I have lost more than 30 pounds, more of a direct result than a side effect. They say it is a rare disease, but it feels more like a common condition, as in my plans are in constant flux depending on the condition thereof. It has to do with my stomach and the deterioration of the muscles in my esophagus. It has to do with coughing and choking, and going to bed each night convinced that it will be the very last time I ever do so.
I cannot sleep, and when I do I wake up in sudden panics, covered in the remains of the day and a gasp for breath like so many fish out of water. My wife makes me sleep in the guest room. I am exhausted.
It is not life-threatening, but it is life-restrictive. I cannot keep most meals down and I am in a constant tango with dehydration. Every ounce out I put two back in, and then we dip. Then we dance.
The past few months have been spent in various layers of mourning—one death after another, paired by book sales that should be better, a new job built heavy on promise, my only current source of income repackaged as “an exciting new opportunity” that no longer provides said income, sporadic fitness training that my body can’t handle, a home gutted of wall and floor thanks to water damage, and the tubes, the doctors, the procedures.
I have had my insides stretched by balloons and pumped full of Botox. I have had my insides land quickly upon my lap while sitting on the highway with no shoulder there to speak of.
Life of late has been one punch in the gut after another against a gut that punches back. I do not know if it makes me stronger, but it makes me think that I would like to be. It makes me appreciate the strength I feel around me.
I am fully aware that this is not the most adversity that one can face, in fact, it pales in comparison, but it is my adversity, and I am doing my best to own it.
I am doing my best to keep it down.