That’s what disease does. It strips your supremacy. Your body assaults you. Stealth. Without threats. One day you’re a prisoner of a war captured by a new reality: impotence.
One day you can’t. Each day the can’ts accumulate. And soon you’re surrounded by the couldn’ts. I couldn’t for more than a year. I couldn’t ride a bicycle or walk a block or lose the weight or heal the ulcer or breathe without labor or say consecutive sentences or risk the heartbreak or control my coulds.
And my will withered.
This weekend I compelled myself. I willed myself erect. I willed myself engaged. I willed myself to accomplish. I stood up, I spoke up, and I achieved. It was difficult standing on that stage. But I did it. I recovered my remains. And I resurrected my hope.
I resuscitated my dignity. I reclaimed the reign of my dominion of myself.
After a performance, I stood beside one of my closest friends. One of the circle who matter most. And my illness attacked me while I was the most vulnerable. I suffered the third most humiliating moment of my 55 years. I spoke my horror aloud and my friend soothed with a simple, “fuck it.” And at the moment – he rescued my pride. An exhale later I reclaimed my control.
I can’t control the attacks against my heart. Congestive heart failure is an insatiable beast. But I can control my reply.
This weekend I replied.