Celebrating the everyday has become something I’m passionate about. Not that it’s really a new concept in my life; I’ve always been one to notice and relish small details. But for the last few months it had taken on added meaning in my life. I want to remember to celebrate the everyday especially now…now that it’s harder.
I was recently diagnosed with IBS…and that’s after struggling for months without knowing for sure what the problem was. You can read about the specific symptoms at WebMD, but let’s just say that every single aspect of my life has been effected by this diagnosis…mostly because of the pain. That’s the hardest part for me. Most days it feels like someone is stabbing me with a fork and twisting my gut like spaghetti. And that results in an uncontrollable and inconsistent digestive system. I have dubbed myself the “porcelain prisoner.”
Most of the information that I’ve read about IBS is clear that there is an emotional connection to the physical symptoms, and my doctor suggested that I look at what was going on in my life around the time when the pain started. It was in October, now that I think back and really try to pinpoint things. Chris was in a car accident. He was not seriously injured, but the stress that came from that day is something we’re still dealing with. And then in November my grandmother died, with much emotional turmoil during that time. And then I was sick. Like so sick I thought I had dysentery. I lived in the bathroom… only ate rice and bananas and drank Pepto Bismol like it was my lifeblood. And then things got worse. I couldn’t ride in the car anymore…the motion of the vehicle was too much for me pain wise and caused extreme nausea. I can’t really describe it, but I feel it in my lower back...a deep, dark twist of my system, a vertigo of sorts. And so I spent lots of time in bed or on the couch. I worked when I could and tried a few special diets to try and get a handle on my symptoms.
|Pictures from my 365 project|
And finally decided that I needed to bite the bullet, sign up and pay for medical insurance so I could go see a doctor. IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that they must first make sure that there is nothing else wrong that could be causing your symptoms. So I had lots of tests done…lots of blood drawn…a CT scan, an ultrasound, and pretty much any other test they could think of. And along with discovering I have a form of liver disease and extremely high cholesterol, they gave me a confirmed diagnosis of IBS.
The thing about IBS is that each case is different…each patient exhibits different types of symptoms and deals with the pain differently. It is so hard to get a handle on exactly what my triggers are, and what types of food I should and shouldn't eat. I struggle with eating the right foods to lower my cholesterol but that hurt my gut so bad. It is hard to find a balance.
So with this diagnosis looming over me, the stress of everything piling up the last few months, and the depression I'm dealing with, celebrating the everyday does not come easy. It is something that I must constantly decide to do every single day. I have learned a lot through this trial…that I am stronger than I ever knew, but also that there is humility in recognizing and accepting my limitations. So maybe right now I am not able to be in the full time ministry work, but I can give my all in the hour a week that I am able to be out and ride in the car. I might not be able to do the things I used to do, with the people I used to do them with, in the places that I used to go, but there is still a lot to be grateful for. I have the most supportive, caring, giving husband who has stuck by my side and cared for me through all of this. And I have been able to keep working at my job, which I am so glad to have still. It’s hard to explain to people (and embarrassing too, if I’m being honest) the things I struggle with. But I don’t want to dwell on the negative, and the pain and the depression. I want to find something every day that is worth celebrating, even if it’s just life itself. And I want to share the joys I find. That is why this blog is so important to me. It’s keeping my mind healthy, even though my body is not really cooperating.