Tag Archives: #perspective

An inconvenient truth…

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Yes, I, a 29 year old woman, wants her mummy. My mum who is away on holiday with my dad, I wish she were here. She is the ultimate “Everything will be ok” kind of person, that just being near her or hearing her voice makes you feel safe.

Today I am going back into hospital – 4 days ago I noticed a small abscess forming near my anus, a place where I have had an abscess before, and by Tuesday morning it had become a blister about the size of my pinky nail and everything around the area ached. The pressure behind it feels like you have a marble under your skin – you notice it when you walk or sit. Luckily I was able to squeeze in to see my surgeon that Tuesday morning at 11.30am, who declared at 11.45am that this was just a “niggle” (he didn’t want me to get upset and wanted to remind me that this was NOT a major setback, that this was just a minor situation) that needed to be cleaned out, and that he will replace the seton nearby as well. Let’s do it tomorrow! YAY!

I walked out of there feeling good. I would get this all under control in 24 hours! Sweet! I love it when it can be sorted quickly! Less time to think about it all. Not going to let this situation inconvenience the rest of my life and everything I have planned! Because by getting it done tomorrow, well, that means I can still go to that wedding I need to go to on Saturday, and thank god it’s still school holidays so I can recover for a couple more days after and do nothing, oh but I won’t be able to make my Wednesday night basketball game so I better let my team know, and thank goodness I have that acupuncture appointment on Thursday afternoon which will be great to help clear any general anaeasthetic that might still be lingering…

Oh shit! Who is going to take me into hospital at this short notice? Ehhhh, it’ll be fine, I will get my own way there! I call my husband, explain what’s going on and I can hear the awkwardness in his voice because I know he is super stressed and busy at the moment with work and he’s wondering how he is going to take the time off and I’m all like, “It’s cool! I’ll get a cab there, but you’ll have to pick me up” and I hear him literally exhale in relief that the option for him to go to work is still available.

How awesome am I? I’m not going to make this little “inconvenience” for me inconvenient for others! Plus, I have done this almost a hundred times before. No biggie. I talk to my sister and very nonchalantly tell her my plans for the hospital tomorrow, that I’ll make my own way there. It’s cool, it’s just a “niggle”. I’ll be in and out in no time. She offers to take me there but can’t pick me up because of work, which I think, great! Thanks, and it’ll save me money on that cab ride! At this stage I have not told my parents that I am going into hospital. I don’t want to worry them for something so small that I’ve dealt with so many times before. Plus, I’m feeling so good about it all, no need to upset them.

But now it’s the morning of the procedure and my husband has left for work and my sister just texted me to tell me she can’t take me anymore because she isn’t feeling well, and I’m feeling very sorry for myself. And because I played it so cool yesterday, no one else has made a big deal about it. Exactly the way I thought I wanted it. But no. No, no. I feel like shit today. I am super sooky and I wish my mum was here to take me to the hospital.

I was trying so hard to convince myself that this was no big deal, and on a physical and medical scale, the procedure I am getting done is NOTHING compared to what I’ve endured. And I seriously have done this procedure SO MANY TIMES! So what is wrong with me? I realise that for me, going into hospital by yourself feels horrible – it feels lonely and scary and you feel uncared for. I know this is not true about me and the people who love me, and to be fair, it’s my own fault because I made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal to everyone yesterday. And I know that people go into hospital by themselves ALL the time, I mean, people have their own lives and can’t drop everything for you! I mean, I even managed to convince myself that I too could be one of those people yesterday, but now I am a big fucking wuss. As I get older, I get sadder every time I go into hospital. It’s like a little part of the Hope and Optimism that I hold onto for dear life breaks off inside of me. And on top of it all, I realise that I am embarrassed that this is all happening again. I can almost hear my friends and family rolling their eyes that I am going into hospital YET AGAIN! Yep. That’s me. The Crohn’s girl, going into hospital again. Although, I am sure they are not doing this… I’m just being sook about it all. *sigh

So now that I’ve blogged about it and put it out there, I am feeling much better about it all. Getting to the hospital by myself might turn out to be a super empowering experience for me – I won’t need to keep a brave face for the person with me and won’t need to over analyse the situation… it might help put things into perspective for me that this really ISN’T a big deal. As long as there is someone there to take me home, I’ll be right. I’ll keep you posted with how it all goes. Wish me luck!

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Stress head

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Under a Lot of Stress

I went to a workshop with my Year 11 students last week to learn about stress management, and there I was in the back of the lecture room, shushing the students to be quiet so that I could hear what the lecturer was saying….

“Your body doesn’t know the difference between good stress and bad stress”…. OHMIGOD!

Ok, I kinda knew this already (as I was squeezing my squiggy stress ball!), but sometimes you need someone to say it out loud for you to go, oh shiiitttttt… It particularly worries me now because work has been particularly hectic lately, but in a good way – I got a mini promotion at work, and my work load has TREBLED, but it it the challenge I have been looking for. I’ve been working my butt, but I have actually been enjoying it.

But then in the workshop, they went through all the physiological responses your body goes through when it feels stressed, which included digestive issues and a lowered immune system. Great. Fantastic news for someone with an AUTOIMMUNE BOWEL DISEASE!

And I definitely have noticed the difference in my body lately – I feel more tired (at 7.30pm I am ready to go to bed!), feel a bit more mweh and agro in my moods, and swing from constipation one day, to having the runs the next. Am definitely also noticing that I look more bloated as well. I guess things aren’t digesting so well – mentally and physically!

So this workshop was perfectly timed as a reminder to shift everything back into perspective again – I really need to look after myself. Especially after I went super (stupidly) hardcore back at work after my big surgery (refer to my last post).

I think because stress just seems to be so inevitable in life, we all tend to neglect how it really will affect us. But it’s so true – your body reacts to all types of stress in the same way, and that’s not a good thing if you already have a weakened system. So I have to be more mindful of how to reduce the stress levels in my life. Here is a good link to look at stress causes and symptoms: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Here are some of the things I have actively started to do to manage the stress in my life:

1. I’ve written down and printed some inspirational quotes around my office to remind myself of what is important and what is real… #thanksDalaiLama
https://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/a3/5e/22/a35e22f9e30fef9502345ef3e7b26152.jpg

2. Taking deep breaths when it feels like things are getting too much, sometimes even counting to 10…
3. Asking myself “Am I profoundly OK with this moment?” and then evaluating if whatever it is really is a big deal to me or not
4. Yoga. Om Shanti Shanti.
5. Watching mindless TV to switch off

I’m sure there are other wonderful things out there to reduce stress… I know that meditation should be high up on that list, but it’s not something that I am currently and consistently doing… even though I know I should. Actually, that should be number 6: Letting go of the “shoulds” in your life. That does help you detach as well. Keeps you from being emotionally invested in situations, which helps reduce stress and anxiety.

So what do you do to reduce stress in your life? Would love to hear other ways of looking after yourself to manage the big S-bomb in our lives! If stress can be managed, then we can all feel a lot happier and healthier.

Fitness freak

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After sharing my recent bath time story to my surgeon on Tuesday, I am happy to say that he was impressed that my body is clearing itself. YAY!

Bad news is, he still wants to operate next week. BOO!

Basically what’s happened is where my first abscess was earlier this year, well, the cavity that held the abscess is still there. It has left a large, hardened, empty mass under my skin that is the size of a 20 cent piece. Anyway, that cavity needs to be removed now. The risk is that if it stays there, it could potentially fill up again to form a new abscess. Alternatively, I leave it, but deal with the fact that I have this bizarre growth that makes everything look asymmetrical down there. So I agreed with him about having it removed.
To be honest, the surgery didn’t need to be rushed anytime soon, but I was thinking about all my wonderful friends’ weddings coming up in the next couple of months, and I figure, the sooner I do the surgery, the sooner I’ll be up and running. Get it over and done with!
But then this week I noticed something – in my yoga class, I was holding poses longer, even trying some of the harder ones… I felt STRONGER… and then tonight at my basketball game, I played a whole 40 minute game without taking a break and felt good and wasn’t out of breath…I felt FITTER… and then as I was driving home from the game, it dawned on me that by going into surgery next week, I will be out of action for 3-4 weeks which means that I won’t feel this amazing strength in my body for another long while.
Now I know the positive is that the sooner I get the surgery done and out of the way, the better. I know that it’ll give me peace of mind, considering my emotional state around my health has been bloody all over the place! And it’ll mean I will be bouncing around and able to celebrate these amazing occasions coming up in the second half of the year.
But really, I just feel really bummed out about it all. This is the first time THIS YEAR that I have actually felt my body feel strong and fit. I forgot how good it felt to feel physically capable! It’s been so long since I’ve felt this good in my body, and I only noticed it this week when I was doing exercise. It feels so good to finally not tire out so easily, to not need to sit, or nap, or take it easy, or walk slowly….And now, I am going to lose that again because I have to go back to surgery.
I know my body will bounce back again, just like it did to get back to this point. The doctor says 4 weeks of no exercise, but it’s really more like 6 weeks before I can actually give exercise a proper try, so it’s really not that long to wait to be getting fit and strong again. And I know that the sooner I do this, the less at risk I am of something potentially going wrong again with the Crohn’s… but AAAARRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
I’m really tired of feeling good and then having to deal with not feeling good again. It’s really shit. It’s a bloody marathon having to keep up with all the ups and downs of chronic illness! It’s just one hurdle after another! (Are you loving my fitness puns, eh? ehhh??)
I know I’ll get through it, I always do… it just feels a little tougher when you can FEEL the difference in your body. But I guess I am blessed that I CAN feel this good, even with Crohn’s Disease. And for a long time, I did feel this good before because I was in remission. So it’s not like I am back at square one. It’s just fresher in my mind that I am going to miss feeling this good again for a while. But hey, there are worse things in the world than being immobile for a few weeks waiting for my body to recover! So if you have any suggestions of good TV viewing or book reading, let me know, as I will be residing on my couch for the next couple of weeks taking it really easy xx

I’m calling bullshit on this one…

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Apparently 1 in 10 showers may contain bacteria that trigger Crohn’s Disease…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10986400/Could-bathroom-showers-trigger-Crohns-disease.html

WTF? I must say, I am really happy that there is a lot of research going on regarding Crohn’s disease and the potential threats and causes that influence flares or even diagnosis – but on the other hand, is there TOO much research going on? I mean, is it all necessary?
I know from my own experience that having too much information is overwhelming and in fact, left me feeling more confused than I have ever been about my health. For the first time in a long time, I felt disconnected from my own intuition of how my body was feeling because I had read so much, heard so much and spoken to so many doctors that eventually I couldn’t hear what my own body was telling me while my mind was whirling with trying to find the answers. And in some circumstances I started to fear things I was doing (or not doing) because I was worried that I could cause a flare up instantaneously!
So this article brings me back to that feeling – by publishing articles like this one that don’t necessarily have any conclusive evidence of a factual and causal link to Crohn’s, is media perpetuating a fear factor for Crohn’s sufferers?
So if you are feeling exceptionally vulnerable from a recent flare up, try and avoid reading articles like these, or at least take them with a grain of salt.
Because I sure as hell am not going to avoid showering!

Doctors and Drama!

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I woke up this morning at 6.30am and my mind was racing. All of a sudden I was a heap in the bed, curled up and crying. I tried opening my mouth to scream and nothing came out, all I could feel was a tightening in my throat – as if I was slightly embarrassed to let it out, but also that my body wouldn’t comply. I’m not in any physical pain, but I am in a heap of emotional pain.

I went to one of my doctors yesterday (the one who has been monitoring my diet and has put me on a large collection of supplements for a treatment) and I have been feeling amazing on her treatment, and my blood work also is showing positive results. YAY! But it’s what she said to me yesterday that has got me tipping over the edge: she said “I’ve seen people become relaxed with their diet because they have been feeling so good, but you won’t be able to do it. It would be DISASTROUS, and the body just never seems to be able to recover”. I asked “Why is that?” and she said “I don’t know, it’s just too shocking for the body, and you can’t return to this kind of treatment afterwards”. TALK ABOUT DRAMATISING EVERYTHING!

What pissed me off more is the things I SHOULD’VE said back to her when she said this, especially after I had my mantra of “clarity” yesterday. I have to give myself props though, because I did have the clarity to ask her about the sustainability of this treatment and told her it was very expensive for me – it’s like I hit a quota of clarity just by saying that, which explains why I wasn’t able to call her on her bullshit. I should’ve said “You can’t have me fearing the food I eat!!!” which had actually started happening recently – I was shit scared that something I ate would get me sick again! Thank god for acupuncture that helped relieve that anxiety!

The second thing I should’ve said to her was that I once was eating everything: dairy, wheat, sugar, junk food – really crappy food for 14 years when I had Crohn’s, and the relapses weren’t THAT immediate or horrific from my diet. So surely eating a fucking SALAD (I’m not supposed to eat raw food) isn’t going to be the worse thing for me! ARGHHHHH! My body will recover…it always does. It has already happily adapted to this super strict diet, so it will do it again if necessary! I can’t be scared to eat a little something that is off the diet, I mean, what if I go to someone’s house and they’ve accidentally cooked something for me with butter in it? It CAN’T be the end of the world! I get that she wants me to be strong and look after myself, and I know that diet is the KEY to keeping me feeling good and keeping my symptoms at bay. But the drama around it is just so FULL ON! I’m not into doctor’s that make you feel scared! Don’t they realise that you put so much trust in them? I am putting my health (and what it feels like, my life) into their hands, and then they make these statements as if they forget that I am human! I mean, if God can forgive us for our sins, surely our bloody doctors can too!

Another thing that pissed me off this morning was thinking about my surgeon. All of a sudden, setons do NOT make sense to me! I know they are there to clear out abscesses and fistulas, but how long is TOO long that they stay in there and perhaps interfere with the healing process?
The only thing I can relate tissue repair to is getting a piercing – the skin that is pierced doesn’t grow back, but instead, the scar tissue forms around the pin which creates a opening/hole to put an earring through. Well, setons are keeping a fistula open so that it clears out right? So isn’t my body now forming a hardened scar tissue AROUND the setons? Isn’t this going to cause complications down the track when they are removed but I have a ‘tunnel’ inside? I had a feeling this was happening a few months ago and I spoke to my doctors about it, but they brushed it off. Now they are FINALLY acknowledging that in one area where I have a seton, there is a hardening of scar tissue that is forming a shell, and my surgeon now wants to cut it out! ARGHHHHHHHH!!! I KNEW IT!

So yeah…that was my meltdown before 8am! Absolutely ridiculous! It’s amazing how one day I can be so strong and the next I can be so weak – funny that, Crohn’s symptoms are like that too! My emotional system is mimicking the physical system. But I must say, having an awesomely large cry really helped. And writing this blog helped too. GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM! Do what you need to do to get that “overwhelmed” feeling away from you!

And overall, I did have some “clarity” – to trust my gut. Ironic, I know, considering my guts are what got me here in the first place, but trust myself and my body. This was another learning experience that I really need to be true to myself and really communicate better with my doctors about my body and it’s needs. I have to be more ASSERTIVE and more confident with telling them EXACTLY what my body is doing. I know that ultimately their intention is to heal me (which I am grateful for), and that they want me to succeed on their treatment that they have seen work on a lot of people, but really, every single person is unique, and my body sometimes responds differently, and I need them to trust ME that I know what I’m talking about when dealing and healing with my Crohn’s.

Clarity, Strength and Healing.

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While I was doing a head stand in yoga class today, these 3 words “Clarity, Strength and Healing” came to mind – now I know my mind should be clear during my yoga practice, but I welcomed these words as being the new mantra that I need to focus on. After all, it did come to me while I was hanging upside down…clearly it was a message from my inner depths after an hour of blissful and intense yoga that my body and mind needed me to know. So here I go, listening to my body (as we all should, so that we may know what is really best for us), and understanding what it all means, and what my intentions have to be:

Clarity: Be clear about what I need to do to stay healthy – balance of medication, surgery, supplements and diet. Be clear with my communication with my doctors about what I want for my healing process too, on my terms, not only on theirs.

Strength: Gain strength emotionally and physically. Be strong in moving forward and confidently dealing with it all.

Healing: Heal from within. Look after myself through my clarity and strength, and the healing will continue happening. I am currently healing. I am currently healthy.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti xx

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When everything goes wrong, remember this…

Lifebuzz putting things into perspective…

As much as I would like to NOT have Crohn’s, I have to admit that I agree with #1 that pain is a part of growing, and that my scars are symbols of my strength from #4. They have created who I am today…which is why I ultimately just keep on going (#8)!

Enjoy the read.

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Learning what Chronic illness is, and what NOT to say about it…

Ohmigod. I just learnt what the term “chronic illness” ACTUALLY means… I know this might seem like a bit of a “DUH?!” moment to some… some of you who know me may even be referring to my statement as another “blonde moment”… but I always thought that it meant someone who was REALLY, badly sick… I didn’t realise it referred to the LONGEVITY of the illness.

Thanks to betterhealth.vic.gov.au, I’ve learnt this:

Chronic illness means the illness is long term. A chronic illness can be stressful and may change the way a person lives and how they relate to others. 

Awwwww shit! I’ve got a chronic illness! It’s long term! I don’t get sick and then it goes away, I mean yes, there are periods of remission, but it’s always there! Lurking in the background, being wonderful on some days and punishing me on other days.

It totally makes sense that I was now having very strange conversations with my superior at work, who I thought was just struggling through the language barrier (and thick accent!) when I was telling her that I had Crohn’s Disease. She had told me that her nephew suffered from this too, and that it’s called “Chronic disease”… I was like, “No, it’s pronounced Crohn’s Disease”… and then we continued correcting each other. But now I realise we were both right, despite me having a giggle behind her back about her telling ME what I had!

Anyway, a friend of mine posted this link on Facebook – about what NOT to say to someone with a Chronic illness, or what they refer to as an “invisible disease”. Basically an invisible disease is the one that doesn’t give you maybe any outward symptoms, but your body or mind inside is doing fucked up things to itself. And it also refers to the fact that you may LOOK fine most of the time, so people are like “you don’t look sick”… yeah, well my liver toxicity is high from all the medication I’m on, my urine is pink as a side effect, my immune system is compromised from the immunosuppressant I am on, my tissue is eating itself because they think its bad causing abscesses, I’ve got setons that are draining, I take a million pills, I have to research menus online to find out what I can eat before going to a dinner party… the list goes on…

Don’t get me wrong, I know that the people around you who don’t understand chronic illness (who is basically ANYONE who does NOT have a chronic illness) such as family and friends are just doing their best to help you. It comes from a wonderful place of caring and trying to take away the pain and suffering by being in DENIAL for you (“you’re just having a bad day”), and so don’t be too unforgiving towards them! Unfortunately, they may know a lot about the disease/illness, and know how you suffer, but no one ACTUALLY understands what it’s like to live through, unless you have the same chronic illness too. This “thing” that just won’t go away, that you have to deal with…

To my beautiful support group around me, thank you for being so amazing! I must say, most of the 15 phrases listed in the link I haven’t heard from them, but from other people who maybe just meet me… It’s a pretty funny read, and may help others know what to say next time you come across someone who also suffers from chronic illness (my new favourite phrase).

Improvement!

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So it’s been over 6 weeks since I’ve started my new diet plan and have introduced many vitamins and supplements to support my system. This has all happened under the care of Dr. Yuwen Lee at Pymble Grove Health Centre (http://pymblegrove.com/practitioners/dr-yuwen-lee) who I was introduced to me by my mother, who was seeing her for her thyroid issues. My mum, a warrior for good health and preempting anything gnarly that might happen to me due to my Crohn’s, booked an appointment for me in September last year for February this year (so 6 months in advance, so call Dr. Lee now to make your consultation time for next year!) because she swore that Dr. Lee was absolutely fabulous and that I should see her to get some help. I didn’t imagine that I would be seeing her a week BEFORE my relapse and return to hospital, and that this was the PERFECT marker for me to compare the before and after effects of her guidance and treatment.

When I first went to see her, I was more concerned about getting to her, as she is almost an hour’s drive from my house! What a hassle I was thinking, but now, she is SO worth the drive! She is very friendly and before I knew it I was telling her EVERYTHING about my life. Prompted by some interesting questions, such as: “Would you describe yourself as a patient person?”, “Do you dream vividly?”, “What foods do you crave?”, I divulged in that 1.5 hour session my whole mental and physical functioning, including my moods and reactions to certain scenarios… which I couldn’t believe was relevant… but soon found out how it was ALL connected…
She weighed me, did a blood text, did a pinch (fat) test, touched my skin and hair texture… it was VERY comprehensive and I felt like I could trust her and that this was all good value to the small fortune I was paying her for the appointment.

Anyway, every 6 weeks I’ve gone to see her to check in on how things are working, how I am maintaining my health, managing which supplements to take, getting B12 injections, and my most recent visit to her on Wednesday proved that things are actually improving, just through a change in diet and taking supplements!
She went through her questions again and then highlighted how my responses were different now to what they were initially 4 months ago – I am no longer constipated, no bloating, no wind (seriously, I hardly EVER fart now – yes, girls do fart – and I notice it when my husband farts, I’m like “Hey! That wasn’t me, I haven’t farted all day…actually, didn’t even fart yesterday…or the day before…”), my energy levels are amazing, I feel lighter but stronger, my skin is glowing, my hair feels softer and I am not losing it in clumps, I feel alert, I can concentrate for longer periods of time, I’ve lost over a kilo of bad fat but have built up good fat (which means my body is now absorbing protein) and I am more patient and calm… seriously! It’s amazing! Just through diet and taking supplements where I have deficiencies has made ALL this difference. And I know this because the western medicine I am also on has been the same for the last 9 years and this is the NEW thing I introduced to my healing regime and I am feeling a difference, I am feeling the best I have felt in a super long time! I think it’s pretty incredible, and for someone like me who likes to feel in control (especially with my Crohn’s), knowing that I have contributed to this improvement of my health is just such a great feeling and achievement.

In all honesty, I had to change my diet enormously, which was sad and challenging at first to eliminate everything I loved eating… and I am on a LOT of supplements (recall my pillbox blog!) which can be annoying to take on top of my medication, but I’m taking them. Just to list a few of them: Zinc, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Pro-8 200 and Nilstat (probiotics), digestive enzymes, omega-3, cod liver capsules, and a bunch of other things for gut healing, liver support, biochemical imbalance and antioxidants. … just doing what I need to do, to feel and get better. And it’s working! That stage of feeling like I need to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to recover just pushed me into that focused zone of healing (and at times, sacrificing!) and now I am reaping the rewards!

To be fair, there are still symptoms of my Crohn’s that I would like to be different (I can’t claim that I’ve cured EVERYTHING), and I am not saying that diet and supplements are the ONLY way to heal Crohn’s, but it definitely helps SUPPORT the work that you are ALREADY doing to stay in remission. And when you feel this good – lighter, stronger, more energy, happier, calmer- you kinda don’t wanna go back to the way things were before, when you could eat whatever you wanted. We’ve all known for some time that eating healthier and taking the right vitamins for your body is good for our health in the long run, so actually putting that knowledge into action is really not THAT big of a mission to adopt. If I can do it, you can do it. I mean, I still crave pizzas (I’m not perfect! I’m not a fully fledged “eat right for your body” guru yet!)…I freakin’ love pizza and miss eating it…but hey…Give a new diet and vitamins a TRY at least! See how good you can feel too…you’ll love the difference, so it’s all worth it in the end xx