I’m sorry I’ve been absent. Pain has moved in where creativity used to live and is my constant companion–unwelcome, night and day.
This is not how I imagined the summer would start. I imagined pool visits and ice cream, and much-needed reorganization of two kid-bedrooms that have managed to turn into their own little shops of horror during the busy school year. Instead, I spent three days in the hospital a few weeks ago because my body gave out from the constant, painful and exhausting bathroom trips. I’ve had three iron sucrose IV infusions and am still anemic, and feel worse now than before I went in.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I know it’s not good. When I eat, my bowels grind to a stop and my stomach becomes painfully distended. I feel the tell-tale pain around my belly button come and go and I wonder if I’ll end up in the ER again–forced into another CT scan so I can develop cancer at a later date. When everything begins to move again, instead of digesting the soft noodles and potatoes I’ve eaten, it feels like my body is processing rough shards of broken glass.
My gastroenterologist told me that the MR enterography I had months ago showed a small spot of inflammation that could be the sign of another narrowing and could explain all of my symptoms. I just stared at him–this tiny spot ruling my life with an iron fist–knowing that another stricture will lead to another small bowel resection. Possibly my fourth in five years.
So I sit here and barely have the energy to type as my body cycles into mysterious and painful patterns. My left shoulder is so inflamed by arthritis that I walk with it lifted against my body, protected, useless, unable to do the housework that waits for me. I am tired of gritting my teeth whenever I roll over in bed or lift my arms to wash my hair. I am tired of not being who I want–no, need–to be.
The pain layers upon pain until it’s all I feel. I live minute to minute, waiting for relief, knowing that at some point relief will come and I will breathe easier. I remind myself that this is a marathon and not a sprint and that desperation has no place here. I know I will be forced to make hard decisions to reach a better place, and I prepare myself for the strength that I will need to draw on–strength that I know will always be here.