I took a fiction writing class this fall semester at The New School and we were assigned five novels to read during the class. I completed a grand total of one of those novels, Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, and I didn't finish it until recently, weeks after the class had concluded. It wasn't that I didn't care for the novels the professor had selected -- admittedly, they did seem to skew in the French romance direction, unsurprising since our professor was French and wrote romance novels I believe -- but it was merely a lack of time to read. This entire 2013 in fact, I haven't had time to read. Or to breathe. And it's been one of the best years of my life.
A year ago, I was still suffering with unbearable toe pain -- a mystery result of a botched surgery that multiple doctors in multiple fields had tried multiple methods to no avail to alleviate the pain, the wrenching debilitating pain in my big toe on my right foot. I couldn't wear a shoe without pain, couldn't wear a sock without pain, couldn't use my right foot to brake in my car, couldn't even wear a shoe while driving. I'd taken to wearing sandals everywhere, even in the winter, or one sandal and one shoe. I was regularly taking 1600-mg of neurontin per day, which isn't a pain reliever per say, but a nerve drug used for epileptics that helped people with RSD (which is what the doctors had diagnosed my pain as) and it did help me, particularly at night when it got worse and I needed to sleep. I was off the heavier drugs like Percocet and Vicodin that had gotten me through the first half of 2012, but I was still drinking heavily to help with the pain (and likely, my depression), I wasn't able to exercise at all -- well, maybe 10 minutes on a stationary bike if it was a particularly good day -- and I'd ballooned up to 190 pounds, my highest since the 1990s. Not good times.