Larger version here:

Sorry for the unannounced extended sabbatical. Certainly wasn’t my intention. I literally thought I was going to have a comic up the week following my last post.

I’ll try to be as absolutely concise as possible as not to bore you.
My health went to absolute shit.
I thought I was experiencing prolonged fatigue and stress from the whole distance learning thing involving four kids (and not just during the last post, but for months prior to it.) I thought I would catch up on rest during the summer. Wasn’t really happening. It got to the point I would walk to the mailbox outside, and just collapse with exhaustion when I got back. I tried cutting up a fallen tree in our backyard, lasted 20 minutes, and passed out for two hours. My right hand began losing sensation, I was having problems holding myself up and even walking. Claire arranged a doctor’s visit for me within that first week because something was obviously wrong.

Due to the Covid hysteria the only clinic close to us couldn’t see me as a new patient for another two weeks. By the time I saw the doctor, both my feet and my right hand were constantly freezing and entirely numb. Worst of all I was losing my vision. My sight deteriorated so fast I went in to get a new pair of glasses just to read my computer screen, which was getting harder by the day. The optometrist wouldn’t even prescribe me a lens for my left eye as she deemed it ‘beyond recovery,’ and ‘no longer had any useful vision.’

So I looked up my symptoms, and given my family history, concluded it was:

Doctor cautioned me. We’d check my blood levels, but it could be anemia, vitamin deficiencies, or even pre-diabetes. Plenty of possibilities to take a measured approach to slow whatever was ailing me. If it was, in fact, prediabetes we would be looking for maybe a 6 or 7.5 on my A1C score.

It was 13.5

And as you can see on this chart the doctor sent to me, it’s all the way at the end.

That was essentially my background level. This was post-fasting. Doc said my normal running levels post-meal were probably in the 500-600 glucose range (for anyone familiar.) Normal levels for non-diabetics is less than 100.

So no, it wasn’t pre-diabetes. It was full blown crazy diabetes with complications.
And my cholesterol was sky high. Vitamin D was crap. Thyroid was totally effed. There’s hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. I have the ‘hypo’.. which I assume looks like this:

Doctor: “Well your issue isn’t weight.”
Me: “I actually weigh less now than I did my freshman year of high school, and I was 5 inches shorter then.”
Doctor: “I’d also normally suggest more exercise and sunlight.”
Me with obvious farmers tan: “I walk 4 miles every other day.”
Doctor: “Then you’re mostly dealing with diet and genetics.”

Diabetes does run in my family, but they’re typically getting it in their 60’s. I got it in my 30’s. And not only that but looking back at my health I’ve easily had it undiagnosed for 5 years.

Because I was so high on some test results, and so low on others, I was instantly put on 8 different medications. Covid caused fulfillment issues at my local pharmacy and I had to wait another two weeks to get anything. A month for a glucose meter. They put me on a knee-jerk maximum Metformin dosage which turned my stomach to complete acid. This medicine is considered the standard to help with diabetes since the 50’s, but some people can’t tolerate even the smallest doses. I’m talking torso-shredding relentless nausea. For months.

I can visually show you what diabetes feels like.

It’s like your chest is being bored a hole into it. Like your innards are being removed. Not so much a shredding sensation, but like every organ in that area is failing. Your heart is beating out of your chest, surrounded by nothingness. The Enterprise has just beamed you aboard but all that upper body shit didn’t quite make the journey.

Being on Metformin is all that, plus a surgeon has left a corkscrew in your stomach.

Statin gave me perpetual mental slowdown. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t find words. I was literally writing comics that weren’t even making sense to me. I wrote Friday’s comic about 10 times.

The hopes I had that I would quickly feel better were not realized. I got lethargic. And I mean I got so lethargic I would lay catatonic on the couch most days. As in, trapped in my own body. Awake. Not sleepy. All I can do is stare. Conserving all my energy for eating or bathroom trips. Claire would ask me questions on how I’m doing and I only had the functionality of moving my eyes to look at her. I had to hide in my room so the kids wouldn’t see me. And this also lasted for months. It went on so long I thought that was what my life would be like.. forever. I would never have energy to do anything again.

When you can barely move yourself, and your mind is in a fog 23 hours a day, and the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, it felt like I would never recover. Ever. June through August I fell into total despair. I just had my one year anniversary, I now live on a small farm with ten times the yardwork of my previous home (with livestock,) four kids that all need attention, and time is slipping through my fingers. I have a comic I have spent nearly 11 years on that is going to lose its entire fanbase, and I will exhaust all good will from its readers because I can’t physically
fucking
stand up.
Absolute living nightmare.

Claire was taking on every possible responsibility with the house, yard and kids, with a husband that’s an invalid. She’s in a half-panic during most of this time. Frantically trying to micro-manage anything and everything I’m eating and doing. Trying every diabetic recipe she can find. Trying to pinch pennies and sell off family heirlooms to afford my medication that cost $800 (after insurance.) And while pregnant.

Yes. She’s pregnant again. It’s a girl, and due early January. And as much as I was excited for this, I’m filled with dread that I’ll never be able to support this baby. I’m trapped because my body isn’t producing enough energy for me to even think or speak coherently.

I knew diabetes was this big thing and affected a lot of people, but wow, I never ever thought it could be that terrible and that debilitating. If you’ve had it, or have experienced anything like this.. shit man, you have my respect. I lost half a year over this.

So all that said, I decided with a new baby on the way, and no ability to do anything anyways, I’d also quit casually smoking. So take all my previous afflictions and add a medication..

…that passively aggressively tells me to constantly kill myself.

Yeah I’m going long. Sorry guys. Thanks for not giving up on me if you’re still here reading this. I had a really terrible 6 months. Everything since March essentially. I felt awful for never giving updates, but I was 1) embarrassed for already missing so many posts, and 2) I didn’t really know if things would get better. The stress, dread, and grief really got unbearable at times. For a long time. Claire had to take me to the emergency room at one point because of it. That was the worst day. I don’t wish it on anyone.

So good news as follows and why I’m posting again:
1) Keto diet WORKS
2) Chantix works (but you will pay for it)
3) Doc redid my meds
4) Blood sugar now running consistently around 150-170 (not perfect but way better)
5) Still have issues with neuropathy but feeling is now back in my hands and feet
6) Vision has improved tremendously
7) I’m more consistently having energy
8) I had a wife hellbent on making sure I didn’t die

And as cornball and cheesy as it is:
9) I still have people wanting more of this comic. I never stopped thinking about making it. It means too much to me that it means a lot to you. Thank you thank you thank you. Friday’s post is done. It will be up Friday for sure. As much as I want to tell you all I’m back at 100% right now, I’m not. But I am doing better daily. I still have some bad days, but I’m really pushing through this as hard as I can. Sorry for letting you down and being so quiet about it.

-Chris