So I consulted with my doctor. I haven’t needed dialysis since February and my Creatinine levels have stabilised. My doctor did a calculation based on my past lab diagnostics and said that my kidneys are now working again at roughly 30% efficiency. I have the kidneys of an old man. So things are going to have to change.
First off, we can remove the permanent catheter. It’s more dangerous having it around. And while my kidneys will deteriorate over time, like all kidneys do, I won’t be needing it any time soon. And if I stay close to my doctor’s orders, then I won’t be needing it for a long time.
Secondly, I’m now on a diet. 50 grams of protein from now on, preferably lean meat. A lot of grains and vegetables. I have to be careful of my oils and reduced butter, or almost no butter, if I can help it. And it is better if I stay off of alcohol completely.
Thirdly, this is it. I’m done with smoking. Whether I can handle it or not, I have to figure out how to manoeuvre my life around it. I have to deal with the withdrawals when they come and I have to soldier through it. No more excuses. No more inane reasons why I can’t quit. I’ll take the stress of quitting but it’s now or never. It’s time to quit smoking for good.
I’m still alive. And my friends and my family still want me around and they have done so much for my well-being and my life. I owe it to them to give this a good ol’ gentleman’s try at it. And I’ve got stories to write, poems to publish, films to direct.
Now, I really and honestly feel that I have something to lose if I go. I was ready. I’ve always been ready to go since I was first diagnosed with HIV in 2008. I had made peace with my choices and I have told people how I really feel about them. If I went, at any point then, I would have died happy and content.
But now I want to do more. I see the world around me and I want to try and change it through art. I want to make people think. I want to make people question what they know. I want to make people want to know more and to educate themselves better and I want to galvanise (borrowing the term used often by Toff de Venecia) people into improving themselves and the world around them. I want to do it through art. I want to try.
That’s why I’m going to take this diet and do it. This is not a prison. This is not a punishment. This is the price I have to pay to have a chance of doing what I want to be able to do.