illness

I don’t always get sick, but when I do ... alvin December 11, 2019 - 8:25pm

I don’t always get sick, but when I do ... it’s nice to find other people who are going through what I’ve been going through, and they still have a sense of humor about it. If you have a Pinterest account, this “My Mastocytosis” page is great.

Ruthlessly edit this text

As I get back into “book writing” mode, it’s funny to find notes like this that I left for myself:

TODO: Edit this text ruthlessly when you’re feeling better.

I was so sick during the last few months, I have no memory of writing that.

~ a note from september, 2016

Godspeed, Kenny

After a long illness, my brother-in-law passed away this morning, August 20, 2018. Godspeed, Kenny.

Why am I always sick? (or, “Why are you always sick?”)

“Why am I always sick?” That’s a question I used to ask myself a lot. Other people asked it as well: “Al, why are you always sick?”

I remember one time I was in the same room as my wife while she was on the phone. She was taking to her sister, who was talking about her husband (my brother-in-law), and their conversation went on for quite some time. Afterwards I said, “Wow, I hope you guys don’t talk about me all the time like that.” My wife said, “No, we just say that you seem to get sick a lot.”

Feeling like I have been drugged

When I was very sick in 2015-2016, I used to tell my doctors it felt like I had been “drugged.” When I could see that they couldn’t understand or believe that, I’d tell them that it felt the way you feel after surgery, groggy and woozy.

For the most of this year I’ve been eating very well, but yesterday I went to see a movie (Logan) and had some popcorn. Shortly after eating the popcorn I started to feel sick, and today I feel like I’ve been drugged.

This — as I have learned — is life with mast cell activation disease, known as MCAD or MCAS.

Heart disease deaths linked to poor dietary choices

From this NY Times article: “But when it comes to the burden of disease,” he added, “some of the leading risk factors are not high intake of unhealthy foods, but low intake of healthy foods.”

As one example, I read in a book about food-related diseases that red meat isn’t necessarily bad for people, it’s just that people in the U.S. tend to eat red meat without eating anything healthy along with it.

I wonder what else I did

A strange thing about the illness I’ve gone through is that I don’t have any memory of certain events.

For example — from what I can gather — during my worst time(s) I wrote this Collection of ScalaTest BDD examples using FunSpec tutorial, but I have no memory of writing it. I know that I wrote it because (a) it’s my writing style and (b) it’s on my website, but other than that, I have no recall of it. None. Zilch.

For a little while that bothered me, but now I look at it as something that’s interesting. I think it’s weird/amazing that I could write a tutorial and have no memory of writing it (or the process of researching it), but I guess that’s how the brain can work when things are screwed up. During the same time I also wrote this note to “buy some december at the grocery store,” so I know my brain was definitely going out to lunch at times.

I can see how this can be frustrating for people with chronic memory problems, but at the moment I look at it more as a mystery, like, “Huh, well, I wonder what else I did during that time?”

People who have been very sick have a different set of priorities

People who haven’t been seriously sick before have a different set of priorities than I do. I remember eight years when I went on a yoga retreat in Mexico, a young girl boasted that she had read one book a day while we were on retreat. I didn’t say anything to her, but I thought, “Well, I laid on the beach, swam in the ocean, walked through a cemetery, went off the grid and ate some funky food at some out of the way restaurants, drank tequila in the town square every night with the locals, and learned a little Spanish.”

Neither way is necessarily good or bad, just different.