Even now, despite everything, there are things I cannot and will not say.
After the years (and it has been years, now) of tests, needles, white blood counts, pissing in little bottles, waiting, sleeping in my own sweat, painkillers, vomiting and counting the isolated days, there are still things I don’t want to admit to.
The ulcers. Deep in my cheeks. On my gums.
The dreaded nausea, keeping me awake. The vomiting.
The itchiness. The sore throats. The coughing. The headaches. Chest pains. Shortness of breath. Dark, sickly urine. Stomach cramps.
All these things I am supposed to tell a doctor about at once, but part of me – the part which is stronger, more willing to fight – refuses to confess, because they are all symptoms which mean the methotrexate may not be treating me as kindly as the doctors had hoped, and all symptoms which may mean the treatment needs to be stopped immediately. I know it’s far from sensible, but what can I do? In the past few weeks, the pain and swelling has reduced dramatically. I can walk again. I. Can. Walk. Again. I can make a cup of tea. Sleep without being woken by knives digging into my skin. I can have sex with my boyfriend again. I can put a sheet on the bed. Shower when I need to – mostly. Arrange a bunch of flowers. Fasten buttons.
All small things. All things which matter.
Without the medication, I am nothing once more. I don’t want to be nothing.