I am relieved to find that as I began to read this morning, all of my own words began to take precedence over the page. A lot of times that’s how it happens. I’m also a little surprised because I feel too weak to even write. Reading felt somehow more resigned from my usual 1000 watt glow. Just after I wrote that line I felt immense gratitude for my mind and my self. Not everyone has this drive. There’s a dark underbelly to it though, and that’s a whole separate blog post, that isn’t quite ready to emerge from the Koi Pond that is my mind. Picture an over populated one with the fish frenzied and panicky and you might have an idea.
I had a Crohn’s attack last night. I have to get this out first so I can move on from it, otherwise it will impart a tone of sadness or less sparkle to my post, and you, the reader won’t know why. It’s been so long since I’ve had one I almost forgot I have this fucking disease. I think the fact I am able to forget for periods of time is a genuine blessing, and I also attribute it holistically to the peace and happiness I have found in this half of my life.
The attack goes like this this time. They can be different, and come on without warning. I typically limit myself to one drink these days as alcohol works very poorly with my system. This fact makes me feel socially stunted in certain ways. I’m at times jealous of my pals that can “have another round”, and not pay some price. But I’m finally getting over my id, and being able to accept my special instructions. I used to get really down about it. Severely worried I could turn a fun evening or getaway into a pity party for me, and inconvenience people by needing to leave quickly and without warning. I’m overwhelmed easily enough in those situations, without my body rebelling against me as well.
I had a cavatelli pasta with lobster in an old bay cream sauce. I also mixed some of my friends salad with it, because it was just sitting there. She was selling solar at the dinner table, and I was reading a debut blog post that I’ve been anxiously anticipating. Not the present dinner I would, normally go for, but I match affect almost naturally at this point. And there was live music, so struggling to hear one another was annoying me anyway.
The salad was probably the nail in the coffin. But I’ve realized by this point it’s not fair to me to try and figure out what I’ve done wrong in the scenario, sometimes I’m just fine. But any creamy sauce mixed with salad usually marks death, but I had been spared for so long that I forgot. I had one martini with lots of food drawn out over the whole evening. So when I became very dizzy when I got home, I couldn’t understand what was going on. My heart began to race and I thought maybe it’s just exhaustion let me lie down.
Next thing you know it’s 2 am and I wake up with my heart beating around 120 bpm, feeling like my stomach is simultaneously on fire, and also being squeeze and writhing like a boa constrictor trying to make its way out. I break out into a sweat all over. I barely make it to the bathroom, and while I’ll spare you the more gory details, the fact that much of anything can come out of one human made me actually feel like I might die. I felt as if all of my insides were being purged, not just the contents of my bowels. It hurt so excruciatingly badly that for a few moments I debated calling for my wife (what only to disgust her and embarrass myself, what could she do anyway), calling an ambulance, and then went down the path of wondering what they could do or would find. It started to radiate all through my back, aching, twisting, and the sharp chest pains that used to send me to the ER.
After a bout concluded and I was given sweet relief for a few brief moments, my heart rate would be down in the 70’s and I would begin to shiver violently. I got back in bed with my wife, she was loving, covering up my cold parts and becoming comforting, rather than annoyed she was dead asleep. She is a blessing. She asked if I was ok, I said no, but I refuse to begin panicking because once that starts it’s really hard on my body. So if I got her all up and concerned I would feel even more anxious.
I was hoping I could settle into a coma induced rest after that. A sweaty, tangled, dehydrated mess, thrashing between hot and cold. But then I heated up again and felt as if my face was burning, and my heart was high again. It was time for round 2, 3 came later. And by the time I went to sleep I know I was dehydrated enough that IV fluids would have really helped. I used to feel safe at the hospital and like they would be kind and comfort me. After so many experiences and them not believing you (before diagnosis) I’ve had such poor treatment at times, that I will be on deaths doorstep before I go.
As predicted I woke with a monster headache, squeezing and pulsating behind my eyes. And a weakness that could only be described as feeling like a corpse that has been summoned on All Hallows Eve. A lead block could have become mobile easier, but nevertheless I am a slave to my writer’s mind which wakes promptly around 6 am and will not stop yammering until I get it something to do.
So here I am in my beloved bath. I was very careful this am and even thought of skipping it, as losing even sweat at this point could probably put me in a life threatening situation. So the water is tepid, and I pre-gamed with slowly introducing fluids, a banana; a couple crackers and a Tylenol awhile before. My head is still pounding, but after being through hell much of the night, the water soothes my screaming joints, and cleans the stress and suffering off.
This seems so unfair my inside self throws a tantrum, the outside self unsure she can even make it out of the tub, let alone move or make her head throb worse. I should only feel like this if I were irresponsible and drank a ton and am hungover. Who gets the hangover without the party. The self pity is a seductive mistress. If this went on as it did before diagnosis for weeks, and any food became Russian roulette, perhaps it would get me again. But it never helps. I’ve learned I just have to care for my body better and be kind to myself when this happens. To not become enraged at the time it took from me, especially in recovery. A vibrant hyper strong woman reduced to barely being able to pick her head up.
I just go back to how blessed I am in life and love, and believe it will pass, rather than running all the scenarios and what if’s as I used to. This one snuck up on me so stealthily though. I am sad and hurting, while also trying to hold to the determination I have, and joy I feel writing. I must give myself permission to lay my truth on the page, and not believe that I needed to be able to whip up something witty and charming, to be able to take up space in the world. To not fear others as me seeking pity. I am seeking solace in the act of writing. And if one soul finds this kind of determination inspiring then amazing. If not I still have these thoughts written down so I can see myself in a compassionate light. I just want to hug her, and this was not always the case.
You see here is what’s been happening in my mind and my heart. First, I didn’t know I would spend most of my post on this, I expected to gloss right past. So this post shows me how much room my feelings around having this disease need, and how cathartic to write my truth as I’m experiencing it.
Truth be told whether it’s wanting to make sure I’m determined, or whether it’s another aspiring writer’s courage, it looks like my current writer’s block might be broken. Maybe yes, maybe no. The block itself I am recognizing has been caused slightly by the all consuming nature of trying to conceive. That’s actually what I meant to write about. How I can hardly think or focus on anything else. How even if we don’t talk about it, or take the advice of others “just don’t think about it”, wouldn’t that be nice.
It hangs in the air as if it’s one of those machines that freeze everything, but myself and my wife. Our journey is in movement, and the rest of the world is frozen. And I can’t move or breathe until we get that positive. And I can’t even know how I will feel, how she feels, how my family feels, because we are experiencing a great in between right now. Right in between a before and an after.
But you know where I’m not anymore? Purgatory.
I’ll be happy everyday for the rest of my life for this new in between. And I’ll take what comes, with as much grace as my fragile human heart can muster, including the ambiguities of this disease. Because love is my lighthouse, and no matter how rough the seas are, I can always find my way back to my heart now. We are not separated.