Image credit: Petras Gagilas [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]   

In April 2019, expecting to die soon, I made a pilgrimage to my home town. I wanted to drive around, see the school I went to, my old house, visit my father's grave. BTW, my father died at 58; I was 57 when I went.

I spent a lot of time with my best friend of several decades, Pete. Pete drove over an hour to help me unload my car into the hotel. Pete took several days off work to drive me around generally, and it was really wonderful spending hours talking, going to Salem Willows, finding a fried clam shack (these do not exist in central PA!) and just really connecting. It was probably going to be the last time I ever saw him, though we really didn't talk about that; we were enjoying the visit, not being maudlin and morbid.

Afterwards, Pete told friends and family that he didn't expect me to last a year.

I hadn't told him how sick I was in June 2020 when the CHF got bad. I wasn't really sure I'd survive it, but was also damned sure I wasn't going to die in a hospital with a bunch of strangers. And as I disintegrated, it occured to me I might not be lucky enough to die; I might wind up needing nursing home care, where I could be fed and watered like a plant as they kept me alive indefinitely. NO fucking way.

I spoke to Pete a few weeks after my first fast because he wanted to come visit over Labor Day. And as we spoke, I told him how bad June had been for me - now that it was over and couldn't worry him.

And I told him how much better I was and that we'd have FUN with him visiting because I could *do* things now.

Why? Uh... cause I didn't eat for 11 days.

I was very cognizant of the fact that though he's known me for decades and respects my intelligence, that I sound kinda crazy. I know this cause it's what I thought when Amanda first told me.

How did this brilliant woman go off the deep end like this? Did she get brainwashed? Join a cult?

WTF?

Pete was here for a week, but it was the very first evening, when I rose from a chair and walked across a room, that he exclaimed, "Ohmigod, how did you DO that?"

And the next day, he was on the phone talking to his daughter and excitedly telling her, "Jackie is NOT going to die! She's getting better! You should see her!"

It was TERRIBLY fun that someone who saw me 4 months before I began, when I wasn't even at my worst yet, saw such a tremendous change in me. Next, as discussed with my endo, I began the process of weaning prednisone.