We like to think of ourselves as separate from our illness. We like to blame an outside source, whether it’s evil spirits or microbes, anything foreign, anything outside ourselves. We love to pinpoint the cause, to point to that tumor, that gene, that trauma, and say, Aha! There’s your problem! It’s comforting, because it reminds us that we are not our illness. Its ugliness is not our ugliness. We have free will, but our bodies have wills of their own, and though your body will decay, as long as you retain your will, you will retain your humanity, your soul, that part of you that might still be loved.
But to think that even that can be infected, and changed, and taken away— that’s the thought that keeps me up at night.