In January 2011 I was diagnosed as having Diabetes. It came as a slow death, where I had no idea what was going on beyond having excessive exhaustion. Like a relapse of Mono without the swollen throat. Like sleep apnea without the snoring. I went to work and slept in a corner. At night I slept as if beneath a film instead of a thick blanket, waking six or seven times a night. I lost my capacity to dream.
This isn’t about that experience. This is about finding energy.
I took a year before I considered myself recovered enough to be confident in my energy; I started writing stronger prose, I became more active with my fiancee, and I grasped complex thought much easier.
It took a year and a half before I wrote passionately again. I will be honest with myself when I say it was a terrifying ordeal. I was trapped in my body, a shell of a person, a fraction of what I was, and people didn’t get it. I looked worse AFTER I started treating for diabetes due to my intake of calories, gaining about 30 lbs in the process. Alternative sugar sources like Splenda, Aspartame, and a pursuit of the elusive Stevia created farther setbacks with memory loss, shakes, and ravaging hunger. I started eating potato chips. I never liked potato chips before.
Needless to say my writing suffered. I wrote most of a book in that year and a half. I tried rewriting a book in that time. To feel energized and unable to write what I think is a true prison for a man who has placed most of his eggs in the creativity basket. I haven’t written anything new in over a year.
Nowadays I get most energy from a good night’s sleep. I minimize soda and food intake. Most of the time I eat very little–and my body appreciates it. I’m perpetually hungry, yes, but I am also streamlined. Losing weight. Energized. Dreaming again. Glorious dreaming.
I still haven’t fully recovered. Perhaps I never will. When my immune system was shot every opportunistic disease in the book hit me at once. I’m still recovering from all of it. Some days I wake in a cloud haze, swimming about in a sea of mental purgatory, wanting nothing more than to sit in front of the TV and veg out. Again, it’s terrifying. I have no motivation. I have no energy. Other days I wake with so much energy I’m practically crying in happiness.
I don’t know if this is the same for everyone, if diabetes hits hard and fast and debilitating, or like a slow fog from the horizon. The nurses told me I was a special case, still am. I suspect I got hit with a virus before my insulin resistance rose, and diabetes came after. Regardless, being a creative writer isn’t just a thing I have forever, without limits or restrictions. Two years ago I’d say it was an ability, an educational tool I honed over the years. Today? It is an egg, fragile and easily broken.
Dreams shouldn’t be fragile. Dreams should be vibrant and constant. Any other diabetic writers out there, you’re not alone.