I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. So much that it’s been hard to walk, to sit, to be in a car, to do anything but recline gently on my uncomfortable couch.

I had surgery almost two weeks ago. Almost immediately I felt things clear up. It was a joke, actually, because while the day of and the day immediately after seemed fine, I spent the following day trying not to throw up and ate, maybe, 11 saltine crackers all day.

But then I felt better.

So I went for a wander in the patch of woods I’ll be moving back to once there is something to live in.

And I went for a walk at the river where I live now.

It is remarkable, really, how much can change once a doctor is convinced to scrape the scar tissue and bleeding growths from your abdomen. I feel good now, despite the holes the disease has eaten through my peritoneum.

For a few weeks I was making some bad decisions despite knowing how they turn out. How they always turn out. I made myself sicker, put myself in positions to be hurt – because I wanted to feel nothing, or I wanted to feel a pain I could name.

And then: relative health again, and I can walk without discomfort, and I can be in the woods and not feel shadowed by the knowledge that things are bad – that bad is inevitable. It is the default.

It’s not. Not always. Or… it doesn’t need to be.