Well, here we are again, on the night before everything starts to roll. You remember last time, yeah? We were seventeen and they’d taken the bloodwork and there was a crazy Mississippi storm that night. Remember how we curled over and cried a little and then wrote some poetry? Yeah, it sucked – the poetry, and the night.
I’m not mad at you. I’m not breaking up with you. Partially because I can’t since, let’s be honest, you are me and I’m just personifying you to make sense of something that can’t be made sense of.
Maybe this was partially my fault. Faith fundamentalists would say I should have prayed more. Health fundamentalists would say I should have eaten better. They’re both probably a smidgeon right.
Maybe you did this because I delved into that childhood trauma in counseling, and I sat dry-sobbing in the coffee shop that whole Saturday, shaking so hard I could barely type up edits on my freelance job. Maybe the stress took you a step too far, and you turned on me. Again.
If I’d taken more care – of my faith or my health or my emotions – maybe you wouldn’t be spilling ketones and playing blood sugar seesaw. At least, that’s what the screwed up part of my brain says.
The other side of my brain quips, “To hell with it all – no one’s at blame but Adam.” This part is probably right, but I still stink of shame.
Whatever the cause and whatever the fault, I can’t change it now. I can alter my lifestyle, adapt for the future, but I can’t undo what my genes have concocted. And to be honest, right now adaptation is near the last thing on my mind.
Right now, it’s all I can do to breathe, and write, and wait.
Do you remember how we used to pull the blanket over our head and listen to Learning How to Die and Table for Two over and over like they were lifelines, during that year of misdiagnosis and uncertainty and late night terror? Do you remember how we lay in bed and said, “Goodbye, fingers,” hoping in the farewelling that the loss wouldn’t hurt so much?
Guess what: It didn’t work.
Need I remind you that we are 24? 24 is too young for three autoimmune diseases.
I know it’s not the end of the world. Whether it’s Type 1 or Type 2 or some other mystery disease, I know I’ll keep going. Not because I’m brave (please, let’s not be labeled), but because I have to. Life doesn’t stop just because your body is self-destructing.
Or maybe that’s too dramatic – maybe I should say, life doesn’t stop just because:
- Your blood is trying to turn to acid
- Your joints are coming apart
- Your fatigue is smothering your brain
- You wake up to find you were curled in the fetal position all night
- You can barely walk for a while
We’ll keep going. We still need to finish writing our books. We still need to go to England and Iceland. We still need to find a real job. We still need to live independently. We still need to confront trauma and seek healing. That doesn’t change because you decided to pitch another fit.
I’m trying to say something that’s lodged between the base of my throat and the back of my chest but I don’t know how.
I’m tired of not feeling safe.
Tomorrow it starts again. I’ll probably get an immediate diagnosis this time, and then I’ll have to readjust my expectations and revisit my limitations and realign the structure of my days. Again.
Maybe I’m too theatrical or too self-focused and maybe I should say, “Hey, everyone’s bodies are breaking, it’s all cool!” But here’s the deal: Breaking sucks. And sometimes I think I’ve been broken enough for my 24 years and then some.
So here’s to you and I, the cynical. Here’s to us, the perpetually wrecked. Here’s to us, the empty.
And here’s to the coming years, may they be blessed.