11.10.2010

What a Difference a Day Makes (A Clean House Helps Too)

Yesterday was a rough day for me. My chronic stomach problems have been especially bad for the last month or so. Last week, I had a series of scopes, biopsies, and ultrasounds. I fully expected the doctor to identify my problem, correct it, and allow me to move on with my life. Still, I went to my follow-up appointment yesterday with some apprehension.

I have much to be thankful for. I am not facing a serious or life-threatening disease like cancer or Crohn's. Still, what the doctor told me wasn't what I wanted to hear. I have a number of complicated issues that, together, make it very difficult for me to digest food. It's too bad because I really like to eat. With three restaurants, food is a pretty important part of our life.

Apparently, my colon is unusually long and twists back and forth all over itself. The colonoscopy report called it "extremely tortuous". The kinks often create blockages, which are, obviously, problematic. I also have biliary diskinesia. Unfortunately, it's not the kind that can be corrected with surgery. I have the spastic version which causes gallbladder-like attacks on a fairly regular basis. They can be triggered by large meals, fatty foods, and a number of other things. (No more bacon for me. Ever again.) And then to complicate those issues, I have a stomach full of adhesions, a side effect from all of my previous abdominal surgeries (eight. . . and counting).

He told me I was a mess. That was actually an improvement over the doctor who performed my colonoscopy, who told me it was a good thing I was already married because no one would take me now. (Thanks.)

I left my sorry-surgery-won't-help so try-these-medications-and-come-back-when-they-quit-working appointment feeling frustrated and dejected. My stomach issues have become very limiting and are interfering with my daily activities. So many of my other problems have been corrected by surgery. . . I really hoped this would fall into the same category.

It was later, after I had picked up the kids from school that I had a bit of a breakdown. I had been trying to quiet the thoughts that were running through my head of, "How am I supposed to keep living like this?" with Joshua 1:9,

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

But I couldn't hear myself think. Adam was yelling at me that he needed bananas on his peanut butter sandwich, and Kaleigh was crying for some candy. I slammed the jar of peanut butter down on the counter and yelled back at Adam, "BE QUIET!" It hit the counter harder that I intended. The lid popped off and peanut butter flew through the air. Adam ran upstairs, crying to his sisters. Naturally, I started crying too.

I called Steve. And he came home and rescued me.

He loaded the kids up in the babysitter's car and sent them off to go play at the Treehouse Museum. I hurried and tried to make myself look presentable, and went off to my night of meetings (OPAPO and Junior League). Steve stayed home and cleaned the house, washed three loads of laundry, dehydrated all of the bananas on the kitchen counter, and then later bathed the kids, and put them to bed.

Steve doesn't usually clean the house. Or do laundry. Or bathe kids.

I came home from my meetings, took my new medicine, and went to bed.

I woke up with a new outlook on life. Managing a chronic problem is so much more challenging than recovering from an operation. But I realized I don't have to live like this. Even though there is no quick-fix, there are plenty of things I can do to make things easier on my body. Some of the solutions to my digestive problems will help other aspects of my life, so I should appreciate the total health benefits that this will force me to experience. Like so many other things, personal wellness takes a backseat when you are a busy mom. Time to change that.

And guess what? The new medications actually seemed to help. I checked my email and found a long, very thoughtful message from a good friend. It was full of great ideas, possible solutions, and positive encouragement. How lucky I am to be surrounded by people who care for me.

Now it's time to click here and listen to my soundtrack for the day. . . . again.



P.S. One of the side effects from one of my new medications is dry eyes. This is good news for Steve. And for the Relief Society sisters who had to watch me cry during my lesson on Sunday. Bad news for my house. It could probably benefit from some crying-induced cleans in the future.

7 comments:

Stephanie said...

I'm glad you found out what it is. Sorry it's not a fast fix. I hope all gets better soon.

Rebecca said...

I'm glad the meds are helping:)

Lori said...

sorry to hear your guts hate you. chronic problems suck. be thinking of you!

MaRea Hess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaRea Hess said...

I always love reading your post!, your an amazing writer. Sorry to hear about your stomach issues, no fun! What a sweet husband Steve is to clean the house:)! A clean an organized house does seem to make life a little sweeter.

Mrs B said...

Oh, Emily. You sometimes sum up just how I feel so divinely. I have Crohn's & though meds help immensely (though I can't take them while nursing) I find myself every so often slipping into a slump & having to find a renewed sense of hopefulness. So glad I'm not alone! Now if I could just get Tyler to help with laundry! :) I also wish my meds caused dry eyes- I'm such a crier.... Hope to see you soon!

Aneesa Bee said...

Oh Emily--I had no idea. I am glad you are finding some answers and looking at the positive side of things--but that stinks (broken exclamation mark again). Hope things continue to get better--you tortuous one, you.