What is optimal eloquence? It can't be defined. Therefore, your question can't be answered.
Also, most writing consists of a variety of sentence lengths and structures. The length and structure of each sentence are chosen by the author to achieve a particular effect. Sometimes, for example, you may wish to surprise the reader and so use a very short, even ...
Remove the connecting words. Just use simple, active verbs.
The best advice I ever got for this kind of thing is that you don't need "then." Nor do you need "and," or any other connecting words that bog up the narrative. All they do is take up space and bloat your word count. Instead, do something called "The Paramedic Method" - ...
I suppose you could say, "The disease follows me around...
like a moth drawn to a flame. (pretty cliche)
like a crazy ex. (also cliche)
like a bloodhound tracking down a stag.
like a mosquito/Great White/vampire
drawn to blood.
like a curse/nightmare that reminds me everyday of my terrible luck/life.
like the soul of a dead man who swore upon his
I'm not quite getting the emotional effect you're shooting for. The disease follows me around like a:
stain on my soul.
poison in my veins.
sad, needy child demanding my attention.
wad of gum on my shoe - always sticking, dragging me down.
note pinned to my sleeve telling me I'm different and will never be quite whole ...