I spent most of Sunday morning in a fit. The cover for issue 2 was completed at 2 am, and I stepped back to look at it as a whole. When I am working on a page I'm very much going in and out of it to survey and work. Its time-consuming but it fits my creative perspective. Something happened though. Something I was not expecting.

The issue has a few scenes I was asked to render based on my experiences in the Oncology ward. It was a challenge to draw them, I was nervous and fearful actually, but the lines and the inking was fine. It was when I colored the cover though that's when I stepped back and tripped in a pile of my own psychosis. Once the green was there, the green from the medicine that I felt burn my veins, that I stayed up watching creep across the room and glow shadows. I hate that green. It's not the verdant green of clover and moss. It doesn't welcome me to a childhood warmth. It's a stabbing burning chemical green. Kind of like a can of mountain dew that someone mixed with a glow stick and some anti freeze.

Once the cover was colored I shut down everything, and got ready for bed. Behind my eye lids I saw my hospital room again. I heard the slow beeping of the IV machine, and I could see the creeping green light pulsing from the IV bottle. The glass bottle where it was stored because it ate through plastic. The bottle that was not allowed to be exposed to sunlight because it would react with it. The bottle that in my last round of chemo caused me so much pain that my throat felt  like a salt encrusted cactus was growing to the size of a melon.  It was horrible, I know what the 10 feels like on the pain meter. The point where you question your existence, the few steps before where you shout at god pleading, the ones before that where you lose rational thought.

That was where the real fear reared its filthy head. The hollow hungry craving fear that appeared in my room in wolf's clothing.

My treatment protocol included the rather obvious chance that the mountain dew poison was going to cause this level of discomfort. They warned me going into my final course that the meal would be difficult to swallow, and that despite all the struggles before this point I was about to truly comprehend the severity of being a level four patient. They told me they had a plan.

My nurse a small Asian woman about 25 years old brought in a white machine on a pole, my fourth IV machine of the round. It had a few less lights and oddly enough the medicine went in it and was locked with a key. Because it was Oxycontin........

Look I wont beat around the bush on this. People give me a lot of props for being so straight edge ive never let alcohol touch my lips. My dad was a notorious meth cook and outlaw and despite my metal appearance I had never smoked a cigarette or a joint. I am vehemently straight edge. And I am Straight edge out of cold fear. I had a front row ticket to watching every adult in my life destroy themselves with addiction. I saw families torn apart, abuse, neglect. I felt some of it, but it did one thing above all else. It carved my beliefs, and destroyed any ability to have faith for most of my life.

So I stared at this machine that they brought to me. It was loaded with what I considered the scariest thing in the universe. A bottle of no control. A bottle of something I could fall prey to as so many before me.

"You can only hit the button every so often you can't overdose" She said...

"That's not what I'm scared of. Can you take that thing away?" I don't know if I was shaking but I felt like I was.

"No your going to need it."

I was going to need it... Oh hell no.

Look I had to hit the button in when the pain was unbearable. With tears in my eyes barely able to move or swallow or talk or breath I did. It was one of the most awful things I had experienced in my life. I'm sickened just thinking about it and angry and scared and right now just describing it to you I want to get up and throat punch someone just because we are talking about it.

I had to hit the button so I could get through it and I hit it the least I could, I went hours at a time in unbearable pain until I had to stop it. When it was over and the swelling stopped I immediately insisted the machine be taken away, I felt like I needed to cleanse the room and burn everything.

"Wow, I have never seen that before."

"Seen what?" I said

"You only hit the button five times, in five days. I don't think that's happened before."

"Please take that thing away."

So for me. That horrible pulsing green, that chemical filled bottle is a reminder. A reminder of my mortality . My family thinks it should remind me that we had enough medicine to save me, that I had enough strength to survive, but for me it represents a time of my greatest failing of strength. After a few days of calm, I can appreciate the other point of view. I am grateful I survived the experience. I am grateful I still breath, hold my wife, see my children each day. I just don't like being reminded of a time when I had no choice but to hit that button.

This flash-bang of a memory sequence went on for four more hours, at a certain point I realized I was either going to act out and do something stupid or I needed to get help to stop it. Instead I woke up my wife. She let me take a few moments to compose myself, I had trouble even telling her what was wrong. I can only imagine the patience it takes to see someone you love being in that state of mind and not being able to get out, but she handled it well. She didn't even question me or get mad at all.

I finally managed to get through it by telling her things about the hospital I had never told her before. I explained some of the things I feared the most. We talked about what it felt like from both sides. Her voice and steady acceptance let me get through the night, it settled my mind like calming waters in a storm. I am grateful this time I was not alone facing the bottle.