It has been many moons since my last post. There have been changes. Good things have happened.
Over the past three years illness has pursued me. I feared it had become ineluctable. From constant sinus infections to chronic bronchitis to pneumonia, I rode a roller coaster with more downs than ups until despair grabbed me by the throat and shook me as a terrier would a rat.
At last I faced my doom when drunkenly I cracked a rib in an hotel room last October, followed immediately by a diagnosis of diabetes. I was fat. I was obese. I was and am an alcoholic. Addicted to the demon wine which drove me farther and farther down the road of self-destruction.
But, like a phoenix, I have turned my life around and am rising from my own ashes, my self-immolation, to soar above my injuries. I stopped drinking October 23, 2012 and began a diabetic’s diet. To this date, February 18, 2013, I have lost 46 pounds and most of my ailments are a thing of the past.
It has not been easy. Just as I stopped drinking and foreswore carbohydrates, I was struck with mononucleosis. Thanksgiving 2012 I attempted to cook a turkey dinner for a good friend. The dinner was a disaster and I could barely sit up to eat. Shortly, I staggered toward my couch, reclined, and could not rise. My friend, my understanding friend, stayed a bit and talked, then left, poorly served. But he is kindness personified. He left me to my sickbed. In kindness, he left me to rest.
“I did not then know what new ailment assailed me. “I think you have mono,” my doctor said. “Impossible,” said I. I have exchanged no body fluids. I have done nothing to deserve this new assault on my well being.” The doctor took my blood and confirmed the active presence of the kissing disease. He wrote, “I hate it when I’m right…”
As I followed my diet, the weight melted away, yet the mono refused to relinquish its awful hold. Then when my feet and hands began to burn as if they had been thrust into the flames of Hell, I was beginning to feel like Job. I was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, all rolled into one.
This was during the holidays so all of my doctors were on vacation. I considered a walk-in clinic but they would not know my history. I came very close to checking myself into a hospital and begging for pain killers. On a scale of one to ten, my pain WAS a ten.
The pain was so intense I felt as if I were wearing gloves and boots of fire. In my semi-delirium (Sleep deprivation was my constant companion.), I saw medieval boots used for torture. Made of iron or copper, the boots, in days of old, were tightened, or heated over flames, or filled with boiling water. My pain was all of those. Other boots were lined with nails. I wore these every day…and matching gloves.
From afar, my doctor prescribed mild anesthetics, but nothing helped. The pain ebbed and flowed but was worst when I lay down, hence the deprivation of sleep.
Came the new year and my doctors returned one by one from sunnier climes. Seems one of my medications, prescribed to help me stop drinking, could also cause peripheral neuropathy (As does diabetes.). I stopped taking the med. Mononucleosis, being a virus, could do anything. The mono persisted full blown well past the usual two weeks, and that virus might be causing my pain.
My neurologist prescribed a narcotic (a very low dose), and slowly the pain diminished. I began stretching again, which also seemed to help. I went to my chiropractor. I went to my Chinese doctor for herbs and acupuncture (“You have chi deprivation,” said Dr. Wang.).
I lost more weight. I did not drink despite losing the crutch of medication. My liver returned to normal and, I suppose, began to filter other poisons from my body, now that it did not have to deal with alcohol. I walked for exercise. I broke old habits…”Get out of the house!” My brain screamed…and I did.
I got better. Some pain remains, still coming and going unpredictably. But the raging fire has not come again. I lost more weight. I was not drinking. My body healed itself and many of my worst ailments disappeared or reduced to mere nuisances.
I am not done. My body was never physically addicted to alcohol…at least there were no withdrawal symptoms. But my brain missed that self-medication, still does. I persist. My clothes became so big I had to buy new. Even though I am not done losing weight, I just could not continue to wear what a friend now called, “Giant’s clothing.” At a library convention I browsed an American Eagle Outfitters store and a large shirt fit me. Ha, ha! It fit. And my self-confidence soared.
During this time I also began seeing a psychologist. He helped a great deal. He still does. And my friends, my goodness, what would I have done without my friends? They encouraged me and praised my progress and helped me up when I fell. But, I guess, that is what friends do, neh?
As of late, I have even had a few days when I was happy. I had forgotten what that was like. It does not come every day, but it comes more often. And I continue to lose weight, and my blood sugar is dropping, just from diet. And my counselor listens. I have been saved from the fire…but it is still there. I will never forget. It is still there.
Drinkin’ wine no mo’…