Turning In My Free Pass

It seems unlikely that 2 months have passed since I last did whatever it is that I find myself doing at present, but the system by which we have agreed to mark our voyage insists that it is so. A great number of things have occurred here and everywhere it seems, and yet it feels much the same as it ever was, just further along and with better weather. My mentioning the weather in the first few sentences is probably very indicative of how much I have to say that has any substance, but there was something that compelled me to drop into this seat and I don't have the energy for argument right now.

I last wrote about the process of hacking away the shackles of the American Servitude System that I had become enmeshed with, and hopefully emerging with some sort of fresh start. That process, overall, is pretty cut-and-dried, and pretty impersonal unless one chooses to get caught up in the emotional aspects of losing "stuff". The past 2 months have been about another sort of "reset" that is needed, and this one is all about being personal. A choice had to be made, one that was going to shape everything that came after, and that probably would need to be reaffirmed on a moment-to-moment basis for the rest of my days. As I sit here searching for words that don't sound overly dramatic or cliche, I can only come up with this; I had to choose to value my life rather than sitting back and waiting to die.

Reading the following words today summed up my life for the past 7 or 8 years. This is exactly what happened to me that caused me to retreat and withdraw from my life and the world around me. Thank you, Nina, for this priceless reminder.

"Should you be caught up inside of it to the point of despair, you will lose sleep and sicken your immune system. When you cannot experience the beauty of the life you are leading and the joy abundant in interacting with your fellows, you might as well abandon Gaia in surrender to the Illusion's hollow legs."

I found "it" in the form of a series of events within a short period of time, and in daily reinforcement by seeking out reaffirmation of my conclusions made. The internet was a big part of all of it and the perfect tool for maintaining the vibe.

There are enough aspects of this that already feel self-indulgent, but talking about the things that have shaped who I am am today and where I hope to go (why am I writing this again? Oh yeah, we ditched the shrink and it's free!) must include some mention of a certain challenge I face, and will continue to face from here onward unless I can call on the resources of the Universe to show me how to make a correction. I can't pretend it isn't real, and I can no longer pretend that it doesn't profoundly impact most facets of my life.

As much as I try to kid myself and put on a brave face, I am not an entirely healthy individual. The blame for much of my current state is mine and mine alone due to a general disregard for common sense maintenance items like regular exercise and eating right. When I saw my doctor last week I joked about gaining a couple more pounds just so I can say I was 300#, but he didn't seem too amused by it. Much of the damage has been done in the last 5 years due to becoming almost totally sedentary and having an unchecked affair with cheese. I do, however, face an additional challenge in the form of a boutiqe ailment known as Fibrosing Mediastinitis. My doctor had never heard of it and I am in a rather exclusive club as a person being so diagnosed, so there is that whole exotic element that is cool, but otherwise it pretty much kicked me over the edge and gave me the excuse needed to sit back and await my demise (even though some put the mortality rate at only around 40%). So far it has rendered one lung basically useless and surrounded my heart with scar tissue along with assorted other symptoms, but the really big question mark with this disease is one never knows if it is done or not. Might progress, might not. The only way to know is to either do regular (expensive) scans or to wait until something goes amiss. It would be easier to KNOW what is going to happen, but what else might we apply that to in our experience here?

I'm not going to roll around in descriptions of the process, or how it has specifically affected my abilities, but I wanted to identify the thing that became my free pass - my shield against having to actually participate in my own life and the lives of those I share space with. I'll say it and move on; I quit on myself, my family, every one of you, and for that I am so very sorry. To those that I know will read this (or otherwise know my heart), I thank you for never discarding me or allowing me to go all the way over. Your patience and continued love have no limits and leave me speechless and in awe of your strength and capacity for compassion.

This aspect of my voyage needs to be addressed logically, but not allowed to become an excuse again. It is also a thing that needs to be carefully considered when planning for a different future - one that by its nature would likely involve much more physical labor and no insurance coverage. It also clearly points out how much need there is for community, because I can't do any of this all on my own.

Hey, I'm gonna die someday - don't know when or how exactly, but it is going to happen. That club is not very exclusive, however. Get over it, Z, there is work to be done.

This choice to try and reclaim my body and live up to my responsibilities as a husband, father, and friend finally became very easy. I got tired of waiting and fearing every new change in my body, and tired of being disappointed to wake up each morning. It is very much like the impatience my father showed when he asked me to help him leave this world after suffering enough with cancer, and I mixed up a cocktail using the slow-release instead of the fast-acting. He got a little cranky and said "What the hell, shouldn't I be dead by now??". Yeah, I guess things don't always work on the expected schedule now, do they? Sorry, Pop.

It is so easy to look around at the world and come to the conclusion that all hope is lost and death would be a welcome relief. A couple years of surfing WRH and other assorted websites of similar ilk 4-6 hours a day will get you exactly what Nina describes without a proper counterweight, and I soooo went there. And finally I had to ask, "What the hell, shouldn't I be dead by now??".

I guess not. Must mean there is something more to do here. Now, to find out what exactly that is.

This could be fun.

Somebody hit that button marked "RESET", wouldja?



P.S. If you see the guy at the top of this posting around anywhere, tell him I'm looking for him.


  1. Hey Z,

    That's a raw deal, man. Hey, at least they were able to diagnose, right? Hope you pull through, man, for your kids' sake especially. It's hard at any age to say goodbye to your father (and from the sounds of it, you were in the room there with him, just like I was, so you know just what I'm talking about) but it's especially shitty when you're young....

    Ever wonder if maybe the whole reason we've all been encouraged to live our lives as a species of ground slug might have something to do with: it'll make it that much harder on us when the shit hits the fan? Keeping in mind that we seem to be getting lined up for a cull. Hard enough to grub in the dirt for your daily bread but much, much harder when you got a bum heart, ne?

  2. psychegram, I wanted to post a comment on your blog about your father passing, but when I read it yesterday it was a bit overwhelming. Being there at the moment of passing (for both my parents) was a blessing in many ways, and in my father's case he was fully alert and cranky until the very end. It was time for him to go and he made the choice to stop the nightmare that had become his life after the disease had done its thing. It was an honor to help him do this.

    This thing at work inside me has also been a blessing in some odd ways as it has forced me trough a process that led to a surrender of sorts. Day-to-day function is pretty good and I may never get any worse than this, so all I can do is try and fix the things that are fixable and do my best to enjoy what the world offers.

    You have been in my thoughts the past couple days and I hope that you have the support you need and the space to sort out what must be a pretty big collection of emotions. This is where the limitations of the internet come into play, as I wish I could be there in person just to shake your hand and let you know that you are not alone. Be well, brother, and take good care of yourself.

    I have considered the very thing you mention, and it is true that the SHTF will be too much for some folks, but others of us have a much shorter distance to fall and thus may be less stunned by the impact. Here's hoping.

    Thank for visiting.


  3. For a time, a long while back, the only thing that kept me going was a weird curiosity about what might happen next-I didn't want to miss anything--good or bad-it got me to there, and from there to here--and I like here.
    You and psych both share so well--you are gifted individuals in your ability to write so eloquently--carry that with you--

    Your Fellow Traveler,


  4. PS--what have we missed if the shit doesn't hit the fan but simply continues to ooze out of every crack and into every sandwich--
    the "shit" would, in theory, if it made itself visible, be a nice juicy target to take anger out on==but it's still shootin' at illusory shit and all you do is end up out of ammo, still with your same old self and a gun that doesn't work any more--sounds like getting old(er)
    Metaphors included at no extra charge--


  5. Hiya, I searched FM on blogs and it led me here. I also have fibrosing mediastintis. Diagnosed in 1999. Doing pretty well with the help of some stents.

  6. MarchMoon, thank you for dropping in. I am always glad to hear from folks that have FM and are still living a somewhat normal life. I viewed some of your web material and see that there are lots of cool things that you are involved in and I hope that this disease has done what it will and has no plans to further progress.

    No stents for me - so says Dr. Lloyd at Vanderbilt, but I don't seem to need more than what one lung can provide at this time. My right pulmonary artery is blocked, so I'm a single-cylinder at this point (I like to think of a nice Matchless as being my model).

    It is an honor to have you visit, and I hope that you are well supported as you take this journey and see the sighs.


  7. z... finally got me own smoke otta me own eyes long enough to click on your comments icon. i know my own ref. you'll know too. anyone else? probably only if they wandered in from the cold to hang around the same campfire. but beyong that? not! ain't this fun?

    having now read... i am humbled! ... p


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