Moving Forward

Every morning I would wake up excited, the doors to infinite possibilities wide open & inviting me in. Decisions were sometimes made by careful deduction, but more often than not with little more than whim, the flip of a coin, direction of the wind, or the quiet, passionate desperation that endlessly seethes inside of me – the eternal need for the unknown, for adventure. To continually test myself with whatever blessing or adversity the Universe could conjure up to throw at me, and grow. And learn.

Plans to move to Boston fell through so I found myself in Austin volunteering for Katrina refugees in an artist’s forest. A new friend had never been to Burning Man so I promised her a ride from New Orleans, only being able to find a van to buy less than 10 days before we had scheduled to leave. I couldn’t find the magazine I wanted to read so I decided to create it, not having the first idea how I was going to, or even how to build a website – and four months after it launched was producing shows for the first time & winning awards.

Nothing could stand in my way. The world opened to whatever I sought or desired, and if it didn’t exist I created it. It felt like nothing could stop me, like this life I had shaped and formed and fashioned would keep storming ahead. I made my dreams so real, so beautiful, that they virtually fulfilled themselves…

…and then there was nothing. I felt like I was lying in the middle of a freeway, unable to move as life rushed by and all I could do was lay there, static in a world of action, decaying, decomposing, trying not to die.

And time passed. What was supposed to be a three month vacation turned into eighteen months of hell. People visited, some, I’m sure, expecting it to be the last time they saw me alive. I was good at reassuring them, I think, letting them believe I was fine, strong, getting better so that they would be more comfortable. I don’t think I ever expressed how terrified & unsure I was most of the time. I wouldn’t even let myself believe that. I couldn’t. Instead I focused on healing & what I would do when I walked out the door. When I could, I read feverishly. Studied quantum science, I taught myself to use my mind to heal my body.

It was easy to get to know the people in the hospice well, as it was only 14 rooms, 14 people at any time. You found out why they were there, created a familiar bond with them. Of the 15 who died in that time, I watched four with the exact same diseases and symptoms as I had give up and die – three of them younger with less severe symptoms. I’ll never know why. Was it the constant pain, or thinking there was nothing to live for? Had they forgotten their dreams?

I don’t know. I would just wake up and their room was empty, sterile, as if they had never been there.
I couldn’t let their deaths affect me. I couldn’t give in to the pain or the constant terror or the stench of my own flesh rotting. Up until the moment I walked into the hospice – those years had been the happiest of my adult life. I wanted them back.
I had to keep fighting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I walked out of the hospice just a little over six years ago.
All that time I have carried what happened, what I went through, on my shoulders & in my heart – and deep inside of it, I have also carried my sickness. Using it as a crutch, the only thing special about my present is my past – that I’m simply here. Alive, but not living. My life no longer moving forward the way it had been before it all went to shit, and I was left with nothing to hold onto but what I “had” done, instead of what I am doing.

I learned a lot about mind/body healing while in the hospice. I have absolutely no doubt that, as impossible as it was sometimes, if I hadn’t *known* I would live, I would have ended up just like those I watched while there – another sterile, empty room, my body carted out on a gurney behind the curtain of night.

But I still had work to do. Until I let go of that part of my past, I would always consider myself “sick”, and therefore never be able to be *truly* healthy, perfectly healthy – but it had turned into my identity. “The guy who didn’t die” was all I felt I was anymore.

At least until recently.

It feels, now, like I have a future, something to look forward to, and something that I’ve been looking *for* since the moment I walked out. Though it’s not close to enough to satisfy me fully – I still need a vehicle to get the fuck out on the road & just *drive* for days on end and find myself nowhere I’ve been before, I am creating again – I am frequently challenged, always learning, and I love designing & constructing my jewelry. And I have something to look *forward* to. I can let go of who I *was*.

The warrior awakens. There are new battles to win.

And you better fucking believe I will.

 

 

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A Warrior Awakened

There was a time that I was called, by many, a warrior.
I have fought for the life I dreamed of and found it, I have fought through what most thought what was the inevitability of death and rose above.

For a long time, I looked for a different word than “fight” – but truly, nothing fits this better.

I will always fight for something better – whether it be myself or others – but it’s usually me, usually the things that have been ingrained in me that I battle.
Eventually, I always win – for now.

A warrior is not your everyday ignorant fighter – there is discipline involved, knowing the good from the bad, knowing the battles that you’re above, knowing the battles you can’t win and walking away.

When the person you battle is yourself, the same rules apply. The same discipline. The same grace.

This is my life right now, looking over my past and yearning for a better future because of it. I fight. I learn. I battle the ghosts and old bones inside of me.

I’m learning again, teaching myself, climbing up to grace.

Eighteen months in  a hospital and all that went with it crushed me…

But I will be that warrior again – and I will bring you with me – if you desire.

Do you?

The Fun Begins…soon (Kicking, day 0)

No ceremony, no ritual. Little more than a momentary pause as I looked at the small white pills in my hand this morning, but in that pause I thought of the nine years gone to the past, and the days or weeks of torture & agony immediately coming as I took my last dose of morphine. Ever.

I took the two half-full bottles out of my nightstand drawer, grabbed the near-full “emergency” pill container that I have kept for three years and moved them across the room to be placed somewhere clever later. Out of sight, yes – but I think out of mind isn’t very likely, at least for a few weeks or more.

If I could figure out the technique that always seems to work when I “organize” things so that they’re easier to find, only to end up lost for months when I actually *do* look for them, then that would be perfect – but I don’t think that will work. If I actually *want* to lose something or forget where it is, it seems inevitable that I’ll find it, even in the least likely of places.

I should figure out that backwards science & write a book about how to use & control it. I’d make millions.

It’s a strange feeling, kicking morphine after so long, so many years of depending on it. So many years of letting it control me.
I was half-expecting a huge mental fanfare – streamers popping out of my head, flame effects shooting out of my ears and little tiny balloons dropping from my nose, but alas, nothing of the sort. It was almost as exciting as putting my pants on.
Okay – as exciting as putting a freshly washed pair of pants on that have yet to acquire any dog hair on them, but still, not much more than that.

The exciting part – well, that will most certainly begin tomorrow, most likely as I race to the bathroom desperately trying not to crap myself in the 20 feet from my bed, or stopping in the middle of eating something for the same reason. It never ceases to amaze me how food can go through an entire body’s system almost as fast as dropping it – as if during withdrawals everything moves around and there is just one direct line from the mouth to the ass.

I think there should be an “Opiate Withdrawal Olympics”, with challenges such as ‘The 10 Meter Toilet Dash’, ‘The Cold Sweat Pool’ (judged by the amount of sweat the body produces in one night of attempted sleep), and ‘The Snot Sprint’, won by producing the most water-like mucus out of the incessantly running nose in an hour. Of course there could be many others – the most sleepless nights, muscle spasm gymnastics, distance or quantity vomiting, most creative screams of agony… it could be fun! Well… at least for the spectators.

And now, off to do some final preparations – give Ruby a *really* good walk, enjoy some of the last sunshine I might be seeing for a few days, clear a direct path from bed to bathroom, send letters to my Mother & Father thanking them for their birthday cards (finally) – whatever else I can think of.

I’ve decided to document the fun with pictures. Here’s one I have titled “Before the Descent” aka “Keep the fog outside of my head” aka “oh, shit.”

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See you all in hell. Be grateful you’re just looking through the window.

falling apart to fall back together

Four days, and as the clock relentlessly ticks down I count every hour with a strange combination of sheer terror and wary excitement, my emotions swinging from one to the other like spectators heads in a high-energy tennis match.

Two days ago I picked up my last Morphine prescription, and as the bottles were handed to me I looked at them with a feeling of triumph. This is it.

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I mostly know what to expect. I’ve done this before, 28 years ago, and again a bit more recently when my motorhome was towed with all of my meds inside. It’s not what I remember that frightens me the most, though those memories still clutch at my mind and sink their diseased claws in when I try to make myself believe that I’m strong enough.

No. It’s the things I know I don’t remember that frighten me the most. The whispered shadows of the nightmare, the parts that my mind gratefully thrust out of my memory in an act of self preservation. The small things that are lost in the fog.

The Fog.

It’s surrounded me for over nine years, from when I finally gave in to my doctor’s concern & offer of something to help with the pain that twisted my face, carving each line on it deeper like a Halloween mask of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”… the only difference being that my screams, I kept inside. At least when I could.

With the first pill they finally went away, and I was so grateful I almost cried, even through the personal guilt and failure of feeling like I wasn’t strong enough, that I had finally lost to what for so many years I had conquered when necessary, not even taking so much as a Tylenol-3 or even an aspirin when I broke my leg skateboarding, tore apart the tendons & dislocated my shoulder when my van rolled 5 times across I-5, and hundreds of other minor bangs, bashes & aches. Those, I knew, would all pass, and all I had to do was hold strong and stand my ground. This time though, instead of fading, getting better & finally going away, the pain only increased. With each day, with each strip of flesh on my legs that caught under my fingernails while the poisoned fluid pooled and the unbearable itching multiplied, the pain grew and my conviction deteriorated…

There were, of course, many, many  times I needed them, so if I chose not to take that first pill then, it was just a matter of time before I did. When the cirrhosis decided to go to town on my body, it’s two favorite places to destroy were my legs and abdomen – and it was like a category-6 tornado in a trailer park. From the swelling to the point where I couldn’t bend my legs & had to cut the legs of my pajamas to be able to squeeze into them to the itching so horrid from the poisons my liver couldn’t process I cut myself open with my own fingernails, to the pressure from the swelling in my abdomen & legs so severe the fluid actually started pushing out of the skin on my calves and pushing my intestines out of my navel, to the pain from the occasional infections that slipped right by even the highest doses of morphine – I was certainly grateful for it at times…

 
…but as the months & years continued and the pain slowly subsided, when I began to wonder and doubt how necessary the morphine was anymore, I knew I was screwed. Sure, there was still the mild constant pain from my calves that never fully healed or grew back more than the thinnest layer of protective skin, and there was still the occasional breakthrough pain in my abdomen – but nothing I thought – that I think – that I can’t deal with. Nothing so bad that my body’s own pain killer can’t handle it. Nothing so severe that the mind/body & quantum healing practices I discovered and used in the hospice and the surprising strength I found in my mind can’t handle it.

There’s only one small problem. My brain has completely shut down all of it’s own natural pain killers. Feeling unloved & un-needed, the receptors that normally block everything bad have gone on to other tasks where they feel more appreciated. I wish I knew more of the science of it – it’s not entirely endorphins or dopamine but a combination of the two along with some other things. That’s what I kind of know. I know the human body is fucking amazing. We all should kiss ourselves every day and thank it for all it does for us.

I know without any question, without the slightest hint of doubt at all – what I know intimately – is that the human body is in constant pain. Anyone who hasn’t experienced the feeling of not having any help at all from your body to dull pain cannot even come close to imagining what it’s like when you feel EVERYTHING.
I don’t feel as if I can explain it well enough right now, nor do I want to.

But I want my body back. I want my mind back, and all the things working as they should  again. I want to feel alive again- with all the pain, passion, love, joy, excitement & fear.

So here we are, nine years later. And I’m fucking done. Things need to change and that is the most obvious one. The feeling of the morphine sticking felt thorns of stupid into my brain is over – or will be soon. First, I need to pay for those lost years, and I know I will – dearly – but every second will be worth it. Nine years of mental fog, nine years of suppressed emotion – the passion, love, excitement, joy, happiness and everything else a person feels on a daily basis has all been muffled, like my mind & heart trying to speak to me through a sealed door.
(Hm. That’s an interesting mental picture.)

On September 21st I will take my final dose of morphine, hopefully for the rest of my life. On the 22nd I’ll begin to feel the withdrawals. They don’t come at once, of course – they gradually build, if I remember correctly, over about three days – but it’s like sticking your hand into a put of 75 degree (Celsius) water. It’s not boiling yet, but it sure as hell isn’t pleasant.
This ought to be interesting.

But WAIT! That’s not all!

To make things completely absurd, I’ve also decided to quit smoking at the exact same time. I mean hell – If I’m going to change my life, I may as well just jump right in with both feet. Get rid of all the things that I’ve been wanting to quit.
In a way I suspect that it will give me something to laugh at myself about – like when you stub your toe and hop around like a fool, feeling like a dumb-ass and laughing through the pain – except in this example I’ll be writhing in pain, wanting a cigarette, and laughing at myself because only someone who is a complete and utter fool would consider quitting both morphine and cigarettes at the same time, and I’ve always held the self-imposed title of “Fool” quite proudly at times such as this.

But there’s something else which is more of an experiment than anything: I have this notion that kicking morphine AND cigarettes at the same time will somehow drive the point that I am now (or will be horribly soon) a non-smoker home a bit harder, because I know smoking is going to be the hardest one in the long run – and I’m in this game to win. So far, I haven’t died 100% of the time, so I’m doing pretty good I think.

When the door is opened, when the fog clears and for the first time in nine years there is no drugged buffer repressing all of the beautiful and horrible things inside of me, I suspect it will be one hell of a ride as I become accustomed to feeling *everything* again – I mean hell, in preparation I’ve cut down the regular dose of 60 – 90mg through the day to one 30mg pill in the morning, and was nearly bawling during parts of the movie “Pete’s Dragon” I watched earlier tonight.

As I said, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. It should make for some interesting blog posts as well.

I should probably apologize in advance to anyone I offend, but honestly – if you get offended, it’s your trip, not mine. Fasten your seat-belts, put on a couple extra layers of skin – and Lighten Up. Things are likely going to get a bit crazy.

Wish me luck.

And please – I’d like it if you commented, if you wish. It will help me not feel so alone.
Comments & ‘likes’ left on my WordPress blog are MUCH more appreciated than those on Facebook, as well.

Four days until I begin to rip myself apart. I’m excited to see what the rebuild will look like.

And I need to figure out whaat kind of art project I’m going to make out of these:
(
I haven’t counted them, but I suspect I have about forty that I’ve saved over the past couple years = when I remembered to.)

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Too Far to Fail Now

Twelve years ago I jumped off a cliff & gave up everything to follow my dreams. I lost my apartment, my car, slept on couches & went hungry – but refused to go back. (As long as my dog was fed!)
Then, my wings unfolded.

I did things. I had incredible adventures. I helped people overcome their self-doubt & perform in front of hundreds of people. Volunteered for Katrina refugees, was one of the first street performers in New Orleans after The Storm. Created an award-winning magazine, produced events, did more things. Met amazing people.
Fell in love.

Then my body decided to die. My unrealized dreams & I disagreed with it, & The Battle was on… and now I’m writing a book about ALL of it.

This book is going to rock your world. Hopefully, it’s going to rock THE world.

It won’t likely be like anything you’ve read before. It’s an authentic, raw, funny, honest, moving and inspiring story of my past twelve years, and how I turned a mundane, unremarkable existence into a beautiful, useful & helpful life. A life that I am finally proud of…

This book is about remembering how to dance with life. About not letting life happen to you anymore, but making it happen foryou. It’s for the dreamers, the believers, those that thrive on the hope of fulfilling the potential we’ve all been blessed with.
And it’s about love.

I just need to get it out to the world.

I’ve come too far to fail.

My Kickstarter launches in 13 DAYS. July 6th, Wednesday.
I’ve crunched numbers, & I fear that I don’t have contact with enough people to succeed in reaching my goal.

I’m going to need your help – not only to change my life, but most importantly inspire others to live theirs.

LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD!

Sign up on my new site – save time & get updates you would otherwise miss! (No flooding – promise.)

www.kseaflux.com

LOVE YOU.

Jumping Into Dreams

Twenty Six Days. July 6th, 2016. Wednesday.

It’s time.

It’s time for me to stop looking over the edge, stepping back, taking a deep breath & counting down then “waitwaitwait that isn’t perfect, what if-how do I- the words aren’t working!”…

and Finally. Just. JUMP!

I’ve been working towards this for such an agonizingly stupid long time, digging up every little bit of information I could find on how to do it “right”, and filling my poor little head with more information than I could ever use, while simultaneously giving me plenty of time to brew up an Olympic-sized pool of self-doubt as well.

It’s been a productive time – just in the wrong direction, at least for the most part. I mean – there *has* been forward movement, it was just kind of like hacking my way through a jungle with a spoon.
I’m weary of the doubt. Tired of beating myself up. It’s time to make this dream – the largest dream I have *ever* reached for – into reality.
One way or another, I will make this happen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ( <wavy sitcom flashback things )

I remember when I started my magazine in 2007. I was performing with the premier local “circus”,  The Vau de Vire Society ( vaudeviresociety.com ) pretty frequently, breathing fire, stilt walking, character parts here & there, but wanted to do more – something that an old man like me could do.
One week I was looking around for circus & performance themed magazines to learn, get ideas & steal concepts from, and when I didn’t find any anywhere, I decided to create one – and the week after that I was teaching myself how to build a website & learning how to interview people – by actually interviewing people.

I didn’t care that I didn’t know how to do *anything* that I needed to know to create an online magazine. It was something that could bring people together, give them ideas, inspire them, and show anyone that was interested but uncertain that it was alright to go ahead and do it.

Back then, I knew how to jump. It was the ONLY way I could do things – otherwise I would always be far to terrified, and instead of so many dreams made into reality – I would have nothing but an unbearable load of “someday” weighing down my heart.

As each day passes, as the countdown continues, I’ll happily admit – that even though I’m absolutely *terrified* of not reaching my goal, the thrill & excitement of this massive new adventure far surpasses and cancels the terror out – for the most part.

I spent most of last night with my thoughts bouncing around like popcorn instead of sleeping, and for the first time in a while was able to squash the worry and concern that was fighting for control with thoughts of what it will feel like to reach my project goal; how it will feel to be able to dive into writing my story with all my heart, how it will feel to be able to stop having to ask for help to afford the herbs to keep me alive – and how it will feel, if it happens, to again help & inspire people who need it – but this time on a much larger scale.
I imagine the beauty of talking with each one who might reach out to me, of sharing what I have learned through living the improbable life I have – and again feeling like I’m doing something besides just surviving… that I’m being of value to others.

There’s no turning back this time – it’s happening, ready or not – and I’m praying to ALL the gods & goddesses, to coffee, to my health, to my dog and to Tom Waits, David Bowie, Vonnegut, Prince & Bukowski – that this project – the largest dream that I have EVER reached for – will be everything I see in my mind it can be. It’s going to be FAR more than just a book…
…and it’s Time To Jump.

Join me. Check out www.kseaflux.com for more of the story and much more cool stuff – and please, sign up for the mailing list! I promise I’ll only send the coolest & most important stuff to you & won’t flood your inbox.

ALSO – I *love* hearing what you think, what you’re doing, knowing more about *you*. I adore getting comments, connecting, or just saying “HI, nice to “meet” you!”
I’m a bit too busy right now to spend time anywhere but where I really *should* be spending it, on the web, but if you comment here or email me through my site, I promise  that I’ll get back to you as soon as possible – even if it’s just to say thanks for letting me know you’re reading.
And please – this is going to take a LOT of support – please share, repost, make fliers, hire those skywriting airplanes, send ALL your ravens, and get the word out there! I would be eternally grateful, and maybe even skywrite my thanks to *you* in the sky!

This thing is HAPPENING, so sign up on the site to make certain you know about it – and let’s show them the importance of the dreamers!

 

someone else’s liver

 

There are times, very few, when I think that it would be nice to live by a quiet freeway. Not quiet for the amount of traffic, but no impatient bleats of car horns or sirens – only the whisper of the tires on the asphalt, the quiet hum of an engine already at speed. The sounds of the cars & trucks going by, of people going somewhere – I could make up stories of their travels, or even close my eyes and join them.
Going somewhere. Anywhere. Back where I belong, on the road.
I think that would be nice… but that has nothing to do with yesterday’s consultation with the surgeon…

Everyone wants to out a new liver inside of me. It seems as if I’ve used this one up, and now all I’m doing is squeezing the last little bits of use out of it, like a tube of toothpaste that you forget to replace so work desperately to get the last bits out of the old one that you know are in there. I’ve squeezed the use out of this one.

I’ve been against it for years, knowing that, if given the time, herbs & mental focus, I could make the liver I came with as good as new – or at least somewhere close. Close enough. I’ve known I could reverse the cirrhosis and make it work like it once did, instead of the way it’s not working now – being so scarred and clogged that it has trouble filtering my blood anymore, and instead of the toxins getting flushed out, they’re being pushed in – into my abdomen, into my legs, into any extra space they can find or make.

It’s a constant battle to keep them moving out of me with herbs, but I have been – for years. I’ve proven that I can, at the very least, maintain – but I’m a determined pain in the ass, and I want to do more. I don’t just want to put bondo & a coat of & paint on it – I want to pull all the dents, polish them smooth, make it as good as it once was using the parts I came with…

And I wonder if I’m being so goddamn stubborn that I’m cutting my own throat.

The thing is that a liver transplant wouldn’t be any kind of savior – it would simply replace some challenges with others, and I would *still* have the hernia and my guts sticking out of my navel.

As I was writing this I took a small detour to look up the pro’s & cons of a liver transplant, and found myself on the blog of a woman whose husband was cured of stage 4 liver disease with critical cirrhosis. (Note to self: I need to remember to get my MELD score-the number that says how screwed or unscrewed your liver is  –  forgot to write it down yesterday, but I think it was 24…)
With a regimen of specific herbs & the addition of some “Detox Water” machine, he was able to completely reverse his cirrhosis.

 

It gets increasingly difficult to keep moving in the direction that you know, deep in your heart, is the right decision – especially when there are those people who don’t know any better, and who keep pushing you towards an “easier” way out. The surgeon I saw yesterday – a seemingly kind and genuinely caring person, made it clear that my liver had taken leave of its responsibilities, and without a transplant I would die long before this “young and seemingly very vital” person needed to.

He made that clear many times.

But there is one thing that he knows absolutely nothing about – and that is my will to live. He knows nothing about the strength and courage the warrior inside of me can pull out of my ass when I need to.

Sure – a liver transplant would be easier and a hell of a lot cheaper – but it would also guarantee that the rest of my entire life would be controlled by it. I would forever need to take medication so my body didn’t reject it, and though some things would be better in what I could physically do compared to now (not that hard to achieve) – there would always be limitations.

When I was in the hospice, dying, I *KNEW* that with the herbs I needed and a lot of work, I could live. I knew the power of mind over body… hell, mind over *anything*, and what could be accomplished & created with my noggin’ if I used it well.

And I still do.

Fuck the easy, half-assed way out. It’s just a different way of being locked in, caged and chained to a lfetime depending on Western medicine.

Somehow, some way – I’m going to do this myself.

Again.

I hope that if enough Western Dr’s see what’s possible with their OWN eyes, then maybe – just maybe – their minds will begin to change as well.
If enough people with liver disease see it, it just might change the world.

Besides – I’m pretty sure someone else needs a new liver more than I do.

I can’t do it myself though. The only reason I lived through what I did was because of the generosity of the people who believed in me, and who supported me financially, allowing me to be able to get the herbs I needed.
If you want to help support what a few Doctors & nurses have *already* called a “miracle”, and be a part of creating a new one – I need your help.

My paypal account is ksea@culturefluxmagazine.com, and you can also support me (& get more information) at the GoFundMe page a friend set up at this link: https://www.gofundme.com/fightingkflux
I orefer Paypal though – GoFundMe takes out nearly 10% and takes up to fve days to show up in my account. Paypal is instant with no fees.

Thank you – and keep watching me kick ass!