Posts Tagged ‘Ileocolectomy’

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Baby Steps

Feb 4, 2012

Baby Steps

Changing the theme of my page – and changing it to something more “peppy” and, dare-I-say, “positive” than the gritty looking theme I’d been using since I began this blog – was a very big step for me.  Writing again is an even bigger step.

A surprising side-effect of living a life that deals with chronic illness(es) has crept up behind me and caught me completely off-guard; while my former identity was slowly being siphoned from my new reality and the confusion of determining how a ‘sick’ version of myself looks and behaves has preoccupied most of my waking hours, I have been steadily losing… “my voice”.  Ideas may make it as far as a sentence in my head, but my inner critic – who used to be mostly just annoying – has developed super-human powers and has the ability to paralyze  and silence me.  And it does.  Regularly.

I have been writing for nearly 35 years.  Writing has been a compulsion, a joy, a job, a hobby, and a huge part of my identity for as long as I can remember.  Over the past year, though, the volume of the voice that says, “You have nothing of value or interest to say, just shut up,” has become the loudest and most prominent voice I hear.  And it is so convincing.

A surgery last February that was supposed to give me relief from my Crohn’s symptoms has actually exacerbated them, restricting my life and activities even more than before I went through that particularly hellish experience.  Each month of my recuperation, I was told I would soon feel better, but with the removal of my ileocecal valve (along with a portion of my large intestine), I spend more time IN the bathroom, RUNNING (faster) to the bathroom and praying that I MAKE IT to the bathroom in time. 

Putting so many of my eggs in that surgery basket set me up to plummet into a deeper depression than I’ve known in the past; too many days have been spent swallowing OTC sleeping pills and pulling up the covers after my family has left for work and school, then fantasizing about the relief that sweet sleep will soon bring me before finally surrendering to its numbing, comforting powers.  Funny thing about those OTC sleeping pills, though – they stop working after a while, preventing me from entering the sanctuary of sleep and introducing debilitating insomnia, instead.

Enter: Apathy.

Apathy is frightening.  I really want to feel something other than ‘sorry for myself’, but when I do, I feel nothing at all.  No disgust, no anger, no pain, no happiness, no love.  Apathy sucks.  Do what you can to avoid succumbing to it.

So I’ve been working at eradicating the apathy, primarily by forcing myself to list the things I truly am thankful for.  And, what do you know?  There are actually a good many things to put on that list.  This is not to say that I’m really any better at dealing with my chronic illnesses or the things they have stolen and continue to steal from my life, but even if my gratitude list has items such as: I’m thankful that I’m not also paralyzed, I’m thankful that I don’t live in a third world country, I’m thankful for my home (despite being behind in our mortgage payments), I have decided to give myself a tiny break and appreciate this baby step.

If I were going to wait until I had something I deemed worth saying, or wait until a time when I had the ability to write well enough to pass my own scrutiny, I would not be writing today.  And I wanted to write today, so I’m biting the bullet… then using it to shoot the perfectionist that lives inside of me.

Gotta start somewhere.  And I’m tired of berating myself every day for starting something else (a blog) and not sticking to it. 

I’m thankful that I managed to write 654 words, and I’m thankful I didn’t have to get up and run to the bathroom while doing it.

Baby steps.

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I Found my Mojo…

Mar 29, 2011

Sadly, it resides in the section of intestine my surgeon just removed.

The scar depicted above looks a lot like mine, except that mine is not healing properly and it goes through my belly button (though my surgeon promised it would not).  Oh, and the scar above is on a a nice flat belly that belongs to a body builder and my scar… well, let’s just say it does not :-/

It’s been 4+ weeks of pain, of infections, of an unexpected heart problem that had me in the ICU, of one doctor visit after another with more and more tests and more medications added to my already long list: MedsMy body rebels if I try to do anything even minimally strenuous and I’m always tired.  Tired from doing nothing.

But the most frightening part of it all is that I feel smothered in apathy.  I can’t think of anything I want to do; there is nothing that interests me, nothing that jolts the sensor that resides somewhere inside of me and makes me excited about beginning a project or a new task.  I just feel nothing.

Sometimes, I feel sad or guilty, but I just can’t revive the old me… or find her.  I have been trying to write this blog post for over a week, but have about a half-dozen deleted drafts to show for my efforts.  My heart is just not in it.  I have always loved to write: I’ve been journaling for years – long before there was something called “blogging”.  But here I am writing, yet it brings me no joy.  It is too arduous to include the details I originally thought I should mention.  And my journal just continues to gather dust.

Yesterday was my birthday.  We have a tradition of going to a local pizzeria to celebrate, but I was still feeling too poorly to leave the house and I couldn’t really eat anything at the pizzeria, anyway, so I broke our family’s tradition.   I could see that my daughter was disappointed, as my birthday is a much more exciting event to her than it is to me.

I read something about post-surgical depression, but this feels more like post-surgical apathy.  At least for the sake of my family, I hope it passes soon.  I hope mojo is the sort of thing that regenerates when removed – like a starfish’s arm or a salamander’s tail.

I wonder if they endure an empty feeling while they wait for their appendages to grow back.