Life is filled with uncertainty. You never know what is going to happen regardless of your age, gender or disposition.
For 33-year-old Cohen Crosley, life has not been the same since September 8, 2020.
“I was at a ball-field, not playing. While walking, I stepped into a bicycle track, not a hole. My ankle got broken in three places. As time went by, I started feeling weak and losing weight. I wasn’t walking properly; I was walking with a bend to one side,” he explained.
“I did a lot of blood tests, HIV [test], etcetera. At one point, I thought I had a spine issue. I kept going to the doctor, but I wasn’t getting better. I was again sent by my doctor to do some more blood tests and was told that my red blood cells were too much.”
Crosley further told The Beacon that he was referred to a rheumatologist who sent him straight to the University Hospital of the West Indies, where he was admitted for two weeks.
“I am still seeing the doctor at her private office and a physiotherapist who comes to my house,” he divulged.
In January 2021, Crosley was diagnosed with polymyositis. The disease has caused him to have limited mobility in his arms and legs.
The result is that he now relies on his younger brother and spouse for assistance with simple tasks such as getting dressed and going to the bathroom.
“Before he was actually diagnosed, he used to have a lot of pains, mostly in his lower spine. It was worse when he tried to do anything. I used to buy all manner of ointments and rub it because he had some terrible pains,” his spouse Marjorie Lewis recalled.
She added: “Of late, he’s not feeling any pains. Any pain [he now feels] is if he’s in one position for too long and he wants to be turned…”
Crosley was born in Port Morant, St. Thomas.
He hails from humble beginnings, and grew up without both parents.
He met his mother when he was 11 years old. He also was not given his father’s surname and he doesn’t know who he is.
Chikita Anderson, a diabetic with one leg, was like a mother to him.
“I was a back-and-forth child,” Crosley described himself. “I did construction, played music and did tattoo. I always had to fend for myself.”
His spouse confirms that it is financially challenging because he can no longer work as he was accustomed to doing.
The desire to contribute financially even in small ways, has caused Crosley to design a few sound boxes with the assistance of his younger brother. They are then sold to friends or anyone who sees and loves them.
The limited movements of his shoulder severely impacts his commercial undertaking, he disclosed.
Instead of worrying about his illness, the former workaholic keeps himself occupied by designing all sorts of items and later telling others how to make them.
Lewis recollected that, when her spouse just became ill, due to his loss of weight, many persons were spreading rumors that he had cancer. It was very upsetting as they did not understand the extent of his illness.
His biggest pet peeve is people who come by and mentally drain him.
“Some of those friends only came for what they could get,” Lewis argued. “The real friends are there and they expect nothing from him.”
She reminisced about the times when she and Crosley would go to parties together and how he could dance. Crosley recalled being a music lover who enjoyed playing the sound system.
“In spite of the illness, he remains positive and always sharing jokes,” Lewis said. “You would never know how sick he is; he is looking much better now because he has gained some weight.”
“Just do you,” Mr. Crosley encouraged. “Value you and don’t allow energy drainers to come around you.”
Crosley, who said he also almost lost his voice due to his illness, has invaluable advice for persons who have health issues.
“Try to find a way to comfort yourself mentally; try to do something that you love. Find comfort in persons who will always be there. Don’t give up. Continue to fight,” he reasoned.
Asked how he eventually would like to be remembered, he told The Beacon: “I want to be remembered as a friendly, hardworking individual who is always there for people no matter what.”
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