Now, I have not written anything here, because at the time of my last post, now nearly three years ago, I started to get really, really ill. And the first thing that went was my mind.
Then my body. I could still function on Twitter (which I have since then abandoned, except for a closed account that I only use to stay in touch with a few people, I do have a public account not associated with my name, and I use it to make fun of the news), but I was unable to formulate a clear thought that couldn't be squeezed into a 140 character headline.
In 2015 I was almost dead. My kidneys had begun to shut down due to an untreated diabetes.
So, yes, I was literally pissing my life away. And how is that for an image to haunt your days, eh?
The treatment almost came too late. In the past year I have been fighting to stay alive almost every day, and there were days when I thought I would lose this fight.
But like I once said on this very blog, if I died... then the wrong people would have won.
And I cannot have that.
I am rather stubborn that way.
So, no, I have not been able to write a single word for a long time, and this now is just a little exercise in typing, although in the past few days I have started to write again, something that is more than
on an empty page (so to speak, in today's digital world), and no, I am not even making this up. See, diabetes is a shit illness, kids, it isn't that nice, fluffy thing that people talk about while they are scarfing down the same fast food bullshit that has gotten them in this situation in the first place.
Diabetes, it attacks your body first. In my case, I started to no longer be able to metabolize carbs. In other words, every damn thing I ate turned into a layer of fat, and I had no idea why I started to gain weight in places where I had never had weight.
Then it started to affect my mind.
It went... out to lunch, so to speak.
Eat at Joe's it wasn't.
I couldn't hold a thought anymore. First, I lost the plot. Then, I lost the ability to form complex sentence structures (some would argue, maybe rightfully so, that I had never had such ability in the first place, and to those who would argue that way, uh, shut the fuck up), until each moment was frozen in time. Each breath was work. I could no longer walk. I could barely sit up straight, even when the treatment began, I got worse.
And whatever strength I had left, whatever of my mind had not gone away, I used to research every possibility to stay alive. So, yeah, by now I know a fucking lot more about diabetes and metabolism than my doctor does. This is not me boasting. This is me looking back at the past year and thinking, how the fuck did I get through this?
I nearly died twice.
I collapsed as my body gave out while I was whipping it back into shape, changed my entire diet, lost all the weight, became a fucking Master Chef, all to stay alive.
Because, see... I know there is nothing but this life.
I know, because I was dying.
And want to know what's there, when your brain fires its neurons in a desperate battle to stay alive?
There is nothing.
No heaven. No hell.
And your heart screams. And you reach out to the nearest thing, the nearest person, you claw into them, the way I would see my father claw at me at the end of the past year when cancer took him, I saw it in his eyes and I knew what I saw, because I had seen it myself, and the only thing I could do was to hold him, his head on my shoulder, tell him that I would be there until the final moment, even when the cancer had started to take his brain and he would no longer recognize me, only my mother, his wife of 51 years, the love of his life for 54.
And I fought.
I am still fighting.
But I am alive. Kinda sorta.
I didn't beat the diabetes. I never will. But I managed to corner it, and it claws at me in frustration, it claws at my heart on the bad days, it growls that I will fall asleep one of those days, that I will become weak one day or another, that all it takes is something that has too much sugar, too many carbs in it, and it will take my heart and me down.
But I cornered it. In the past few months, while I was fighting for my life, I had been put on three different diabetes meds plus a daily insulin injection, my kidneys were almost gone, my liver as well, and the doctor gave me another two years at the most.
It has been a year since that diagnosis.
I am alive. Kinda sorta.
I have managed to get off all medication.
Yes, you read that right.
I am not healthy. I never will be.
But I am off all medication. My kidneys work. My liver works.
You see my blood work and didn't know me, you'd think I am healthy.
My blood sugar is that of a healthy man my age.
My blood sugar lies.
I am beating the shit out of my diabetes each day. I beat the shit out of it by using the discipline I learned while I was fighting at school, that I learned while I was in the army, I look at it and I whisper, "come on, motherfucker, come and get it, I fucking dare you."
I know the carb count of everything. I know how to pace meals. I know how to essentially starve my body in the right way that it had to jump start my pancreas again. That my levels became those of a healthy man.
All it took was to be ready to die.
When the darkness came for me.
And I looked at it and said, fuck you. Not now.
I will never be healthy again. And I will fight each day.
But I am alive.
And I will write again.
I am still here.