Nine Musicians Discuss Chronic Illnesses

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These nine musicians who were open enough to talk to Paste about their experiences with chronic illness prove that the musical life isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. Listen to their stories about the realities of playing music while struggling with chronic illnesses ranging from kidney failure to multiple sclerosis.

Mike Hadreas
Perfume Genius

Chronic Illness:
Crohn’s Disease

How long have you had Crohn’s Disease?
Diagnosed at 14.

How does it affect your professional life?
Since the disease is internal, you very much have to speak up when your symptoms are getting out of control. You don’t want to be seen as fragile, difficult or just plain sickly—so you power through quietly most of the time. I’ve actually only discussed it with a few people.

How does it impact your personal life?
I find taking care of myself difficult in general. Besides my meds, there are lots of “lifestyle” choices I could be making to help heal my guts up. Googling diet recommendations can spiral down to someone advocating simply not eating. No thanks., [I] would rather commit to Indian Food and gently weep.

Outside of your professional and personal dealings with Crohn’s Disease, what else would you like others to know about it?
My body attacks itself. Not cute. It can be hard to balance what is beyond your control with the conscious choices you can make. I just polished off a liter of Diet Coke, which would dissolve a penny—so I got a ways to go. If anybody has a hot tip on the dopest immuno-suppressants for 2012 get at me!

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