Living With Hepatitis C: Push

ImageI’ve got to get out and push it. I need to burn. This is what I do. I rise up against my virus holding me down and I go out onto the shore and I push. I moved here for this work. I grew up in rural Alabama. I had a head full of dreams. I made my way into New York City and got to know myself in a way I’d never known myself before. I had the time of my life which does not mean I had the easiest time of my life. I recall few easy times in my life. I moved there in 2001 and by 2003 when I had everything going for me in the world, I worked at a great cooperative at Union Square and finally was with my people, real fine art photographers who realize that in every photo there is a whole life being exposed, I found out I had been exposed in 1970 to Hepatitis C when I was an IV drug user and shot Heroin for about 9 months of my life. I have the hardest geno type to clear. I did a treatment and it did not kill the virus but it did almost kill me. I did not even know who I was when it was over. All my nerve endings in my gut and brain just for big starters had been fried from the treatment, I had to use a cane to walk. I took off to Australia and kind of lost myself in that country for five months then went back to NYC via Hawaii packed up and moved here to find a woman that I did not know existed but that would save my life or transform it in some way that seemed as if there was so much hope and life left for her. It has worked. I’ve pulled myself up one year at a time. I now cycle and spin hoops and not just for fun. I do it to survive. I do it to channel my dying experience into a living experience. I don’t want to just lie down and give up, I need to rise up against this at least to say, “look at me, I am as strong as you are Virus and when I go I will take you with me so you better make yourself perform for me because this is a 50/50 relationship, destroy me and destroy yourself too. I spin hoops for four or five hours at times and I am always spinning hard and burning them for at least 2 hours and I do this for 10 to 14 hours a week along with riding a mountain bike as well as a road race bike. I’ve become an athlete. I had no idea there was one that lived inside of me but she rises to every occasion and carries to like a great warrior right thru this war inside my body. I ride her energy and spin until I can feel her burning and glowing deep inside me and I know that with her I can face any ride that comes up even the ones I don’t even want to consider. I’ve been flooded with 16 pounds of fluid and I got up and I got me some push and grabbed the hoops and made it to the shore to stand in the hot sun for hours trying at least to jump and spin and transcend this disease. It can cause the trunk of my body to become numb. I have had to accept that my arms and legs would not rise and fall and I could not lift off the shore in jumps because I was so weighted with fluid. I kept doing it anyway.