It has been a while...
Not sure if anyone here remembers me or not, but I thought I'd let you know why I fell off the earth.
Over the summer while I was in Germany visiting my then girlfriend (she's an MP in the US Army) I contracted salmonella poisoning. Got the poops bad and dropped from 190 to 167lbs in under a week. Recovered from the salmonella and was a little worried about the dropped weight but was just happy not to need the pot 25+ times a day.
Went to Venice the next weekend and ate like a pig to regain the weight. Ate like a pig for a week when I got home. Gained no weight at all. I'm like WTF?
A few days after that my life went to hell. My knee swelled up like a balloon and hurt like nothing I've experienced before. I got an infection in a place where the sun don't shine (and superficial lesions as well - yay!) and could do nothing but sleep. My bellybutton got infected too. My GF, who was now my fiance (Venice is romantic!) dragged my limping butt into the local hospital (non army) to get me sorted out.
I wanted the damn doctors to fix my prick and give me some morphine or crack for the pain in my leg. The Docs were way more concerned about other things - My blood sugar was over 5 times higher than the norm. I was in danger of falling into a hyperglycemic coma. They rushed me to the ICU where they started pouring saline and insulin into me by the bucketfull. I spent 3 days in the ICU and then 8 more in the endocrinology ward.
Turns out, at the age of 32, I was a Type I (Insulin dependant) Diabetic. They german docs did a good job at treating my newly found diabetes. However, in a surprising twist, the Salmonella had caused what is called Reiter's Syndrome (post-infectious arthritis). By now the pain in my left knee had spread to my left ankle and left elbow. And I'm talking about the constant yet stabbing pain that makes strong catholic mothers weep despite having had 46 children. The German docs didn't really take the condition that seriously, had me on the morphine for a while and then discharged me with a bottle of painkillers and told me it would last about 4 weeks and go away. I wanted to kill them.
While all this was going on we find out for sure that my fiance is NOT going to Iraq. She's pissed a bit, but I'm like "YAY!" But of course by this time we already had our shutgun Iraq wedding planned for late september and we still wanted to go through with it. My arthritis decided to spread to my right knee & ankle as well. So I went from a painful hop to complete immobilization. I could walk for VERY brief stretches with crutches and limped, hobbled and fell my way to San Antonio. Boy airplanes are comfy.
Spend a week in my new mother in-laws bed moaning in pain and on some really great oxycodone highs - great first impression. My mom is scurrying around worried her baby is dying (man, at times I wished I was!). Well we get married, I manage to prop myself into an immobile standing position for the thankfully brief ceremony. By this time pain was my constant companion. Being still didn't matter, moving made it worse and sleeping was impossible. Time was an eternity of pain.
While in San An we got into see a specialist. He fucked up and gave me cortisone shots, which don't help my condition but did send my bloodsugar through the roof.
Happily married and returned to Germany. Total wreck now. I'd been bedridden for about 60 days now and I could wrap my hands around my thigh and touch fingers. On Oct 2nd, got my first real hope. Lucked into an Army Doc who deals with this condition a lot (usually most people get it after a dose of the syph) and he put me on the most agressive treatment regime there is. In the middle of Oct I got my first dose of Remicade and was up and walking the next day. Sweet zombie Jesus it was nice to have no pain beyond that from muscle fatigue in my wasted limbs (on the other hand, my arms were bigger because for two months they were my legs).
So life goes on and for about two weeks I live a blissfull painfree existence. And then disaster strikes - my feet start going numb. And after that they start hurting. Now I just spent 2 months with pain, I can handle pain, I am intimate with pain - this shit is different. Imagine having your feet soaked in gasoline and lit on fire while ants crawl over them biting. Imagine when you take your socks off it feels like your skin is peeling off. And the complete wrongness of feeling - an alien nauseating experience when someone touches what used to be feet.
Diabetic neuropathy. Apparently I've been diabetic for a long time. The nerves in my feet are dying, and while they die, they scream. They scream in the language of pain.
Now on a lovely coctail of narcotics, anti-seizure meds (not for seizures, but they do some wonders for the neuropathy), and sleep aids. Still getting remicade for the joints and loving the army for taking care of me.
Despite the pain of the neuropathy I've been hitting the gym again for the last 3 weeks - it actually helps with the pain as it increases blood flow. With the benefits of insulin I am seeing "newbie gains" like I never have before - I'm actually using that food now and feel very strong. My legs are slowly starting to bulk up. I'm doing lots of compound lifts - but no squats - my balance is no longer good enough.
My wife has been with me every day and it has been tough for the both of us as it seems it will just never end. She's been so great it is ridiculous and I love her more than anything. I owe her one, big time. I'm hoping the new year is one with a bit less pain. But despite all this stuff that went on, getting married has made this a very happy year none the less.
Thanks for reading, and it is nice to be back.
EDIT: btw, my blood sugar is really under control. I average about 100 on the meter, and my H1A is 5.6 as of last week.
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