Blog: Not Like The Whiskey 

I Just Walked For The First Time in Five Years

Tears are gushing out of my eyes, down my cheeks, dampening my shirt. These tears are a mix of joy and sadness. Joy for having just walked for the first time in half a decade. Sadness for having had to live through those five years.

I’ve been sick since 2010, but a few years into my illness things got really bad and I became bedridden. I was so weak I couldn’t speak. I had to drink my meals through a straw. Caregivers had to brush my teeth and bathe me. It was excruciatingly difficult. I wanted to give up so many times. And I almost did because, when life gets that bad, it feels like there’s no coming back.

It felt like the damage that had been done to my body and my life was irreversible. I was so sick, so immobile, trying to imagine walking, talking, or even eating again, was like trying to imagine life on another planet (real life, not sci-fi).

While it may have been impossible for me to imagine doing these things again, outside of my imagination they weren’t impossible. Over the five years that I was bedridden, I was on a roller coaster of progress and regression. I’d get a little better, then get sicker, until finally, I broke through and started eating and speaking again. Soon I was sitting on the side of my bed, even putting my feet on the ground.

I’m going to be real—this was not a linear recovery. As I write in my memoir, my recovery story was more complicated than the inspirational stories you see on TV and social media. Most people aren’t used to a recovery story about someone who got sick, then got sicker, then started to recover but got sick again, only to recover and finally plateau. But this has basically been the trajectory of my recovery. And I’m not mad at it. Here I am, taking my first steps in five years, feeling like a giant standing next to the spot in my bed where I used to lie. The pain and stiffness in my legs is harsh, but I don’t care because, fuck, I feel good. I’m still sick, still recovering, but when I grab the door handle and pull myself out of bed and walk outside onto the deck, it feels so fucking good.

https://youtu.be/VBVftdxk1fA

I have a lot more to say about this phase of my recovery, but I’m going to save it for another post because, right now, I want to use as much of my energy as I can to keep getting better, to keep enjoying these moments, and to keep feeling good.

BEFORE YOU GO . . .

1. Please support this blog by ordering a copy of my memoir, WHEN FORCE MEETS FATE. And if you’d like to support the book, please leave it a review on Amazon. The book is available from:

US: AmazonAppleTargetBarnes and NobleGoogle PlayBooksAMillionBook Depository(ships worldwide for free!), IndieboundBookShop.

2. The audiobook is also available on all platforms, including Audible!

3. You can also support my blog by donating directly.

Burnout is Real

Burnout is Real

I’m going to keep this post short because, to be honest, I’m burnt out and a few hundred words is all I can muster at this point.

For the last several years, I’ve been devoting pretty much all of my free time to getting my book published. I spent countless hours writing and editing it, then finding a publisher, and finally promoting it in every possible way I could imagine. And now I’m burnt out, struggling to respond to emails and messages, or even think creatively, forcing myself to write this post because, well, I haven’t gone a month without posting on this blog since I started it in 2016, and I hate to break a streak.

I say this not to garner sympathy (it was my own doing, after all) but to provide an update and to keep in touch. I have gotten burnt out before, and I received messages asking if I was okay and what was going on. I appreciate these messages, as they are especially important to those of us in the chronic illness community because people often become too sick to use their devices, too sick to maintain a social media presence, as was the case for me when I became bedridden in 2015.

So this post is to assure everyone that I’m doing okay, more than okay, actually. I’m doing really well—I will share an update on my recovery soon. But perhaps it is this progress I’ve been making, too, that has made me more creatively burnt out. After being so sick for so long, I want to spend more time enjoying what health I’ve regained, and maybe even relax a bit, recharging my batteries for the next big thing to happen in this little life of mine.

So, until then . . .

BEFORE YOU GO . . .

1. My memoir, WHEN FORCE MEETS FATE, is now available. If you’d like to support the book please order a copy and leave it a review on Amazon. Here’s a list of places to order the book (by country):

US: Amazon, Apple, Target, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, BooksAMillion, Book Depository (ships worldwide for free!), Indiebound, BookShop.

Canada: Amazon, Kobo, Chapters/Indigo

UK: Amazon

Australia: Booktopia

Mexico: Amazon

Germany: Amazon

Norway/Sweden: Book Depository, Adlibris

2. The audiobook is also available on all platforms, including Audible! Here is a sample of the audiobook:

3. You can also support the book by donating to help pay for the audiobook and publicist, expenses that came out of my own pocket.

My Book is Officially Published!

My Book is Officially Published!

Today is a big day — my memoir, When Force Meets Fate, is officially published.

In addition to more than 70 reviews on Goodreads (4.66 stars), When Force Meets Fate has already received some solid press coverage. The Press Democrat did an excellent piece on the book, and it also received a glowing review in the Providence Journal.

I won’t say that I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid, because I probably cared more about firefighters back then, but I’ve definitely been imagining this moment for a long time. Over the course of the decade it took me to write When Force Meets Fate, there have been countless times in which I thought the book would never be published.

There was the time my laptop stopped working, and I lost all my drafts, only to miraculously recover one from an email. Then, of course, there was the eighteen month stretch when I was so sick I couldn’t speak, let alone finish writing the book.

There have been so many obstacles that could have prevented me from publishing this book, and in the end, I had to finish writing it on my phone, at times wearing tanning goggles because the screen was too bright. That should tell you how important it was for me to share my story. The thought of it has kept me going when I couldn’t speak or eat, when I very much thought death was lurking around the corner.

Little did I know, writing the book wouldn’t be the hardest part. Once I finally finished it, I had to find a publisher. It was a long and grueling process, which took up most of my free time from 2016 to 2019 (another story for another day), but I eventually found a publisher, and just as fate made me face the obstacles I wrote about in the book, it has now allowed me to share my story with the world.

Many, if not all, of the wonderful people who preordered the book have now received a copy. It’s a marvelous thing. But suddenly I’m seeing people reacting to something that, for such a long time, has been mine and mine alone. Now it’s out in the world and people are sharing their opinions of it through Goodreads reviews and Bookstagram posts.

These opinions have been overwhelmingly positive, but there have also been a few harsh criticisms. While many people have called my memoir the best book they’ve read in a long time, praising the story for its “honesty and openness,” others have said it’s not for them, calling me self-destructive and “navel-gazey.”

Although I expected this, I didn’t fully grasp how it would feel. I knew there would be both good and bad opinions of the book, but now that I’m actually seeing the opinions, I find myself trying to cope with the fact that two people can have such dramatically opposing opinions of the same book. This realization hasn’t exactly made the negative reviews any easier to read, but I have found peace in knowing that if I had changed the book to appease one set of opinions, it would have created an entirely new set of negative opinions.

Through this, I have also realized a simple truth: my book can’t mean everything to everybody, but it can mean everything to me. And now it does.

BEFORE YOU GO…

1. As I just mentioned, WHEN FORCE MEETS FATE is now available for order. If you’d like to support the book please leave it a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Also, here’s a list of places to order the book (by country):

US: Amazon, Apple, Target, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, BooksAMillion, Book Depository (ships worldwide for free!), Indiebound, BookShop.

Canada: Amazon, Kobo, Chapters/Indigo

UK: Amazon

Australia: Booktopia

Mexico: Amazon

Germany: Amazon

Norway/Sweden: Book Depository, Adlibris

2. The audiobook is also available on all platforms, including Audible! Here is a sample of the audiobook:

3. You can also support the book by donating to help pay for the audiobook and publicist, expenses that will have to come out of my own pocket.