Always the optimist, I looked on the "bright side" - I didn't have to worry about Crohn's screwing up my performance schedule. But then I thought about all the traveling I did over the years and how much I took it for granted. I looked back on the Mute-Ants' two month-long tours. All of a sudden, all that seemed impossible. How did I ever travel the country in a van, eating food from diners and convenience stores without a care in the world? Simple answer: I didn't. The guy who did all that stuff doesn't exist anymore.
When 2009 rolled around, Billy Boloby was nowhere to be found. After canceling plans week after week, I got fed up with feeling like a flake. I decided it'd be easier to just stop making plans. And so I did. My guitar collected dust, and my social life was a memory. And after a while, I didn't care. At first, it was psychologically devastating, to go from being healthy and active to sick and house-ridden seemingly overnight. It really felt like a piece of me had died.
But I wasn't dead, and though it took me a while, gradually I learned how to cope with having Crohn's. And by late 2011, after having no flare-ups for almost a year, I decided I was in remission. It took me a while to realize it, but when I did, it hit me like a revelation, and I was ready to celebrate by finally emerging from my hermitage. I wanted to tell everyone, so I got on my computer to type up a Facebook post.
And then the phone rang. It was my gastroenterologist, calling with results from my latest blood test: My liver enzymes were skyrocketing. So much for celebrating. Instead, I spent the next several months undergoing a series of tests and procedures, and was put on the liver transplant list this past April.
It took a while, but eventually I stopped freaking out about my situation. I finally ended my streak of seclusion by attending a party in Lake Worth. And soon after that, my former bandmate, Steve McKean, hosted a "welcome back" party for me - and the Boloby band shook off our stage rust and performed an impromptu set, as did Pots 'N' Pans. The 20 minutes or so I spent playing music that night was without a doubt the best I've felt since this whole thing began. It felt right, like this is what I am supposed to do. And though I still have this transplant looming over my head like a bile-filled rain cloud, I would very much like to do it again.
My liver specialist told me that after my transplant, I'll feel a lot better and will have a lot more energy. Perhaps 2013 will see my return to stage. In the meantime, I created a website at boloby.wordpress.com, where I have posted most of my music, writings and other random oddities like a Weekly World News article about the Boloby band having met at a camp for deformed children. Onstage or off, I have to stay creative. Crohn's and PSC can kick my ass all they want, but as long as I have my creative health, I'm good.