are compelled to provide for the family, to hunt the bison, to feed the children. Those years with my in-laws were brutal on my psyche. Tattooing the word LOSER to my forehead would have only scratched the surface as to how I felt about myself.
During my years recovering and retraining myself in the computer industry, I was excessively lonely. Other than my parents, for some reason my family did not call me… not once. They never asked me out to dinner or a movie or just to hang out. They got all of their news on me from my parents and left me alone. For years. I have since talked to some of them about this and they said they didn’t want to impose on my in-laws. But, it deeply effected my feelings about my family. If they aren’t here for me now, then was my childhood all some sort of sick facade? It was devastating.
At one point, one of my older brothers called and I was very excited. Unfortunately, I later found out that reason for the call was because my wife had asked him to… she was worried I was going to commit suicide. That thought never crossed my mind, but apparently my behavior had her that worried. But the fact that, yet again, no one in my family took the time to talk to me… well, the scar cut pretty deep.
I don’t remember much of my time with my in-laws. It was so personally painful that I have blocked most of it out as a defense mechanism. About the only thing I remember is the birth of my son. And a surprise 30th birthday party my wife threw me. Other than that, it’s pretty sketchy.
As part of my retraining process, I got a job as a phone jockey at a major long distance phone carrier.
By this time, I had felt the symptoms of Crohns for almost 10 years. I knew just about anything there was that could happen when it comes to the disease… or so I thought.
It was at this point that Crohns tried to kill me for the third time.
To be continued…