Sixty Five Roses

My illness is unseen, hidden in plain sight.  It is insidious, permeating every aspect of your life.  It cares not about dreams, plans or age.  It takes over your whole life.  Your entire being.  It does not say sorry.

My illness takes no prisoners.  It will murder you in cold blood.  It will overpower you without thought.  It will cripple you with no regrets.  It will strip away your dignity with glee. It will kill you and there is no cure.

My illness will hunch your shoulders, barrel your chest and club your fingernails.  It will alienate you, suffocate you and choke you – both figuratively and literally.  It will overwhelm you with regiment, anger you with infections and institutionalise you with hospital admissions.

My illness will break you.  You will rebel.  You will comply.  You will fight.  You will give in.  You will always give in, in the end.  It will change you.  It will challenge you.  It will alter the direction of your life.  It will make you suffer.  It will bring you to your knees.

My illness will make you ill.  There will be days when the exhaustion is overwhelming.  There will be periods when you feel you are drowning in your own body.  There will be occasions when you will feel like every organ is failing you.  Fevers will cause you to hallucinate, coughing fits will break your ribs and the lack of oxygen will make you feel like your head is about to split in two.

But my illness will not define you.  It will open your eyes to so many things.  You will be empathetic, sympathetic and compassionate.  You will be strong, vulnerable and in tune with your body.  You will become a warrior.  And you will fight.  You will fight until you succumb but it will tremble before you.  There will be no other choice.

© Melinda McKeon 20 June 2020

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