Tuesday, November 10, 2020

I am Fallen

painting by Alexandre Cabanel

 I am Fallen

“Falling is just another way to fly.”--Emilie Autumn

Qua nunc sum, but I

am still on my feet, ready

for a new rising.

In 1983,

I caught the Hong Kong Flu

and it knocked me flat

for two difficult weeks.

After I got better,

I still had a

persistent dry cough.

It turned out

to be Adult Onset Asthma,


since I never had it as a child

and was not allergic to anything.

I soldiered on


as to the medical battle

within me;

for my immune system

was going off the rails.

Every year thereafter

I amassed new symptoms,

       chronic fatigue,

       cramping between my shoulders,

       cramping in my throat,



       dysfunctional taste buds,

       lethargic colon,

       deep vein thrombosis,



       arthritis in hands, knees, and feet,

       chronic leg edema


       veinous ulcers,

       and gout.

In 1994

I was sent to Neurology,

where we spent a year and a half,

ruling out psychosomatic causes

and enduring MRI’s

                      Cat Scans,

                      Spinal taps

                      Heart Caths


                      Muscle biopsy,

                      Nerve biopsy,

before I was diagnosed with MFMN,

multi-focal motor neuropathy,

dodging Lupus, MS, and ALS

thanks God.

I had to learn about molecular mimicry, whereby

my unrelenting immune system was attacking my

peripheral nervous system. They put me on a five-

day regiment of IVIG once a month. Initially, the

immunoglobulin cleared off enough antibodies that

I had pockets of remission. But my muscles were

also recipients of poor conductivity, and I could no

longer work out in the gym. I began to have issues

with my balance. They upgraded me to CIDP--chronic

inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy; quite the


I retired in 2010, but 30+ years of shredding my mylon

had taken its toll. I began falling, a lot. Initially, I could

get myself up, but a year ago, after a bad fall, I no 

longer could get up--time for 911, Life Alert, EMP’s, a

stair lift, a vertical deck lift and divers handicap bars.

I had to rely on a 4-wheel walker, give up driving, and

shopping. I carry a 500 lb. gorilla on my back, but I’ve

made my peace with it. My New Age friends remind me

that I chose these challenges for myself. So now I keep

my head down, put up with this autoimmune nightmare,

and still do some heavy lifting among my poetic peers.


 Glenn Buttkus

Witness Poetry

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub


peterfrankiswrites.wordpress.com said...

Hi Glenn,

An amazing journey - as I was reading I reflected on how we privilege the big C over so many of the chronic conditions - which we hardly hear about - and some that haven't even been named. This is not to disparage people living with cancer, but there's much to be said - which you do so eloquently - of the day-after-day one-foot in front of the other walk along the tightrope of wellness. Thank you so much for sharing and keep on lifting that poetry thing.

lynn__ said...

Glenn, I admire your fighting spirit in spite of these multiple challenges...power on!

robkistner said...

Glenn my brother, I feel ya! Just gotta keep on keepin’ on and tell ole father time and his buddy the Reaper, to FUCK OFF! Write on, and rant until you can’t. Peace my friend.

Kim M. Russell said...

You’ve been through so much, Glenn, and it has given you plenty of material to write about, but a person can only take so much. I understand about Adult Onset Asthma, I have it too, and I didn’t have it as a child either. All those other symptoms are horrendous. We battle on, keep smiling and joking and, as poets, try to write it out of our systems, immune or otherwise.

Ingrid said...

This really does sound like a nightmare, Glenn, but it also sounds like you have soldiered through it gallantly. My aunt has ALS, which is pretty devastating. I hope the poetry helps pull you through!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Glenn, I am so moved after reading this poem! You are a warrior and an inspiration to us all! I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you through the years. Your determination, courage and fighting spirit not to mention your heart shines through your verses. More power to you! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

brudberg said...

So many obstacles you have in life... I admire your fighting spirit going through all those hardships keeping your spirit up.

Linda Lee Lyberg said...

Glenn, I admire your strength and courage through all of this. And though I am sure you have your tough days, those two pass. Thank you for sharing- that takes courage.

Kerfe said...

That's quite a pile for one human to carry. But your spirit still grasps the essential truths of life. And you gift us with your insights and words--thanks!

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

An amazing poem of personal witness from an amazing man. What a journey, Glenn. But let me say this, you stand TALL at dVerse and I am certain, TALLER STILL and LOVED EVEN MORE by your family and friends who are lucky enough to be near you. You gift us here at dVerse and I for one, am so very thankful to know you.....and Buck! :)

Debi Swim said...

That is a lot for one man to carry. You sound like you have a great attitude and have make a good life with the deck you were dealt. AND, what a strong poetic voice you wield.