Monday, September 10, 2012

All love and support is welcomed.

If you've never been diagnosed with chronic disease, then you probably don't personally know the emotional toll of riding the illness/wellness roller coaster. Unfortunately, I do, and last night I reached a point of surrender. I just wanted off the ride.

Here's a little backstory, to put today into context:

I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when I was 21 years old and had a surgery to remove part of my intestines. Fast forward a few years - after a handful of hospitalizations, I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. At the age of 33,  I set out to build a healthy new life. 

I made it my mission to do everything humanly possible to stay well. That meant changing my diet, starting an exercise regime and actually using stress management strategies, like refusing to get really stressed out, taking "me" breaks, deep breathing, meditating, journaling, etc. Exercise became a huge part of effective stress management. 

It was working! I lost 50 pounds, which is a lot on a 5'4" frame. I discovered that I was not, in fact, "big boned", as I had always liked to believe. And I felt as if I had this Crohn's thing beat. 

And then... 3 years into my new healthy life... a mere 3 months ago...  BAM! The problems started surfacing again. Pain when eating. Bloating, gas, cramping. Fatigue and low energy. I started losing more weight. Not being able to eat. Throwing up.  Not exercising regularly. I was stressing out about feeling ill, not using stress management tools, and before I knew it, my balance was gone. Like it just went POOF in the night. 
Last night was especially ugly. Between the hours of midnight and 2 am, my stomach was distended like a basketball. I couldn't stay comfortably in bed, and kept roaming the house searching for a way to alleviate the pain. I spent more than a few minutes on a blanket on the bathroom floor, begging for mercy, feeling too tired and too defeated to cry. I finally decided to try to take some prednisone to reduce inflammation. As soon as I swallowed them, I was puking. The good news is, that was enough to reduce my discomfort and I was able to sleep. From 2:30-6 am, I had relatively comfortable rest. I'm not asking for pity here, but you may understand my feelings of dejection if I explain that this happened two nights in a row (only one puking) after two really good days of feeling well. 

Which brings me to the here and now. I'm a huge mixture of emotions.  I'm actually kind of pissed. I'm tired of feeling tired. In the dark midnight hours, I feel defeated, lonely, scared, and somehow guilty for having created illness in my life.  I hate being scared of my own body. 

By light of day though.... I'm a bit more optimistic. I've gotten very good at convincing myself I'm getting better. But I find myself wondering, "at what point is positive thinking simply delusional thinking?"

Obviously, I need a wellness plan. I need to truly restore my faith in my right to be well. It starts today. It has to. My turning point 3 years ago was desperation for a healthy, normal life, and believing I could have it. I have to have that belief that it's possible again. 

Starting today: 
  • I respond to myself with patience, kindness and grace. No more self induced guilt trips. No more shame. I have a health condition that I am doing my best to manage. And I am worthy of wellness. 
  • I take EXCELLENT care of my entire being - mind, body, spirit. 
  • I exercise every day in some way. Even if it's just a walk or treading water in the ocean. I engage in intentional activity for my well being 
  • I look forward to challenging exercise. It makes me feel strong, healthy and accomplished. It helps me be the ME that I love being
  • I eat healthful nutritious foods every day. Salads, nuts, smoothies, peanut butter,  an occasional piece of fruit. Some cheese. Chicken, turkey.  Eggs on occasion. All things in moderation. 
  • I understand "moderation". It means fast food/ processed food no more than once a week. No rice, no potatoes. They're just not worth it. 
  • Much more water than soda or coffee.
  • No binges on sweets or chips / crackers / other processed crap. Those things aren't real food. 
  • I save baked goods, pastries, etc. for special occasions (birthdays, socializing with friends). If I want a sweet treat before bed, a piece of dark chocolate it is. 
  • I choose peace over stress.  I refuse to stress out over work. It's not worth it. Ever. I trust and know that it will all work out in the end. 
  • I make time for daily meditation.
  • I exercise, breathe deeply, pray, journal, and visit the beach to stay happy and balanced. 
  • No more "woe is me" victim mentality. My health is mine. I am entitled to it. And I will have it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment