By Billy Boloby
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.
And that was just as true for everyone else.
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.