Robert B. Marks (garwulf) wrote,
Robert B. Marks

An open letter to Bob “Moviebob” Chipman (along with everybody else who has received similar news)

Dear Bob,

I’ve been a fan of your work for some time, and I read your recent news with great sympathy.  I know all too well what it’s like to receive life-changing news from your doctor – it has happened to me too.

I’m not going to provide unsolicited advice – frankly, I’m not qualified, and even if I was, from the sounds of it you’ve already got really good people advising and guiding you through it.  But, I will tell you a bit about my own experiences.

In my case, it’s a condition called Crohn’s Disease.  I like to call it “the killer colon,” and that is not an affectionate nickname.  It’s a disorder where my immune system reserves the right to launch a full-scale nuclear strike on my colon at its leisure.  When it flares, I get the pleasure of around three months recovery on steroids, during at least the first month of which I am functionally homebound and unable to work.  And, it’s serious business – there aren’t many illnesses that can take down a man of my age, but Crohn’s Disease is one of them.

And that’s why every morning with my coffee I take the same sort of immune system suppressors used after organ transplants to prevent tissue rejection.  I just take a much lower dose.

So, as I said, I know what it’s like to receive the news that you’re a sick man.  But here’s the bad and shocking as it feels right now, it gets better.

I remember when I got the news.  I remember the uncertainty and the fear.  I remember wondering what would happen if I forgot my medication, and what a flare would feel like when it happened.  And, I remember wondering how I would be able to live my life with this sort of sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

I also remember all of those feelings lasting less than two weeks.

Two weeks...that’s all it took for my new condition to fade into the background of my life.  I get up in the morning, I take my pills with my coffee, and I do the things that I would otherwise do.  And, it’s okay, really.  As strange as it sounds when you have a condition that can be serious or even life-threatening, it doesn’t take long at all to adjust to the point where it’s just another thing you have to deal with.

I don’t know if it will be the same amount of time for you as it was for me.  It could be less, it could be more.  But I can tell you from experience that no matter how depressed you might feel about your news right now, the time is coming – and it’s coming soon – when it won’t be worth more than the shrug of your shoulders when somebody mentions it.

As I said, while it may not feel like it at the moment, but it’s going to get better.  You may trust me on that – I’ve been there.

Robert “Garwulf” Marks
Tags: life, moviebob

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