|Me having a Remicade|
infusion for my Crohn's
A few years ago, I was excited to find a novel with a main character with Crohn’s disease. Anything involving frequent frenzied trips to the bathroom is not something that is generally discussed, much less written about. When I finally got the book, I ripped through it.
To say the book sugarcoated Crohn’s is an understatement. In a book about a character with a digestive disease, the word “toilet” wasn’t mentioned once. (I searched the book on my Kindle.) The effects of the disease and its treatments were glossed over, and how a chronic illness - much less this chronic illness - affects a relationship was not realistically portrayed.
(Don't get me wrong. I liked the book. I just wanted the Crohn's experience to be better described.)
I’m working on a book in which the main character has Crohn’s disease. Charlie is diagnosed when many are: right before he goes under the knife. His whole life is changing, and he’s just beginning to figure out how to live with a chronic illness. I will make sure the word “toilet” is in the book at least once ;)
But I also need to write a story about an illness I have without writing about my illness. I could curl your hair with some of my war stories, but that’s not all I want Charlie’s story to be about. I want to be realistic without being gloomy. As much as having Crohn’s sucks, I also have a good life otherwise. I am surrounded by love and support. I accomplish, I travel, and I celebrate, all despite the limits chronic illness places on me. I want Charlie to do the same.
If you have a chronic illness, have you found novels that realistically describe what it’s like to have the illness? If you’ve written about a chronically ill person, did you find it difficult to make sure your story still made the reader feel good at the end?
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