Every day, so many words. Words, and words, and words.
Yet this blog, my blog, my fledgling little piece of the internet, goes unused like a toothbrush in a meth house.
I figured since I am going into the 6th year of whatever this website has become, today would be a good day to add some content and try to remind everyone that this site is still up and running. Honestly, I kind of regret not writing here more, but there is a reason for that…
So, just in case this is your first time reading here, I’ll go back a little and make a very long story short. On June 16th of 2016 I died. A couple of times. I was in the middle of a quintuple bypass to fix damage from the heart failure that was the result of a viral infection in 2013. After the bypassing blood vessels had been sewn into my aorta and connected to the arteries that supply blood to my heart muscle, my heart decided it didn’t want to beat anymore. The doctors got it fired up again with the use of their miracle drugs and it was ticking along, until it decided to stop again. The second time my thoracic surgeon actually had to “massage” my heart back into beating. It’s been cranking along ever since.
The ensuing recovery from that surgery took a year, including a total of 4 months in and out of the hospital. At one point I was given a year to live. A year turned into 5. I was told I needed a heart transplant. I developed debilitating arthritis from the drugs I take to keep my heart going. I fought back, I worked out, I cured myself of type 2 diabetes, I told my doctors that they’d never seen a heart like mine. And apparently, they hadn’t because I am continuing to defy their prognosis. As much as I can, at least.
As much of a challenge as the physical aspects of recovery were, they pale in comparison to the mental recovery, which is kind of the point of this post.
A big part of why I haven’t written here in a very long time is the fact that I hadn’t taken the time to get my mind right. When everything that comes at you is bad news, it’s easy to buy into it. The bone crushing depression associated with someone telling you at 35 that seeing 40 would be a miracle is not an easy thing to wrap your head around. It’s like trying to digest a rusty hunk of pig iron.
Depression is not a new thing in my life. In fact, for that period of time from when I initially got diagnosed with heart failure up to the day of my surgery, depression was the only constant in my life. It was the foundation for my lifestyle and decisions. Somewhere between being pissed off and not caring, I circled the drain for 3 years in a cloud of cigarette smoke, whiskey, and self-loathing.
I’ve said many times, and believe whole-heartedly (pun?), that the man I was for those 3 years and the 31 before them – died on June 16th, 2016. I’m the guy that woke up.
And the guy that woke up had to get his shit together.
It was a conscious decision to go into somewhat of a self-induced hermitage. For the last 8 months I’ve purposely taken the time to withdraw from the world and get a handle on my own thoughts. I’m pretty much useless to myself and to anyone else if my head isn’t right. In essence, I had me some demons to wrangle.
So that’s exactly what I did. I dug down deep inside of me and I evaluated that depression. I slipped a chain around it’s throat, and I put it in a cage built out of the dozens of pages of handwritten material that will probably never see the light of day. But occasionally I can go down there to that basement room in my mind, re-read those words, and know that my personal depression demon is still locked safely in the cage I built for it. It’s a risky endeavor, though. I know full-well that given even the slightest chance of escape, that monster of depression will fucking decimate me without even blinking one of its evil eyes.
Then again, I do a lot of risky stuff, so this is just par for the course.
In the meantime, it is important for me to take a step back into the fold of humanity and say that I’m still here, I’m happy, I am content. I’m at peace. With all of it. I could sit around and lament about life expectancies and evaluations of future diagnoses, OR I could just live my life. I can just go about my day to day existence and deal with whatever happens WHEN it happens – not sitting frozen worrying about IF it is going to happen.
I mean seriously… I could be one of those people that prepares for every eventuality and builds a life around trying to prevent some catastrophic outcome, just to get hit by a fucking bus walking across the street.
Life is that bus. If it’s your time to taste tire tread – then it’s your time. Quit wasting your life avoiding busses and get to living.
I plan on making the 6th year of the blog a little more entertaining than the 5th, and hopefully with less stories about being in the hospital.
Love you guys, and thank you again for being on this journey with me.