Which brings me to a bleak morning in November 2012. I’m sitting in a pale-green, harshly lit medical office, staring blankly at an anatomical poster through choked-back tears, gripping my wife’s hand and half-listening to the doctor while struggling to process what he just told me. After spending the night doubled over with intense abdominal pain, I had finally consented to a rare visit to the clinic and had lain down for the CT scan, assuming I’d be having my appendix taken out today. Thus, the pronouncement came as a shock: “The good news is you do not have appendicitis. The bad news is you have an inflamed ileum, and I think it’s Crohn’s disease.” I know that word. Two acquaintances of ours have Crohn’s, and their lives have been a hellstorm of incessant pain, ineffective medication, futile surgeries, withered bodies, strained marriages and wrecked careers. Oh no, my career. Certainly I can’t fly with this. The doctor is distantly explaining that there are many levels of severity and many cases are quite treatable, but I barely hear him over the master warning alarm blaring in my head.